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Waterlogged front garden

Right a little stuck on what to do......My front garden is heavy clay and floods at the slightest bit of rain. At the minute it is not planted up with anything but hopefully next year it will be. I have had "drainage specialists" around to look at the problem but they both told me there was no cheap fix and one even wanted to dig my drive up to make a soak away image. so not very practical.

The main problems are the heavy clay and also the fact that my front garden is slightly lower than than the kerbside with no nearby drain to hook up a french drain system so any water just comes my way. My only idea was to raise up the borders by a foot  with sleepers which i am in the process of doing. I have also dug down a little to remove some clay which i have used to fill an old pond in the back garden.

As it stands i am left with borders of around 1.5ft - 2ft deep in places to fill but i am unsure what to fill them with? Should i be putting a layer of pea gravel with topsoil on top or something different?

Any help greatly appreciated.


  • image



     These were taken before i dug out some clay and raised the borders.

  • FarmergeddunFarmergeddun Posts: 229

    Personally I would plant with plants that enjoy those conditions.  Fighting the elements can prove costly and in the end ineffective.

  • I appreciate I may be dictated to a little in terms of a planting scheme because in effect the water will still be there albeit a little lower. The recent flash floods we have had have shown what I have done has helped a little because the water no longer sits level with the grass. So hopefully I may have a lawn of grass instead of moss eventually.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910

    Hi Ryan. The raised beds will certainly help and you can put larger stones/rubble etc in the bottom to create a soakaway effect. It's a good idea to put a layer of membrane on top of that just to stop your soil getting washed through into it. When you put your soil in, mix some sharp grit in with it and that will help too. Clay benefits from having some compost or manure mixed through it just to get the structure a bit better but you'll get a good choice of plants to grow in it depending on your aspect. I'm on clay here and it's a great medium but a little work done on it makes it much easier to work with in the end - clogged boots are always a problem when it's rained!

    With your grass you can spike it and add sharp sand or grit to improve drainage and encourage  grass growth rather than moss but it's best left till  it's dried out to prevent making it a mud bath! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Would landscape fabric which you can get for paths be ok for a membrane? 

  • FarmergeddunFarmergeddun Posts: 229

    Yup, it will let the water drain through, but keep the soil in.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910

    Ideal Ryan. I've done that quite often- in large pots as well to save on compost. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thankyou for your help. I can source some aggregate pretty easy but never purchased topsoil before,  but found tru-gro in the back of the last gw issue. Has anybody used them before?

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