If you're not familiar with owning a home with a septic system, buying your first one can be a real learning experience. You might be wondering what you can do about the drain field to make it more attractive. The good news is that not only can you landscape over your drain field, but it's actually a good idea to do so. If you want to maintain your septic system and keep it running as best as possible, here's what you should know about landscaping the drain field area.
Reasons to Landscape
Landscaping your septic system drain field has many benefits. Planting anything over that space adds some stability to the soil, which can help you combat erosion. In addition, the oxygen exchange generated by growing plants will help you maintain healthy soil. Even just a layer of sod is enough to reap this benefit. Further, planting over the drain field with something like colorful flowers will make the whole space brighter and more attractive.
The Types of Things to Plant over the Drain Field
You'll have to be choosy about what you plant over the drain field, because anything with a heavy root system can grow through the pipe network, which may create clogs and cause a septic backup. Avoid this by only planting things with gentle, shallow roots.
Some of the best options available for planting over a drain field include plants like ground cover greens, flowering annual plants, and perennials. These types of plants have shallow or moderate root systems, which means they're less likely to cause any kind of damage. If you just want a grass cover, opt for an ornamental grass for aesthetic purposes.
Things to Remember about Planting over Your Drain Field
There are a number of things that you should keep in mind when you're planting anything over your drain field. First, you need to make sure that you're not adding excess soil in any areas other than those that need boosting because of erosion. In addition, if you till any of the soil, make sure that you know where your plumbing lines are, because you risk puncturing them if you're not careful. They aren't usually too far below the surface, so you don't want to damage them.
In addition, any time you're planting by hand over the drain field, make sure you're protecting your hands from bacteria and other contaminants. The soil may have some microorganisms and bacteria that could make you sick if you aren't attentive to protection and hygiene. Finally, don't plant anything that might require dividing in the future. The more that you disrupt the soil over the drain field, the greater your risk of damaging the plumbing lines directly under the soil.
If you opt to plant ground cover of some kind, choose one that forms a light canopy. Anything too thick will block the sunlight needed for the oxygen exchange and evaporation. The cool, moist environment thick ground cover creates could be hazardous to the soil. For the same reason, you shouldn't apply a layer of mulch in the area. Mulch holds moisture in and will contribute to that damp, bacteria-laden environment you're trying to keep at bay.
Planting over the drain field of your septic system will give you the chance to improve the appearance of your property while still protecting the integrity of your property's septic system. If you're worried about people driving over the drain field area, consider enclosing your planted flowers or other greens with a small fence. Even a decorative fence is enough to discourage traffic. For more help with keeping your septic system healthy and planting over the drain field, talk with a septic system technician today, like one from SOS Septic Inc.