Help: My Yard Is Sinking! (What To Do RIGHT NOW)

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You have plenty a lot of time, money, and effort making sure that your yard looks great. Unfortunately, one day you step outside and realize that something is off. You feel like your yard is sinking. Maybe the garden looks a bit lower. Perhaps the deck is starting to peel away from the home. Maybe you simply have depressions in your yard that are bothering you. Perhaps you noticed the pavers are sinking.

Regardless of the reason why your lawn might be sinking, it is important to address this as quickly as possible. The first step is to figure out why your yard might be sinking in the first place. What are a few of the common reasons why your yard might be sinking?

Your Yard Includes a Lot of Areas

First, when you are discussing a sinking yard, it is important to be specific. Depending on the area of your yard that is sinking, there could be different causes. A few examples of items that could be included in your yard include:

  • The Grass: When people are talking about their backyard or front yard, this is usually what they are talking about. There could be some situations where the grass in your yard begins to sink. Because you work hard to mow your lawn, water it regularly, and even use fertilizer, you expect your grass to look beautiful. It can be frustrating when it starts to sink.
  • Your Deck: If you have a wooden deck attached to the back of your home, you expect your deck to remain level with the house itself. If you noticed that your deck is beginning to shift away from the edge of your house, it could be sinking.
  • Your Patio: You might also have a patio outside your home. For example, you may have a certain area that includes a grill, a fire pit, and maybe a seating area. This is another area of your lawn that could begin to sink.
  • Your Garden: You could have a garden outside your home as well. Maybe there are a few bushes, some shrubs, and some beautiful flowers. You spend a lot of effort making sure that your garden appears beautiful. It can be frustrating if you realize that it is sinking in some areas.

These are just a few of the areas that might be included in your backyard. If you notice that these areas are beginning to sink, it is important to explore the reasons why.

Why Is My Lawn Sinking?

There is a chance that you might notice the grass in your yard is sinking. If you notice that your lawn is sinking, there are a few possible reasons why. First, it is important to talk about the signs that could indicate your lawn is sinking. Because your lawn is such a large, flat area, you may not notice if the sinking area is relatively shallow. A few signs of a sinking lawn include:

  • You may feel like you have missed a step as you walk around your yard
  • You could notice that trees are beginning to tilt slightly
  • You might notice that certain fence posts are starting to bend over
  • Your foundation may appear slanted when you look at it
  • You may notice a few cracks in the ground
  • You may notice small ponds of water appearing in your backyard after it rains

These are a few signs that could indicate your lawn is beginning to sink. So, what are a few reasons why this might be happening? A few examples include:

  • Excess Rainfall: One of the most common reasons why your lawn might begin to sink has to do with excess rainfall. If your lawn has poor or non-existent runoff, the rainwater will start to collect on the surface. Gradually, it will absorb into the ground. When this happens, the soil could turn into a mush-like consistency. As a result, it could begin to sink because it no longer had the integrity to support the grass on top of it.
  • Poor Building Materials: Another reason why your lawn might begin to sink is that your building was not made using good material. Some contractors could cut corners using materials that do not provide as much support. If they bury these materials under the surface of the home, they may begin to rot and decay. Therefore, the lawn could begin to sink. You should double-check the credentials of your contractors and ask for a few references to ensure they are using quality building materials.

Regardless of the reason why your lawn might be sinking, it is important to address this issue as quickly as possible. The more your lawn sinks, the harder it will be to fix this issue down the road.

How Do You Fix a Sinking Lawn?

If your lawn is beginning to sink, there are a few options available. Fortunately, you may be able to handle this issue on your own. A few possible solutions include:

  • Add Topsoil: The most direct way to address a sinking lawn is to add more soil. Depending on where the lawn is sinking, you may be able to fill the depression with some soil. As the lawn sinks, the excess oil will fill in the cracks, therefore, it will create level ground.
  • Add More Rocks: If the depression is a bit larger, you may want to add rocks instead. Rocks are often better than soil because they are less susceptible to moisture. Therefore, rocks can help the ground retain its shape and consistency, no matter what the weather might be. There could be some situations where you want to mix rocks with soil in order to make it look more natural.

These are a few basic solutions you might want to try if your lawn is sinking. You should take your soil and rocks carefully to make sure they can support whatever is around the depression. If you have questions about what you should use, you may want to ask a local professional for help. If the depression continues to get worse, or if you feel like a sinkhole is developing in your property, you may want to reach out to a professional who can help you.

Why Are My Pavers Sinking?

Various pavers which are cracked and sinking
Various pavers which are cracked and sinking

In addition to your lawn, there may be some situations where your pavers might be sinking. Even though sunken pavers are a serious aesthetic issue, they can also be a sign of a larger problem. Therefore, this is something you want to handle as quickly as possible. Why might your pavers be sinking?

If you have a new construction project going on outside, you need to keep an eye on the pavers. If you notice your pavers are sinking, this is usually a sign that there is a drainage issue in that area. If the drainage issue was not addressed before the construction project is completed, this is only going to lead to bigger issues down the road. Therefore, you need to address the drainage issue, correct it, and then lay the pavers again.

