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Stagnant rain water

Hi all, new member here!

Wondering if someone could please help with a new problem. Just had a patio laid. I requested two planting trenches for some herbs. Unfortunately one of them has water stagnating in it after the heavy rains while the other, about 60cms away, is fine.

I tried digging it out a bit thinking it was hardcore but not so sure as the fork does not appear to hit anything sold. Family suggest that we make it into a water feature but I am not so sure about the hygeine of stagnant water. Does anyone have any ideas on what the problem might be and how I can resolve it? Clay soil. Pic insertedThank you very much. 





  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,670

    How deep can you dig? Is the rest of your garden very wet after all the rain? It could get better with some dry weather. I'm not an expert on this sort of thing, but I wanted to move your question up so the evening arrivals would see it.

    I wonder if you could put drainage pipes in it. It's probably just that the clay is very thick.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    It could be a 'clay pan'. That is a layer of pretty solid clay in a particular area. I found one about 18" down when planting a rose, it makes it almost impossible for water to drain away. A friend in Wales found the same thing when digging to make a pond; she almost didn't need a liner. Could you try drilling down with a huge masonry bit? Or try to make some kind of hole in it as it may not be that thick a layer?

    Keep us posted, as I am sure other people will have come across this also.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,148

    I can't see how the levels work. Is the hole  below the level of the garden on the other side of the wall?

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    I expect what is happening is that the water from the bed behind that wall is draining into that ditch which in turn is taking ages to drain into the soil because you are on clay.  I have exactly the same situation in my garden with a small retaining wall between lawn and patio so I have intentionally dug out a sump where I removed the clay soil and backfilled with sub-base, John Innes no. 3 then pea shingle which I planted moisture loving perennials into.  My strip is primarily to drain the patio but I noticed the same effect of it draining the higher ground mid way through the work.  No reason why you can't replace that clay with decent topsoil and plant it up.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,046

    if you want to grow herbs, then build up. Clearly , like me , you have drainage issues. Build some raised beds with lots of drainage, gritty soil etc , and you'll be fine.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Hiya, its sounds like your builders have managed to puddle the clay making you a nice pond. (This is exactly how ornamental ponds were made in the days before pond liners and plastic.) It's no good as it is for herbs, as I'm sure you're well aware. Dig out the clay, that won't be good for your herbs. If the clay goes too far down that you can't get through the puddled bit then all you can do is build up or re-think that herb idea and go for pond plants, image or bog plants, plants that don't mind bad drainage. If the clay dries out then it will crack, you'll be able to dig in lots of fibrous organic matter and grit, not sand and certainly not the fine builders sand which will only make it worse. Really you'll have feel your way. 

    By the way, if your photo that you're uploading is larger than 800k then it won't enlarge. I was told by one of the techs 1mb but I find I can't upload photos bigger than 800k. 

  • PrasannaPrasanna Posts: 14

    Thank you all very much. 

    I can dig the trench fairly deep and the water just gets displaced. The hole is lower than the garden and I too suspect that water is draining off the garden into the hole. 

    I could try backfilling  with the soil that came out of the hole, add grit/compost and plant up some flowers and see what happens. 

    Jim, I  did have trouble uploading my pic. Smaller pixels in future.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Prasanna sorry I haven't got back. By all means add grit but it's the organic matter that will really open up the soil. 

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