Soil Quality Restoration

Fenced in BackyardAbout

Soil quality restoration (SQR) is the process of improving soil health on new or existing lawns. The process uses tillage, aeration, and compost to increase infiltration and organic matter content. Soil quality restoration leads to healthier, more functional soils and landscapes that can absorb more rain and shed less runoff.


Grading activities associated with urban development create poor-quality soils that are compacted and low in organic matter. Yards with poor soil quality require more time, money, water, and fertilizer to stay green and maintain a lush appearance.

Problems such as standing water, inability to mow after rainfall, patchy grass, and poor grass establishment are associated with poor soil quality. These soil conditions also contribute to water quality issues by shedding runoff during rainfall events, and by transporting pesticides, sediment, and fertilizer to nearby water bodies.

How Soil Quality Restoration Improves Lawns & Water Quality

Soil Quality Restoration reduces compaction, increases pore space in the soil, and improves organic matter content. This improves the health and functionality of soils. Organic matter gives the landscape the ability to act like a sponge and absorb rain. Soils rich in organic matter also support entire ecosystems of beneficial organisms (microbes, worms, insects) that contribute to healthy lawns.

Soil Quality Restoration in Our Community

Soil quality restoration is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your lawn and positively impact local water quality. In just a single year, a soil quality restoration implemented on a typical 1/4 acre lot can reduce thousands of gallons of stormwater from running off an individual property.

Soil quality restoration is not only a great way to help minimize stormwater runoff on your property, but it will also help improve the health of your lawn. Organic matter that is restored will provide lawns with the nutrient they need without the use of fertilizer. The increased storage capacity in the soil will also mean there is more available water in the soil lessening the need for frequent watering.

The City of Ankeny Stormwater Best Management Practices Reimbursement Program can provide partial funding for soil quality restoration on private property. Apply now by completing the Stormwater Best Management Practices Application (PDF) or contact the Stormwater Division at 515-963-3550 for more information.