The Thirsty Plants That Soak Up Excess Yard Water (with Pictures)

this tree is great at soaking up yard water

Whether you live in a rain-heavy region (such as the Pacific Northwest or Great Britain) or an area with a lot of moisture in the soil, excess lawn water is no laughing matter.

While water is the building block of all life, too much can drown your foliage and leave you with a serious threat of your yard (and even your home) being flooded. Naturally, you don’t want this to happen.

However, installing anti-flood measures can be costly and make a huge mess.

So why not add some liveliness to your lawn / garden area and install some of these plants that excel at slurping up your unwanted water. Here are the plants to install to soak up excess yard water.

Trees are amazing for soaking up lawn water

Fruit, shade, beauty, property value — planting a tree in your home can give you so much. You can also add the “ability to soak up excess moisture” to that list.

Their root systems are able to soak up a lot of water, which can be a great way of making sure that it doesn’t flood your yard.

Leaves soak up that excess water from the top while roots are able to suck up that moisture directly from the soil. In both cases, you’re left with less water in your yard and more moisture for your tree.

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Of course, different trees are able to do this to different degrees. To get the most out of this, you want to make sure that you select a tree that does best in wet soil. At this point, you’re probably wondering which trees are best at soaking up excess water? Willows are perfect for this. They naturally grow by streams, lakes, and other wet areas. Because of this, their leaves and roots are well adapted for soaking up all that excess moisture. Ash trees, red maples, river birches, and other trees are great for the same reason.

However, trees take a long time to take root. While the amount of moisture they’ll sequester increases over time, you’ll get only a fraction of the usefulness in the first couple of years.

If you want a shorter-term solution, you should pick another option.

“We demand a shrubbery”

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Monty python isn’t the only group that appreciates a good shrubbery

If trees are too big or you have already planted some trees and are looking for other ways to augment your lawn and garden area, you might consider planting a few shrubberies.

They’re much smaller than trees, obviously, and you can grow many side by side. Not only does this create a lovely border aesthetically but it can also create something of an organic water-sucking “wall” with the roots and foliage soaking up excess moisture.

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This can be especially helpful if you have a specific area that you wish to protect against excess moisture. Installing a fence or something more solid can break up the continuity of your yard. Instead, shrubberies that are naturally suited to wet conditions can soak up excess moisture runoff.

Shrubberies such as various types of blueberry bushes that bear fruit can also be a nice way to add some color and tasty homegrown produce to your yard.

Try reeds and ferns (if you have a pond)

Maybe you’ve already tried trees and shrubberies and maybe you’re looking to try something smaller. Ground cover plants can be a good solution. Unlike trees and shrubberies, they can cover a large surface area in your yard, which can be great if your problem is widespread across your backyard.

Reeds and ferns grow by ponds and lakes in nature and they can do wonders for complementing your pond from an aesthetic standpoint. Both of these options are famously good at growing in tall, densely collected formations. This makes them perfect for soaking up excess moisture and stopping water from spilling out of your pond and into your yard.

Whether you choose a taller type such as an ostrich fern or lower-growing options such as painted or lady ferns, you’ll be able to keep your pond in check while adding to its romantic beauty. Besides reeds and ferns, you might also try fragrant favorites such as lily of the valley, trumpet creeper, suckering vines, and other low-growing choices that also excel in soaking up excess water.

Perennials are also a good option

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Perennials are, well, perennial favorites and with good reason. They’re flowers whose root systems do an especially good job of soaking up moisture. They do especially well in areas with wet soils, making them a perfect fit for those looking to manage their yards’ water levels. Irises, sweet woodruff, and jack-in-the-pulpit are all great choices here.

Managing excess water in your yard doesn’t have to be a chore. On the contrary, by planting some of the elegant plants listed here, you can not only soak up all that excess moisture but use it to grow the type of beautiful flourishing lawn that you can be proud of.


I'm Chuck (the Captain). I'm passionate about my outdoor space and love sharing my experiences with the world at large. I want Captain Patio to become the best place on the internet to find, share, and learn about all things patio-related. When I'm not keeping up my content schedule, I'm spending time with my wife and two kids (usually on my patio!).

2 thoughts on “The Thirsty Plants That Soak Up Excess Yard Water (with Pictures)

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