terrible garden drainage help urgently required

28 May 2006
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United Kingdom
Immediately to the rear of our house is a patio about 12 feet across which sits about 6 inches below the watermark of the house. this leads to a small lawn about 25 feet in length sloping upward on a gentle gradient away from the patio. the groud beneath the patio and lawn is solid clay for as far down as i have been able to dig.

When it rains, the garden becomes a swamp, and the patio a lake. I really want to reclaim this so that the kids can enjoy the garden during the summer. How can i do this without it costing the earth?
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A friend of mine in Diss, Norfolk had this problem Suspiria - I asked him on the webscan after I read your quandry. From what I'm reading from you it appears you have a minor flood situation on your hands preventing you and your family from enjoying hot roast barbeques and general swingball activities (for example).
I've posted below, a couple actionables which could quite possibly eliminate Windermere from the back of 'chez suspiria':

... if you have a sloping block, water will accumulate at the base. You can get rid of the water with a soakway, which is a deep pit (aim for 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m) filled with rocks and covered with 30cm of topsoil. Any rainfall will then accumulate in the pit....

If the problem is severe, you may need a subsurface drain below the surface of your land. Depending on your block, you may have to feed it to the stormwater drain, as you should never let run-off flow to a neighbouring property....

Water-rententive soil, such as clay based soil, can also result in a drainage problem depending on how porous the soil is. You might be able to combat this by shaping your garden with ditches at the edge to drain off accumulated surface water otherwise a subsurface drain will be required.

I remember the friend had the very same problem (no gradient, but a particularly soggy back garden pretty much rendered useless after a thorough rain soaking). He managed to sort it in the end with a series of drainage techniques...I'll 'dig' further with him and let you know what you could do. Meanwhile, await an expert on here to get back to you (looking at the current weather situation they're probably getting their fingers as green as Baron Greenback's thighs).
You could also search on points on the above quote - hope this gets you started.
Could you fit a drain in the patio and lead the water to the front garden (downhill) to some sort of drain there?

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