April 2021
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Solutions to Wet Backyards
Wet backyards and flooding can be a recurring problem for many residents this time of year. Although seasonal flooding is a naturally occurring process, the water cycle is being disrupted with more rainfall and more development occurring in Franklin County. The increase of impervious surfaces like roofs, roads, and parking lots makes it harder for rainwater and snowmelt to soak into the ground. As a result, some residents may experience wet spots in their yards, typically in a low lying area of the property. These spots may be a nuisance, may kill the vegetation if it persists for an extended amount of time, and may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. So, how do we fix it? For more information about wet backyards, check out our fact sheet. Let's talk about how we can prevent these wet spots from happening in the first place.
Photo Credit: Climate Central

What can I do to reduce wet spots and to improve drainage?
Capture the Runoff First
Photo Credit: EarthMinded
Runoff from rainwater and snowmelt can carry pollutants like lawn fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides to the storm drain, which leads directly to our local creeks and rivers. This can adversely affect the local water quality and the local wildlife. Excess runoff can cause combined sewer overflows and blockages in the sewer systems. Local residents can reduce stormwater runoff by capturing it before it ever heads to the sewer systems. There are a variety of ways to capture stormwater, including: rain barrels, cisterns and rain gardens. Eligible residents can receive up to $50 rebate for purchasing and installing a rain barrel through the Community Backyards program.

A healthy lawn can also capture more water than an unhealthy lawn. Leaving grass clippings and shredded leaves on your lawn provides valuable nutrients your lawn needs to stay healthy. Mowing high reduces the need for watering by producing grass with deep, healthy roots. The more roots, the more water plants can absorb to prevent runoff. To learn more about proper lawn care, visit our Get Grassy program and take the pledge.
Photo Credit: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Plant Native Plants  
April 2021 is National Native Plant Month. To celebrate, let's talk about why native plants are important. Planting native plants can help to reduce runoff because of their deep and extensive root systems. Whether you are sprucing up your backyard or planning a green roof or planting a neighborhood rain garden, native plants provide invaluable stormwater filtration and ecosystem services to your local pollinators. Looking for some plant suggestions for areas with periodic flooding or poor drainage? Check out this list. Ohio State Extension also has a great list of pollinator friendly trees called Ohio Trees for Bees.
Local Green Infrastructure
Video Credit: City of Columbus
There is a variety of green infrastructure that works to reduce stormwater runoff. These include: rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales, retention ponds, and more. Many local entities have been involved in green infrastructure projects around Franklin County. Check out this interactive map from MORPC and Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District to see where green infrastructure is located around Central Ohio. Check out this video from the City of Columbus to see their green infrastructure work from Blueprint Columbus.
Have you experienced a wet backyard or seasonal flooding on your property?
Almost every year
A few times
I don't know
Once or twice
Here were the full results from last month's poll about what perennials readers would select for their garden:

Bee Balm

Common Milkweed

Black Eyed Susan

Purple Coneflower


Mikaela Mohr
Administrative and Program Assistant
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org