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Waterlogged garden

hi all,

i have moved into a new build property in 2013 and the lawn has always been bad and waterlogged,it's got to a stage where I can't let the kids play out for 10months of the year almost.

Now I plan to start from scratch and want advice what to do to help solve the problem. The facts:

very heavy clay soil

dug a hole 8 inch filled with water 6 inch went down 31/2 in in 15 minutes and the rest stood for a couple of hours.

very heavy brick and rubble content (struggle to dig and break up even with pick much deeper).

Now I am planning to have a digger in and remove to top surface say 6-8 inch where would you go from there? Should I mix some sand in and rotavate it then lay 6inch top soil? Add drainage? If so how or just dig some trenches? Thanks in advance 

all advice is very welcome


  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,080


    It sound as if, like a lot on new build properties, the spoil has been tipped in your garden and lawned over. Builders don't seem to care that they are wasting time and money laying a healthy lawn over bricks, blocks and concrete. I'd it isn't a large area of lawn then excavating the ground and laying a new lawn could be done. Obviously, your children will love a lawn as opposed to a hard surface. 

    Possibly, you could consider something in between by considering an artificial lawn, as there are some very good quality types, that look very convincing

  • I'd love the artifiCal stuff but cant really afford that at the moment do to size of garden 30ft square. So need to stick to the real stuff at the moment but stuck as to what to lay it on to help with drainage.

    Last edited: 27 March 2017 16:22:04

  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,080


    As you possibly need a new lawn due to the excess waterlogging, there are a few possibilities to consider 

    1. Strip out the lawn and top soil going down 4 to 6 inches. Lay top soil and  hortucultural grit mixture and lay down a new lawn. This will be costly due to top soil and lawn and the possibility of employing a professional to carry out the work 


    2. Fork over the existing lawn with a hollow tine fork. This will make hollow holes that you can sweep in a mixture of sieved top soil or John innes compost incorporating hort. grit. These will make drainage holes that will stay firm due to the grit content that allows water, air and light to the sub soil. You may need to scarify the lawn using a lawn rake to remove all moss etc from the lawn. Then reseed the lawn where you have removed moss and thatch The drain holes will encourages new growth as well as effective drainage This will be a lot cheaper option as you can carry out this work yourself. 

  • Would this solve the surface water problem enough or would I need drainage somehow? I have priced a digger to come and take 6-8 inch off the surface so this is not a issue and can get a full load of 20ton bs topsoil for next to nothing. how much HortI grit would I need for 20ton? Does this get mixed with the soil or do I put a layer down then soil on top? Basically I would like the best drainage option without running drains as I have nowhere for it to run.

    sorry for all the questions. 

  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,080


    The  top soil would be mixed in with the Hort. Grit before laying it down of your excavated surface.

    As for how much grit per ton, I'm not too sure. Based on introducing grit in to existing clay soil in your garden, I would mix compost/ grit to 1ms sq of soil. As you estimate that the area of lawn is 30ms, then 30 bags of 40ml of horticultural grit would be what I would be using for effective drainage to your sub soil before laying a new lawn.

    Hope that this held you 

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