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Water… Water… Everywhere…

March 6, 2012

One gardening query that I have been asked about quite a lot recently is ‘what can I do about the waterlogging in my garden’?

I have visited several gardens recently that have waterlogged lawns. In the past one way to deal with excess water in the garden was to dig a deep pit and fill it with stones to help the water to drain away into this pit.

Nowadays the water table, which is the level of the water underground, is quite high and this method is not so effective.

Another method is to have a system of drainpipes laid underground to drain way the excess water, this system is more effective but rather costly.

If you need to walk over your lawn to get to another part of your garden then how about laying stepping stones to walk on?

Your lawn may have been laid a long time ago and therefore may have become compacted, so by replacing the existing lawn this may help the waterlogging problem. In order to do this you will first need to remove the existing lawn.

You’ll then need to rotavate the soil, (a rotavator can be hired from a hire shop) as this will get air back into the soil, then incorporate some grit and sharp sand to assist drainage. Also add a layer of topsoil before laying the new turf. Remember not to walk on the new turf for about six months to allow it to settle.

The lawn is often regarded as a “garden fashion accessory” and therefore you could consider other surfaces.

You could consider gravel with other hard landscaping materials and many interesting designs can be achieved without the need for a lawn surface and so avoid the water-logging problem.

If your garden is big enough, then you could consider planting some trees as they draw up moisture through their roots and evaporate it through their leaves, once again reducing some of the waterlogging.

If your planting beds are waterlogged then you could have them raised with a few rows of brickwork or railway sleepers and fill in with new topsoil incorporating lots of organic matter.

A phrase that I like to use with regards to features in a garden is ‘if you can’t lose it, then use it’.

I know of a garden that had a waterlogged dip at the bottom of the garden and so a boardwalk was erected from planks of wood supported by wooden stilts to create an off-the-ground walkway over the mud. A small wooden jetty was added to the walkway together with a rowing boat.

So this design gave the illusion of a lake at the bottom of the garden. Also this area was planted up with plants that thrived on having their roots in water. So the waterlogging is a bonus to this garden and not a problem.

 

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