Land drainage doesn't have to be difficult
This entry was posted on October 10, 2016.
If you’re responsible for a patch of land, whether it’s agricultural, recreational or simply your own back garden, you’ll be aware that while a little water is good for the plants, a lot of water is a disaster which can turn your perfect piece of land into a waterlogged swamp. It’s especially important if your land provides your livelihood, or is home to livestock. If you’d rather be in control of the liquid on your land, there are plenty of drainage solutions which can help you.
The easiest way to be in control of the water is with a drainage pipe. It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think to install a land drain. Sometimes called a French Drain, it’s a really simple way to get rid of excess water. You generally need 80mm or 100mm diameter plastic drainage pipe, perforated with small holes. These are usually supplied in coils.
You’ll need to dig trenches which the pipes will sit in, but since 80mm or 100mm is not the widest pipe in the world, this should not take too long. As a guide, the width of the trench should be the pipe diameter plus 4x the size of the granular fill, for example: if you are installing an 80mm perforated drainage pipe and using 10mm clean stone, the trench width should be about 120mm. Remember to keep the turf safe so that you can reinstall it once you’ve finished installing your drainage pipes. The most effective way to install drainage pipes is in a herringbone pattern, making sure that all areas of your land are no more than two metres from a drainage pipe. The hardest work will be creating a soakaway, which will act like an underground reservoir with sloped sides, storing the drained water and letting it seep away naturally into the depths of the earth, rather than sitting on your land. Local authorities all have their own specific regulations for creating a soakaway, but the general rule is that the bottom of it should be a metre below where your pipe will enter into the soakaway pit, and it should be located at least 5 metres away from any habitable property.
Line your trenches with non-angular stone or shingle, which will act like a sieve, allowing the water to escape out of the drain pipe while keeping silt filtered. For an even more efficient soakaway, you could line the trench with a non-woven geotextile or sleeve the pipe with a geotextile soak. If you need a longer length of pipe for your trench, the lengths of pipe can be easily joined together with additional couplers. With the trench installed, complete your installation by covering the drainage pipe with another 30cm of clean non angular stone, then backfilling with approximately 30cm of as dug material, before putting the turf carefully back on top of the installation.
From now on, every time your land receives a soaking from the skies, or runoff from a river, the drains will be waiting to take that water safely away and filter it into your soakaway, minimising damage to your property. A quick word of warning though: in the summer, when you may really need the land to receive water to feed your plants, the drains will still be there, taking the water away and scorching your land, so make sure that you’re ready to provide the gentle flow of water the land needs.
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