Frenc drain+ soakaway in clay soil

1 Feb 2013
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United Kingdom

first time post and please accept that I'm a novice and would appreciate any help or advice.

My garden has poor drainage and I get a lot of standing water which I've been told is due to the clay soil. I'm looking to install a french drain linking to a soakaway (picture included of my rough plan). I'm hoping someone will be able to advise me of the following:

- would a soakaway work in clay soil?
- would the soakaway need to be at least 2.5 meters from my neighbours fence?
- can the soakaway have two inlets?

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I suggest the first thing to do is to dig a pit about 600mm square and 800mm deep at the location you are planning your soakaway, and see how quickly it fills with water.
If it fills with water within a few hours to the same level (or close to) the water level at your flooded patches then it most likely means you have a high water table, and digging a soakaway will be a waste of time, as the water has nowhere to go in any case.
But if your pit just has just a little water in it after 24 hours then you should be able to justify putting in drains.
You can have as many inputs as you like into your soakaway. The larger the soakaway the better it will work. Your plan looks unnecessarily complicated - you could just run a single length of pipe from each of your flooded areas to the soakaway. Ideally you should treat the whole garden and work to a herringbone pattern but unless you are a very keen gardener or are completely starting again then the cost an upheaval could be difficult to justify. I'm sure you can find plenty of detailed advice regarding the actual specifications on the web, and I won't go into it here.
Hope this helps.

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