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How to Improve Garden Drainage

While we’ve had some wonderful weather lately, rain in the UK is in no short supply throughout the year. Keeping your garden sufficiently watered is essential for it to grow and thrive but, without adequate drainage, your garden can become waterlogged. Here are some tips on how to improve your garden’s drainage.

Aerate the lawn

Your first step towards improving your garden drainage is to aerate the lawn because this will create channels for moisture to escape through. Aeration will also allow air into the soil which will improve the conditions for the grass to grow and also absorb more moisture.

You can aerate your lawn by using a tool designed to leave deep holes, such as a garden fork, an aerator or aerator shoe spikes. The holes can also be filled with a free-draining material that allows the water to reach the deeper layers of the ground.

Grow more plants

Adding plants that are designed to grow and survive in wet conditions is an inexpensive way to improve garden drainage while also making your garden look great. Many plants aren’t designed to endure lots of water, however, so it is important to choose species that are designed to take on lots of water. This will also help to reduce the amount of water sitting in the top layers of your soil.

Build raised beds filled with free-draining topsoil

If your flower beds are the main areas that are suffering from waterlogged conditions, then you can help to improve their chances of survival by building raised plant beds for them. This helps to take them out of the boggy conditions, and filling the beds with free-draining topsoil will ensure the plants only get the water they need.

Raised beds or planters can be easily constructed from railway sleepers, bricks, or any other appropriate material.

Dig in organic matter or add bark chippings

Sometimes, soil drainage can be improved simply by increasing the permeability of the soil beds by digging in plenty of organic matter such as compost. If the soil is clay-like, you can also add coarse grit sand. Organic matter allows excess water to drain deeper into the earth while still absorbing essential moisture.

Another way to improve your garden’s drainage is to add material that can absorb more moisture, such as bark chippings. Bark chippings serve a range of other purposes too, such as preventing weed growth and insulating the beds during cold weather.

Incorporate sloping surfaces and land drains

While the above tips are generally quite easy to incorporate, these next ideas are a bit more intensive and only advisable if the drainage problems on your lawn are particularly severe.

Having your garden excavated so that the garden can be contoured into a slope means that you can redirect the excess water towards a surface drain or a deep plant bed with the kind of moisture-friendly plants discussed


Installing land drains in your garden is another option but it is also a significant undertaking. It involves digging a trench in your lawn and fixing a perforated land drain to channel the excess water through the drain pipes towards an area that can handle it.

That concludes our guide on how to improve garden drainage and, as you can hopefully see, there are plenty of options available with some being very easy to implement. It is important to take whatever steps you can to reduce excess water in your garden if you want it to continue to grow and thrive.

If you need any materials to help with improving your garden drainage, you can browse our range of supplies or get in touch with any queries.


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