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Drainage issue

We bought a new build house which has a very basic turfed garden with a slight slope running towards the house.

The garden was always bogey so went about altering. I installed sleepers ten foot from house to level up garden and extend the patio area. I ran a small Cotswold stone border around patio up to sleepers. So two sides and top.

Where the water from the main garden runs towards the house and where the water runs off the patio into the stones, I am getting about 50% of the stones border filling with water (left side and half of centre) and not draining away quickly  looking untidy.

i will be having the patio redone towards end of year and proper draining run around patio but need to sort myself in the short term.

My thoughts were to dig up all the cotswold stones, dig further down, refill with large pebbles and then re cover with the cotswold stones, creating hopefully drainage. Or at least better than now.

Anu experts have any thoughts on this and will it be ok in short term?

many thanks


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,993

    Have you spoken to the builders? Sounds like they should have been aware of the possible drainage problem in the first place.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother to re-do it all now  - it should hopefully dry out as soon as the better weather arrives. Then when you have the patio redone, ask them to put in proper drainage.

    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • I feel for you. My daughter's "lawn" at her new build house was nothing but a soggy mess. After two yrs you could scarcely spot a blade of grass...only moss and weeds. When it was dug up they found it was basically the builders dumping ground. Loads of leftover concrete, plaster, broken tiles, bits of plastic piping, guttering etc. Then add in the worker's sandwich/ burger boxes, lucozade bottles, red bull cans, scrunched up tin foil....So on top of all that c**p they throw on a couple of inches of topsoil and some grass seed and you end up with your "very basic turfed area". All builders seem to do it these days. This may/may not be your problem but I would be very surprised if its not.

  • You are spot on. It is without a doubt a big part of the problem. The things I found when working on the garden was shocking. One thing you don’t get with a new build is thought about the garden. They lay turf which looks good when you buy the house but lasts next to nothing.

  • Jaime if that's the case then you can be guaranteed that there is absolutely no drainage in your garden. A few paving slabs and a handful of grass seed covers a multitude of sins. I would take it up with the builder especially as the slope is towards the house. I doubt there is a quick fix for it.

  • We moved around and a half years ago to a house built in 2004 on a brownfield site.

    Our garden is the same as yours with a slight slope running towards the house.

    The back lawn easily turned to mush in rain. As well as being on clay we have found the usual builders dumping ground of wood, tile, nails, concrete, bricks, coke and assorted cans, foil, plastic and much much more, in a strip along the back of the house running about 12 foot wide. So bad the fork would only go in by an inch. 

    We have dug a lot of this out along with the front garden which was worse. So far we have remove around 8 tons of rubbish and got new soil in, we still have a lot to do slowly away. (A ton of soil does not seem to go far lol). We have also put a bit of drainage in but again more to do yet.

    Further up the lawn when trying to aerate the better area I found a large square sheet of plastic just underneath the turf, the idiots doing the garden must have laid the turf straight on top of the plastic.

    We bought the house just outside of the NHBC guarantee, I assume yours is still active. If so have you approached the builder/NHBC about the drainage issue?

    With what we have done we have a noticeable improvement, during the first winter we were in if you walked on the back lawn you left muddy footprints and sank in the grass whilst water came up around your feet. Now we can walk on the lawn in really wet weather without leaving footpronts behind. The pools of water on the lawn near the house do not happen now unless it’s extreme wet weather.

    i think your solution would work as long as you dig deep enough before filling with stones. Line the trench/hole with a membrane that will let the water into the stones but keep sediments and soil out, this will help prevent/slow it silting up. It’s hard work and takes a long time for it to have an effect and settle down.

    As so else said above it might be better to wait until the patio is done and get a drainage system put in then.


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,011

    The NHBC warranty only covers structural problems with the house, so they won't be interested unless the water is compromising the house itself, which it doesn't sound like it is.

    In the medium term you need your patio laid to fall away from the house with drains, as you say.

    In the short term, the bigger the soak-away surface you create, the better it will drain, so a big hole filled with hardcore will shift a bit more water than a small trench filled with gravel. Fundamentally whether it's enough comes down to how compacted your soil is and whether it's clay, bed rock, sand or whatever. But in any case, a bigger sump will reduce the surface problem for now. No promises it'll cure it though.

    Lizzie is also right though - the weather - round here anyway - has been pretty wet for sometime, so it may be seeming to be worse at the moment that it generally will be, so you may be able to just wait til you can get it done properly and put up with the pond in the meantime.

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • raisin Girl, the NHBC warranty does cover the garden and specifically states that the drainage characteristics of the garden should be fully restored within 3 metres of the house wall. Also that construction rubbish and debris should be removed from the garden and other areas around the home.

    The problem is more that they (both NHBC and the builders)  try to wriggle out of it where they can. Persistence can be they key.


  • So I’ve gone ahead and tried it. Dug a deeper trench at top,  with a couple of deeper drainage holes, and three large draining holes in the left side. I am sure it will help, only time will tell how much.

    I put the sleepers in to level the garden as drainage around me seems poor for everyone. This was levelled with stone dust and hardcore and Astro is being laid next month. The garden holds little water and drains well, this will be improved before Astro Laid.

    its just these two areas where the water meets, running from top of garden and off patio. Fingers crossed it’s fixed or at least improved in short term.

    many thanks for replies.

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