Three Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid Near A Drain Field

Posted on: 7 April 2017

The drain field is an integral part of your home's septic system, but it is also a large swath of your property. Even though its main purpose is to ensure your septic runs properly, you will still want to integrate it into your landscaping. The key is to avoid the following mistakes when making landscaping decisions near the drain field.

#1: Choosing deeply rooted plants

Trees and shrubs aren't an option over a drain field. These plants put down deep roots that will invade the septic system or compact the soil so that the drain field can't do its job. Instead, opt for shallow-rooted perennials or annual flowers. A grass lawn works well, as does an annual display of native wildflowers. Ground covers with shallow roots, like carpet bugle or blue star creeper, also work well and can thrive in a shady drain field. You should also avoid growing any edible plants due to contamination concerns – the drain field is not the place to put your vegetable garden.

#2: Growing heavy maintenance plants

Plants that require a lot of maintenance also aren't suited to the drain field, since the more you operate heavy equipment on the site the greater the chances of causing some damage. Generally, it's okay to mow the lawn with a push mower or a lightweight riding mower, although you will want to check with your septic professionals. Wildflowers and groundcovers work even better, since these rarely require mowing except perhaps to clean them up at the end of the season. Also, avoid planting anything that requires a lot of soil work, such as adding amendments or tilling, since these can cause major damage to the field.

#3: Installing hardscaping

Hardscaping refers to everything that isn't a plant – walls, decorative rocks, lawn ornaments, garden structures, or walkways, for example. You can border a drain field in hardscaping, but you don't want to install any hardscaping on the drain field. Garden ornaments and structures, for example, put unnecessary weight on the field, can cause soil compaction, and inhibit proper drainage and soil aeration. A walkway or path, even if made from lightweight materials, can cause an aisle of compaction over the drain field since foot traffic won't be spread out. Stick to shallow-rooted plants for all the landscaping over a drain field.

For more help with landscaping dos and don'ts, contact a drain field contractor in your area, such as those at Clogbusters.