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Homeowner shares impressive before-and-after photos after fixing their ‘swamp’ backyard: ‘This was so clever’

“People don’t believe me when I say my yard used to be a swamp.”

“People don’t believe me when I say my yard used to be a swamp.”

Photo Credit: @sarahjsover / TikTok

When her backyard flooded, one homeowner’s hands-on approach turned out to be more effective than a professional landscaping service’s.

Fantasy author Sarah J. Sover (@sarahjsover) has a TikTok channel full of book signings and convention visits. However, she also shares some personal updates, including a video she called, “That time i regraded my backyard by hand at six weeks postpartum.”

@sarahjsover That time i regraded my back yard by hand at 6 weeks postpartum 🤣 Goodbye swamp. #raingarden #stormwater #landscaping ♬ I Think I Like When It Rains – WILLIS

“People don’t believe me when I say my yard used to be a swamp,” says Sover in the video. Her “before” picture looks fairly normal when the weather is dry, with patchy grass, a wooden playset, and a small bench.

The next photo, taken in the rain, reveals the truth: Water fills half the yard, turning it into not so much a puddle as a pond, with dead leaves floating on top. The water is clearly too much for the soil and plants in the backyard, which explains the dead patches of grass.

Sover hired a contractor to address the issue with no success. “The contractor’s solution,” she says, showing a photo of the next rainy day. The yard is still submerged in water, now with what seems to be a muddy ditch running through the deepest part.

So Sover got to work herself, removing the playset and starting in on the slanted ground with a rake and a shovel. She adjusted the slope of the yard, deepening one section to plant a rain garden, and added a raised section at the back of the yard with a retaining wall to keep the soil in place. She placed the small bench by the rain garden, and a new sapling completed the design.

Rain gardens are a brilliant way not just to get rid of extra water but also to use it. A gentle slope guides water to the lowest spot in the yard. There, deep-rooted, water-loving plants help the extra moisture sink deep into the ground, preventing flooding. 

The marshy conditions in that one area are great for plants like daylilies and cattails. The rest of the yard can dry out enough to allow grass and garden plants to thrive, and the water can filter underground and replenish local aquifers.

“This was so clever!” said one commenter. “And I think minimized the impact on the neighbors. Great job!”

“I can dig it,” joked another user.

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