Why should you install drainage in your garden?
While gardens thrive with sufficient water, too much can cause significant issues with both the land and its flora. Too much water in the ground can lead to root rot and diseases for your plants, and shifting and puddling for your landscaping – it could even lead to flooding of your property. With the changes to weather patterns across the UK, installing drainage in your garden is generally recommended, provided you do it correctly. Read on to find out the best methods for installing drains in your garden.
How do you know you need to install drainage?
Usually a waterlogged garden is fairly easy to spot – what was once a pleasant walk through cultivated land becomes a slog through marshland and puddles. If you hear squelching sounds from your soil when you walk over it, or see an abundance of puddles across your space – your garden has too much water! Other signs your garden requires drainage include the presence of moss or reeds, paving slabs that come loose or unlevel, a large number of worms coming to the surface, or if your plant stems are turning yellow.
Typically, every garden can benefit from drainage. The removal of excess water will not dry your plants out, but will instead keep them healthy for time to come. As the risk of flooding becomes the reality for more and more properties across the UK, being pro-active and making sure you have the right systems in place can save you time, money, and worry.
Types of garden drainage
There are different kinds of drainage that we would recommend based on factors such as the severity of the surface water, the frequency of the problem, and the size of the affected areas. We would also take into account the aesthetics of the drainage system, and understand the need for different drainage systems where the garden meets the house, for example.
Follow each link to read more about each drain, or browse at your leisure.
By far the easiest method of drainage, a simple ditch is simply a loped channel dug out of the ground to divert water to a different area. While usually quite effective, it does have a significant visual impact, and effectively removes usable space from your garden. However, this kind of drainage ditch can be useful for short-term and emergency solutions.
To create a simple ditch, locate where the water is being pooled. Then dig a trench up to a meter deep from the affected area to a place you would like the water to drain to. Ensure the sides of the ditch are sloped and that the end of the ditch is dug out somewhat lower than the rest of the drain.
French Drains and Piped Drainage
French drains are particularly effective at draining an area of land as unlike some drainage methods such as the simple ditch, they can drain water from a whole area rather than a certain spot. Traditionally, French drains are not a particularly long-term solution due to sediment build up over time, but with the addition of perforated drainage pipes they can be an effective solution for domestic gardens.
Using a string and level, dig a trench in the direction of the drain, and line the trench with landscape fabric before laying down gravel. The membranous fabric will help dissipate the water to the soil at a rate that the soil can take without causing problems. You can use perforated land drainage pipes for your French drain within the gravel layer to improve the speed and efficacy of the drainage, especially for areas that have uneven soil or places that accumulate more than a single puddle after rainfall. Cover the gravel with topsoil to complete the drain. Once the foliage has grown back, the drain will be invisible.
Surface Water Drains
Surface water drainage may already be installed on your property, and is a great way to prevent flooding and standing water problems. It usually consists of rainwater pipes on the roof, including guttering, and underground pipework such as sewers and surface water drains. These systems are designed to move the surface water (rainfall, pond overflows, French drain outflow, etc) directly into drainage areas and watercourses, without the need for them to go to the sewers.
What other steps can I take to improve drainage in my garden?
There may be a need for extra precautions, such as using soakaway/attenuation crates or soakaway systems, or even more specialised solutions. If it’s an emergency situation, you may need to use submersible rainwater pumps. Drainstore offer drainage installation services covering all drainage applications.