In heavy rainfall areas and heavy clay soil, you will be in the perfect situation to have a muddy mess in your entire yard. Without proper drainage, the excess moisture in this type of soil can cause marshy areas, muddy ground and soil erosion.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have sandy soil, but armed with a soil test and a good idea or two, you'll be on track in no time. The inexpensive way to remedy a muddy backyard is one bite at a time, just like eating an elephant
The only permanent fix to this situation is to combat the drainage issue with the addition of organic matter like peat moss and even larger substrate like wood chips.
This will only work if you also have a french drain to get rid of the excess water and allow the wet soil to dry out. A french drain is usually a ditch filled with drainage material like crushed gravel on top of a drainage pipe.
If you prefer not to dig up the whole garden, make lemonade! A rain garden will utilize the drainage problem and make it an advantage. Lots of plants that actually like wet areas will thrive in the soil condition that all this water will provide.
Poor drainage doesn't have to be a mud problem. Water-tolerant plants like Siberian iris, bog plants and even larger plants and shrubs like many willows are the permanent solution to soggy areas with standing water.
The only negative aspect to this solution is the stagnant water that can be a mosquito heaven. Make sure the water drains away from your house during the rainy season.
Permeable pavers can prevent a muddy driveway, and surrounded by ground cover plants, this can be the best solution.
Put landscape fabric under the pavers to prevent weeds from growing through them. This project could entail hiring earthwork contractors to grade the area for better drainage.
Plant roots don't like wet mud around them, and they like it even less when it's dry mud.
The best results will be from adding drainage materials like small gravel, kitty litter or lava rock to low areas which can improve drainage over time.
The area of your yard you choose for flower beds needs the best soil structure. which means good drainage.
Depending on the soil type in your garden, you may be able to get away with making raised areas in the low spots, to bring the plants up above the wet yard.
If you have good garden soil in some areas, but a muddy area in others, don't tackle it all at once. That way lies madness. The best option is to choose a corner, fix the affected areas there, and then move on.
The main reasons people give up on this kind of problem is overwhelm.
The first step is to do a full inventory of your garden, choosing a specific area to work on first. You'll have a beautiful yard in no time, if you keep the vision in your minds eye.