Drainage issues, patio and heavy clay

23 May 2021
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United Kingdom

I'm having some issues with drainage in our back garden and looking for the best place to start.

It's taken a fair bit to get it to this state but after everything has been taken back to basics, I've discovered that the garden is heavy clay and looks to be compacted too. I've dug down and it's about 8-10 ft of orange - 1-2 feet is workable but still a task.

The issues currently is that the garden is split into two flood areas. The first is the lawn which slopes to the top left and has a slope from right to left of about 5-10cm. The second flood zone is the patio, which also slopes towards the lawn and to the left. There are no drainage systems installed so when it rains the lawn gets the double whammy until the patio has to then take the hit creating a pool (see picture).

Here's what I'm thinking :-

  • Install two long planters on each side of the lawn and level the lawn - one planter is done, filled with clay-loving plants that'll hopefully suck up some of the water.
  • Once lawn is level with a slight apex - create two drainage channels to take of any excess surface water.
  • Create a gravel bit at the far back of the lawn with sump holes to help combat the 8-10 ft of clay.
  • Level patio and add avo drains around edges linking up to the surface drain (checked with UU and this is a-okay).
  • Long term plan for lawn: Deep core aeration with a soil improvement strategy.

I feel like this is OTT but think it may eventually solve the issue?

Happy to hear others' thoughts...

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What are your neighbours gardens like?


One's replaced the entire soil and put in a soak away but their patio still floods (lawn seems to be alright but apparently springy when its soaked) and their lawn has rippled. The other is a jungle so it's hard to see. I thought it was a case of being second-to-lowest but the jungle doesn't seem to flood as much as ours.

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