Improving drainage in a garden
This entry was posted on July 16, 2018.
Good drainage is key to a healthy garden. Bad drainage can lead to a water-logged plot which simply hinders the enjoyment of a garden. Squelching through turf which takes an age to drain is unpleasant and annoying but can be fixed relatively easily.
Poor drainage can also cause serious long-term problems including plants being vulnerable to diseases and turf suffering from root rot. More seriously, sitting water close to the foundations of a house can be a big issue. Water may slowly seep into walls causing cracks, mould and other problems.
A good way to test for drainage problems is to take a spade and dig a hole 30cm deep. Fill it with water and allow the water to drain completely. Then fill it again and check back in an hour. If less than 5cm of water has drained away in that time, your soil has drainage problems which need addressing.
Adding organic matter to the soil can help. Digging in compost or manure binds with the soil particles to improve drainage, but often you’ll need to install plastic drainage pipes to really make a difference.
Laying pipes beneath the ground and creating a soakaway to receive water from the pipes is a good solution. A soakaway is simply a hole filled with rubble or coarse stones which allows water to percolate back into the ground.
Typically, a soakaway will be located at the lowest point of the garden to allow gravity to transport the water. Roughly you’ll need a 1 cm slope for each 1 cm of pipe laid.
For larger areas, you’ll need a land drainage coil which is simply a longer plastic pipe supplied in a variety of lengths and diameters. The coils are flexible to allow you to lay them as best fits the area.
The pipes come perforated to allow water to slowly filter out into the ground while taking the majority to the final soakaway. Make sure you select a pipe manufactured from high-density polyethylene to British Standard BS4962.
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