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Garden Drainage Problems and Solutions


Reading time: 6 minutes


My garden keeps flooding when it rains

Many gardens can be waterlogged after flash flooding from an occasional downpour. This is quite normal, and rarely a cause to take action. However, garden flooding is a major problem when it gets to the point of reducing your lawns and beds to swampy ground regularly. 

Continual flooding can be damaging to certain plants, and can make the garden unusable for some time after heavy rain, reducing it to a boggy environment. In some cases, it can even affect the walls of a property if the water doesn’t drain away quickly, creating damaging damp patches on brickwork.


How do I know if my garden has good drainage? 

To test the drainage level of a garden, dig a hole approximately 40cm wide and 40cm deep, then fill it with water. If the hole empties in around 10 minutes, this usually means your garden has good drainage! If it takes an hour or so, this indicates poor drainage.


How do you drain a flooded garden?

When looking at how to drain a flooded garden, the key is to first identify the causes. Unblocking drainage around the garden can get rid of the water almost straight away. However, flooding might also be the result of other issues that need a more long-term fix. We’ll come on to this later.

Start with drains and drainage channels around the garden. It’s possible these can get clogged and filled with debris, such as leaves, twigs, moss or rubbish. Because we tend not to notice this, particularly over the winter when much less time is spent outside, this can build up over time. Giving these a clear-out not only drains away any water that’s present, but also prevents further flooding from smaller showers.


Do I need garden drainage?

If problems with flooding carry on, it’s reasonable to look at ways of improving drainage. Before investing in new drainage systems, check if there are other issues causing flooding. A burst pipe, either leading to your property or from roadworks, might be the reason for the problem. Until this kind of damage is repaired, there’s little point in spending lots on other methods of drainage.


Types of garden drainage 

There are several ways to improve drainage for the garden to suit different needs and budgets. Let’s take a look at these methods to help manage potential flooding situations.

  • Digging a Ditch
  • What is a French Ditch?
  • Surface Drainage Hardware

Landscaping a poor drainage area

There are situations where installing drainage might not help at all. There can be several reasons why a garden can hold a high level of water, including:


  • Compacted soil – this can sometimes be caused by topsoil and subsoil being mixed from when the property was built, which can prevent water from draining properly.

  • Large ponds, swimming pools and extensions – A construction that goes into the ground can divert water if it’s deep or wide enough, preventing adequate drainage. This can include foundations for extensions.

  • House location – it’s possible your property lies at the bottom of a hill, maybe lower than your neighbours, causing water to build up in your garden.


Tips to reduce water levels in the garden

So what can be done in such situations? There are ways to approach the problem of constant flooding to reduce some of the effects of a swampy or muddy garden.

  • Get a Water Butt
  • Use Plants to Reduce Flooding
  • Making Mulch

There’s no doubt that garden flooding can be frustrating, but there are plenty of options available to mitigate, and we hope this has helped. If you need more landscaping advice, we’re on hand with inspiration and guidance for your garden.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as specific advice from a qualified professional. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date.