In order for you to make sure the pavers are level, you need to take a closer look at the base. In order to prepare the base properly, you need to excavate the area thoroughly. Site drainage, soil type, and building materials are all going to play a role in how deep you need to excavate. If your contracting team does not excavate deep enough, your pavers could begin to sink. As a result, whatever you put on top of the pavers will fail.

As the excavation unfolds, make sure the soil is solid. You also want to make sure nobody leaves trash behind in the area. You need to make sure the paper location is completely stable before the construction project moves forward. If you have questions or concerns about this process, you should talk with your contracting team in-depth. Make sure you vet their experience and credentials carefully before the construction project moves forward.

Help! My Deck Is Sinking: Why?

Your backyard might also include a deck, and you need your deck to remain level with the rest of your house. When you step outside, you expect your wooden planks to be even with the door frame. If you notice that your deck is below the level of your frame, then this could be a sign that your deck is sinking.

Even though there are several reasons why your deck might be sinking, the most common reason has to do with the soil. Before the deck is built, it is important to perform a proper inspection of the soil. When the rest of the home is built, soft filler dirt is generated. If your deck is placed on top of this soft fill dirt, it is simply not going to be packed tightly enough in order to support your deck. Therefore, during the inspection, you need to know where the softer ends and the solid earth begins.

The good news is that you can do this yourself. Take a piece of rebar and bend it at a 90-degree angle. Push it into the soil as hard as possible. Use the bent top as a handle. The rebar should be able to penetrate through the soft soil relatively easily. When the rebar hits solid ground, this is a sign that you have hit solid dirt. That is where your deck has to be placed.

How Do You Fix a Sinking Deck?

In order to fix your sinking deck, you have to lift it using jacks. This type of jack looks like an old-fashioned pump. It has been fastened to a steel bar with a few holes in it. You may need to use multiple jacks in order to lift the deck evenly. You can pump the handles evenly, lifting the deck until it is level with the rest of your house. Then, you need to lift the deck up a few more inches in order to allow for a certain amount of settling. The jacks need to stay in place for a few days in order for the soft fill dirt to settle underneath the deck.

Why Is My Flower Garden Sinking?

You may have a garden in your backyard that is growing flowers, bushes, vegetables, or even fruit. You spend a lot of time tending to your garden, so it can be frustrating when you realize that your garden is sinking. Why is this happening?

Usually, sinking soil in your garden is the direct result of organic material breaking down in the soil. The organic materials in the soil are the key to the structure of your garden. They usually provide space for air and water to infiltrate the garden, keeping your flowers, shrubs, and bushes alive. As the organic material in the soil starts to decompose, this creates gaps. Therefore, everything on top of your garden can sink into this gap.

Another reason why you might have sinking soil in your garden has to do with over-watering. Over-watering causes soil structure to actually pull closer together because the water occupies space between the soil. As the roots of your flowers begin to draw this water away, the particles in the soil start to draw closer together as well. As a result, the entire soil mass begins to sink.

Another reason why your garden might be sinking has to do with a deep root system. If you have plans with especially deep root systems, they are going to pull away surrounding soil. When they pull the soil away, they will create space, allowing air to flow between the roots and the surrounding soil. Even though this may increase the oxygen content of the soil, it also creates large gaps for soil to sink. This could cause your garden to settle, creating a sinking appearance.

Finally, another reason why your garden might be sinking is that you are using mulch that is too heavy. If you use heavy mulch, this is going to create large gaps in the soil. When these gaps fill in, the rest of your garden is going to sink. Fortunately, if you are using mulch, you can prevent your garden from Sinking by leaving a small amount of space between the soil and the mulch.

Many of these problems are bigger issues in raised bed gardens. If you have raised your garden bed too high, this can lead to soil and water retention issues. Over time, the soil is not going to drain properly, contributing to a sinking bed garden.

How Do You Fix a Sinking Garden?

If your garden is sinking, there are ways you can address this issue. The most direct solution is to add more soil. If you add extra soil, you can fill in the gaps and make your garden level. The higher soil level will compensate for sinking in the garden.

Adding extra soil into a work in progress garden
Adding extra soil into a work in progress garden

If your garden does not currently have any flowers, shrubs, or plants in it, you can prevent your garden from sinking by waiting until the soil settles. If you tell a raised garden a garden bed, wait approximately 1 to 2 weeks before you plant your flowers, shrubs, or bushes. This gives time for the soil particles and organic matter to draw closer together. That way, when you so the soil, there are not any surprises. If you can be patient, you may be able to prevent your garden from sinking.

If you have a plant with a deep root ball, you may want to pull the root ball out of the ground, add soil at the bottom, and then replant the root system on level ground. You need to make sure you add plenty of soil around the root ball after you replant it in order to keep the plant healthy.

Address a Sinking Yard as Quickly as Possible

These are the most common reasons why you might notice that your yard is sinking. Even though it can be alarming to step outside and realize that your lawn, garden, patio, or deck might be sinking, it is important not to panic. There are a few solutions you can use to address the issue. If you can do this on your own, you might save some money; however, if you feel like the problem is getting worse, or if you do not quite know what to do next, you may want to reach out to professionals who can help you.

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About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.