Making use of a regularly wet area of property

Hi,
My property has a gradual slope to it and a lot of lawn, most of which is fine. However there is a flat area of the property at the lowest point, of perhaps 400 square feet, which is nearly always soft and wet (we border woods which gradually morph into wetlands, so this is not completely surprising). We live in the northeast, so the only very dry season is the tail-end of the summer. The area does not have standing water, but the ground beneath the grass is very, very soft and mud-like. It so happens that this wet area would be a nice place to sit, read, view the house, etc. but it is difficult to really use because it is so wet. Plus, mowing is quite difficult given the very soft ground.
Basically I'm gathering information on what alternate uses of this area might be, so that we could eventually spend some more time out there. For example, I considered building a freestanding deck over the area. That is one possibility. Perhaps a rock garden would be another possibility? Some other style of garden? I don't know much about gardens or landscaping, so if anyone has ideas for how we could convert this space -- especially do-it-yourself and on a budget (i.e. not an in-ground pool), I would be most appreciative.
thanks, Aaron
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Bog garden, herb, raised bed of some type?
Kim

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snipped-for-privacy@pobox.com (Aaron) wrote:

If they are hardy in your area, you could plant some weeping willows. They grow fast, get big, and suck up the water. Useful for drying up wet areas. Niobe (golden) is especially beautiful.
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is there one specific area the water comes from? or does it get run-off from several areas? i have a "bog" in the back of my property too, but the run off comes from one easily identified point. you can even see the "current" in the water when it's raining. as soon as it's dry enough, i'm going to rent a bobcat and dig out a small creek bed. i'll fill it with rocks, and hopefully it will contain the run off and i'll have a winter stream, instead of a marsh.
-kelly
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If your property is draining into a protected wetland, there may be limitations on what you can do. You should check with local authorities first to keep yourself out of trouble. There are sometimes regulations about diverting water onto or away from another person's property. If there are no restrictions, you might look into installing a drainage system. I have seen some interesting drainage tubes at Lowe's. There were rectangular tubes that were installed in trenches made by a trencher. Once installed the grass could grow over them and they would disappear. You would have to discharge the water somewhere which could be into the woods if permitted or you might have to construct a sump.
You can take a look at the product here: http://www.varicore.com / There is an installation video here: http://tinyurl.com/2qo4t
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Thanks for the replies. A drainage system seems like a good start, whether or not I do any further landscaping with what is now lawn. The multi-flow system at varicore.com looks like a real possibility.
We live adjacent to a small protected wetland, but by "adjacent" I do not mean 10 feet away. Rather, our lawn abuts about 1/2 acre of woods, which we also own (and does not have any restrictions that we are aware of). Beyond the 1/2 acre of woods the protected area begins, and somewhere in there (I haven't actually explored that far) is some kind of actual wetland.
So, basically what's happening is that the lowest point of our lawn is where moisture is starting to collect in the ground to the point where it's quite soft. The woods are softer still, but they do not collect above ground standing water. I would think, then, we could drain from our lawn into our woods -- basically moving the point at which water collects below the surface from the lawn to the woods.
The source of the water is not a particular point -- just the general topography of the area, in that we're at nearly the lowest spot in the neighborhood. Because our property slopes (slightly), it's only the lowest of the low points where the soft ground is an issue.
-Aaron

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One corner of my back yard was like a swamp for a week or so after every hard rain. I dug a hole in that corner and planted a wire bucket and put in a sump pump with a long hose running out to the street. Placed a lid on top of the bucket, covered a 4' x 8' area with rocks and made the area into a rock garden using a number of flower pots.
Works great and I no longer have to be concerned about mosquitoes,
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