How to Improve Drainage in Your Garden

How to Improve Drainage in Your Garden

The British climate can throw a variety of types of weather at us, from snow and wind to substantial amounts of rainfall. Many gardens in the UK suffer from poor drainage, so if your garden is one of them, you can rest assured that you are not alone.

In recent times, there has been a sharp increase in the number of homeowners, converting gardens into paved areas for driveways and patios. It’s believed that concreating over grass is a contributing factor to the increasing likelihood of flooding.

Heaving rainfall can cause lawns to become waterlogged and boggy, something that is far from ideal when trying to maintain a lush and green lawn. There are several factors that can contribute to poor drainage in the garden, which leaves many gardens struggling to cope with excessive water.

Good drainage is crucial for growing many forms of garden plants, so if you’re a keen gardener, improving your drainage should be high on your list of priorities. Here are a few ways to improve the drainage within your garden.


Install artificial grass

Having a fake lawn installed can help to improve the drainage in your garden, as artificial grass is capable of handling substantial amounts of rainfall – 52 litres in fact!

The key to a successful, drainage-improving artificial lawn is to ensure that a permeable sub-base is installed beneath the turf first. Professional artificial grass installers will install 12mm granite chippings, or something similar, at a depth of 50mm. the advantage of using chippings is that they do not contain any ‘fines’ or dust that prevent water from soaking through the sub-base.

This allows water to drain through to the soil below, where it will find its way back into the local water table, forming a soakaway.

Install land drains

If your lawn is particularly bad, land drains can really help to improve the drainage in your lawn. A land drain involves digging a trench, or a series of trenches, in your lawn, installing a perforated land drain encased in a pea shingle. Water will then drain through your lawn and into the perforated land drain pipe, which will channel away from the area to the part of the garden you choose, for example an area where waterlogging won’t be a concern.

This process is best carried out at the end of the summer or during autumn, when the ground is at its driest.

Use bark chippings

Adding bark chippings to plant beds is an effective way to deal with poor draining soils; the bark will help to absorb the moisture from the bed and thereby improve drainage.

Bark chippings can perform a multitude of tasks. They’re great at retaining moisture, preventing weed growth, insulate the flower beds during cold periods and then improve the overall aesthetic of virtually any flower bed they are added to.

They’re reasonably inexpensive and can easily be added to boggy, waterlogged plant beds with very little effort required. If poor drainage in plant beds is your biggest issue in the garden, adding bark mulch is the best place to start.

Build raised beds

Another alternative to dealing with poor draining soils is to build raised beds. A raised bed enables you to fill it with superior quality, free-draining topsoil that gets your plants out of the boggy earth below.

Raised beds can be constructed out of timber railway sleepers or even brickwork; they will not only help you grow your plants and shrubs that need drier conditions, but also create interesting features within a garden.