Sump Pump Drainage Chic: A Garden Bed For Moisture Loving Plants

It's no fun having a water problem in the basement. With smart waterproofing solutions, new drains and a sump pump installation, your waterproofing contractor can solve that problem in fairly short order. After that, the rain can fall any time it wants and you won't end up with dampness, unpleasant odors and possible mold growth downstairs. What you will have, though, is a very damp area in the backyard where the moisture from the basement ends up as the sump pump pushes it out the drainage pipe and away from your home's foundation. This is the perfect place to install a garden bed featuring shrubs and flowers that, unlike many traditional landscaping plants, actually thrive in very moist soil conditions.

Basic Design Features

Your new little garden will be an island bed, situated away from the foundation plantings and surrounded by the grassy lawn. Don't worry, it won't look awkward out there as long as you avoid making it a rigid geometric shape like a square or a triangle. Instead, go for a kidney bean shape or an oval with several extra curves at the edges.

  • Outline the shape of the bed with a garden hose. Position the bed so that the end of the sump pump drainage pipe is at its center.
  • Remove the sod from the new bed area and spade the dirt beneath to a depth of 6 to 8 inches to encourage good drainage.
  • Add enough fresh, clean topsoil over the bed so that it's level with the surrounding ground.
  • Surround the garden bed with a border of bricks, landscaping blocks or natural stone, leaving a sufficient gap for the sump pump drainage hose to pass through.

Pretty Plant Selection

Your new island garden bed can look beautiful all through the year. Bushes and flowering perennials that will flourish in the extra water from the sump pump include the following:

  • Red twig dogwood – features deep green leaves in summer and bright red bark that's visible even on the gloomiest days of winter.
  • Beautyberry shrub – has light green leaves in summer, accented by clusters of bright purple berries that stay on the bush after the leaves fall and through the winter.
  • Cardinal flower – a robust, moisture-loving perennial with rich green foliage and tall spiked stems covered with little red flowers from midsummer through autumn. Hummingbirds love them.
  • Japanese iris – green, spear-shaped leaves stand tall around large, summer-blooming flowers in shades of blue, purple and yellow.

The Finishing Touch

Spread a thick layer of mulch around the plants to suppress weed growth and give the bed an extra boost of visual appeal. Now you're ready to relax and enjoy a dry basement indoors and a new, chic garden bed outdoors. For more information on how to better utilize the water from your basement, visit websites like