VERY Wet Yard - Wanted, Water-Loving Plant Ideas

Zephyrhills(9)July 5, 2014

We purchased our 6 acre home in January of this year (zone 9, Zephyrhills, FL). We have come into July realizing we have 90% of our yard under water during the rainy season. Even where there isn't standing water, our yard squishes. Remember though, in the dry season, it is a normal, dry yard.

HELP! What can we plant besides willows, river birches and cypress? Our thoughts were to build up great mounds of earth, to plant things, but we can only do so many of those.

I wanted butterfly gardens, raised bed veggie gardens, meandering paths - but am faced with a very wet reality. Any swamp gardeners out there who can lend suggestions/plants? I am not opposed to going mostly native but am not finding helpful ideas by doing a search on the internet.

Soggy-Bottom Baby

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bumping this, as I can't offer help - sorry - I have a totally opposite problem with hydrophobic soil.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:39AM
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You have my sympathies. I used to live in a different zone house that had similar problems when it rained. What we ended up doing was planting a bunch of water loving trees like cypress and willows around the perimeter of the yard and then making a really nice patio area where we could sit. The patio area was made with 16" flat pavers so it didn't wash out or rot. I built up flower beds by edging them with taller garden pavers and bringing in bags of dirt.

Making changes is a pain and expensive. My understanding is that Florida doesn't have rocks. To cut costs, I would experiment with building up some areas with layers of downed tree limbs and bringing in loads of dirt to cover them. The trees will eventually decompose, but would hopefully give you some ground clearance and would also work as a stabilizer to hold the dirt so it doesn't all wash away. You could also edge with big tree limbs to hold in the dirt. It's not perfect, but you'd have islands to work with and could end up with a really nice looking yard.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Hi and thank you so much for replying and bumping!

No rocks, you are correct. I'm seriously considering the tree limb ideas though.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:56PM
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I am no great expert, but I came up with this list of water loving landscape plants after a quick internet search; most of them are supposed to be able to deal with standing water. It might give you ideas.

⢠blue flag (Iris vericolor)
⢠bog arum(Calla palustris)
⢠cattail (Typha spp.)
⢠cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)
⢠flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)
⢠golden club (Orontium aquaticum)
⢠hardy arum (Peltandra virginica)
⢠horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)
⢠Japanese water iris (Iris ensata)
⢠marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
⢠rush (Juncus spp.)
⢠southern blue flag (Iris virginica)
⢠spike rush (Eleocharis acicularis)
⢠sweet flag (Acorus calamus)
⢠water canna (Canna x generalis)
⢠water iris (Iris laevigata)
⢠yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus)
⢠button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis )
⢠red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea )
⢠tartarian dogwood ( Cornus alba)
⢠winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
⢠yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)
⢠Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
⢠baldcypress (Taxodium sp.)
⢠black ash (Fraxinus nigra)
⢠green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
⢠pear (Pyrus spp.)
⢠pin oak (Quercus palustris)
⢠river birch (Betula nigra)
⢠red maple (Acer rubrum)
⢠swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora)
⢠sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
⢠water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica)

Here is a link that might be useful: HGTV link

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:53PM
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Just saw this article + comments. May be a help. Hope so!

Additionally, a search at HOUZZ.COM should bring up lots more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solutions for soggy soils

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Hi Rosie and Lily - ty both, I have been compiling lists from your suggestions. Much obliged!!!

Here's a post and more images of our very wet yard. Thanks!!

Here is a link that might be useful: FB post on Drowned-Land Round

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:29PM
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The FB post is great. Thanks for sharing. Tried to read some of the RSS (?) feed but wouldn't open.

I'm thinking a new post to the Landscape Forum might be in order here, for more input. You could provide the link for this one. It's a pretty active forum and has some members who know their stuff.

Has it been determined why you have all this water? And why it wasn't disclosed to you? Have you been given any possible drainage solutions?

Beautiful land, water or no.



    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:35PM
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Hi Rosie - I don't even know what a RSS feed is, lol. Thanks for the suggestion of the new post.

Basically we are in what used to be a giant swamp, I'm guessing. Probably eons ago the entire center of Florida was a giant pond, with marsh and wetlands surrounding it. As waters receded or were redirected, it left a very think layer above the water table. A couple of feet at best. When David plants trees, he hits water at about 3 feet. Here, you plant in mounds :)

An interesting story about this place will answer the question about the wet yard being disclosed.

A 100 year old man built our house in 1980 for he and his wife, but she died and never got to live here. He never did any updating to the house or landscaping to the property, that I can tell.

He lived here alone up until he was dying in December of 2012 when he went into hospice, and from then until we bought it, this house sat empty. The old man died in February of 2013. The house went on the market that May and we purchased it in February of 2014.

We never saw this place during the summer months, and he wasn't around to tell us about the yard. Of course his 70ish year old son, who lives in Arizona, could claim he didn't know how wet it was - but of course he did.

To be honest though, we love it. It is tranquil, magical, and enchanting, wet or dry. Just think, we are about 20ish minutes to downtown Tampa, but we live on 6 acres with our own pond. Who'd've thought that was even possible??

My "problem" is that I am an artist and I can see the potential. This means I am compelled to bring out the beauty in things, (from the house to the yard), to the best of my ability (...okay, my ability includes being able to convince my husband to do what I ask, as he's the muscle).

The only things that could make this better for me would be about 100 more acres surrounding us, a spring to feed the pond, and all the money I needed to do what I'm dreaming!

But one wellie-encased foot in front of the other will see it set right. Right?

Thanks again, JSH

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Do a search on the internet and put in Rain Garden.

See what clever ideas there are, and how beautiful those gardens are. They would really look nice in your yard. The above plants are great candidates for your rain gardens too.

Congrats on your new home, it will be exactly what you make of it, and you will love it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 8:13AM
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