8 ways to improve your garden’s drainage

8 ways to improve your garden’s drainage

What’s the best way to improve your garden’s drainage? During the rainy months, frustrated gardeners have seen their back gardens turn to swamps, which has a long term knock-on effect because good drainage is essential for growing many garden plants and keeping healthy grass.

With the unpredictable British weather – and the rain that comes with it – many gardens in the UK suffer from poor drainage, and these waterlogged conditions are far from ideal when trying to maintain a lush, green lawn once spring comes. Here are some ways to improve your garden’s drainage.


1. Pricking, slitting or spiking

‘Pricking or slitting the lawn surface with shallow, 2-3cm holes can help garden drainage, but deeper spiking is even better, especially with a tool designed to leave deep holes,’ explain the team at Garden Buildings Direct. ‘These holes can be filled with a free-draining material, such as proprietary lawn top dressing or horticultural sand, to allow the water to flow from the surface to deeper, less compacted layers.’

2. Grow more plants

One of the best, and easiest, ways to improve drainage in your garden is to simply grow more plants. It’s also a relatively inexpensive solution, and in the long run, will make your garden look nicer too. ‘Plant choice is important though, as you’ll want to choose something that can survive wet conditions – unfortunately, many plants dislike too much water and cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions,’ warn Garden Buildings Direct.

3. Build raised beds

Building raised plant beds means you can fill them with good quality, free-draining topsoil that gets your plants out of the boggy earth below. These can be constructed out of timber railway sleepers or brickwork.

8 ways to improve your garden's drainage

mtreasureGetty Images

4. Improve soil drainage

If drainage issues aren’t too severe, improving the permeability of the soil in your beds may alleviate the problem. ‘To do this, you’ll need to dig in lots of organic matter, as soil with a high organic matter content allows excess water to drain through, while absorbing essential moisture. Creating your own compost and using this to improve the soil is a cheap but effective way of doing this,’ say Garden Buildings Direct. ‘On the other hand, if your soil is sticky and clay-like, it’s advisable to add coarse grit sand to aid drainage.’

8 ways to improve your garden's drainage

Compost bin
See also  How to make a balcony garden

James_DavidsonGetty Images

5. Manage surface water

Managing surface water run-off effectively and efficiently is a great way to improve drainage. All you need to do is incorporate sloping surfaces within your garden so that the excess water is directed to an area where it can be disposed of – for example, a surface drain or plant bed containing moisture-loving plants. Please note, this could be costly as you’d need to hire a mini excavator to sculpt the contours of your garden. Do seek professional advice in any instance.

6. Use bark chippings

Did you know that bark chippings are great for absorbing moisture, and thereby improving drainage? These chippings are not only great at retaining moisture but they also prevent weed growth, help insulate the beds during cold snaps, and improve the aesthetic of practically any bed they’re added to.

8 ways to improve your garden's drainage

OzCameramanGetty Images

Buy now from B&Q

7. Install artificial grass

‘Artificial grass is capable of handling large amounts of rainfall, but the key to a successful, drainage-improving artificial lawn is to ensure that a permeable sub-base is installed beneath the turf,’ explain Garden Buildings Direct.

8 ways to improve your garden's drainage

Calvin Chan Wai MengGetty Images

8. Install land drains

This option is generally only recommended if your lawn is particularly bad – installing land drains involves digging a trench in your lawn, fixing a perforated land drain, and then re-covering, so it’s a big job. ‘Water will then drain through your lawn and into the perforated land drain pipe, which will channel it away from that area to whatever other part of the garden you choose,’ say Garden Buildings Direct. ‘Local by-laws usually prohibit you from channelling the water into public storm drains or sewer systems, so finding a suitable area to direct the water can be an issue.’

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


20 best gardening gifts under £35

Gardeners gift basket — Gardening Gifts

See also  How to Build a Rock Garden with Weed Prevention

Gardeners Beauty Gift Basket

Treat your gardening-loving friend to this wonderful gift set. Presented in a handmade seagrass hamper basket, you’ll find lip balm, hand lotion, exfoliating soap, a nail brush and gardening gloves.

Gardening gloves — Gardening Gifts

Burgon & Ball Flora & Fauna Gardening Gloves, Medium

Burgon & Ball johnlewis.com


Gloves are a must-have for gardeners. With a sweet bird print and ultra-soft fell palms, this Burgon & Ball style is perfect for all. 

Trowel box set — Gardening Gifts

Sophie Conran trowel gift boxed

Sophie Conran crocus.co.uk

[external_link offset=1]


Presented in a lovely box, this Sophie Conran trowel makes the perfect gift for your garden-loving friend. 

Slate market — Gardening Gifts

Engraved Slate Plant Marker



Make a friend or family member smile with this lovely personalised state plant marker. 

Plant pot — Gardening Gifts

Dutch Floral Patterned Plant Pot



Have you ever seen a more beautiful plant pot? These even come with their own bulbs, so expect Delft Blue Hyacinth to blossom soon. 

Tool bag — Gardening Gifts

Sophie Conran tool bag

Sophie Conran crocus.co.uk


Keep tools and accessories neatly stored away with this stylish gardening bag. Designed by Sophie Conran, it’s water resistant, wipe clean and has practical restraining straps to keep your items safe. 

Hand lotion — Gardening Gifts

Lemon and Rosewood Organic Hand Lotion



Gardening is often tough on the hands, so it’s important for regular gardeners to look after their skin. Trust us, this hand cream will go down a treat…

Watering can — Gardening Gifts

Mini Green Earthenware Watering Can

Formed from earthenware and finished with a glaze, this watering can is a must-have for avid gardeners. 

Bee house — Gardening Gifts

Shetland Hexagonal Bee House



Encourage bees into the garden with this affordable bee house. Designed to imitate honeycomb’s hexagonal shapes, it’s the perfect nesting site. 

Garden kneeler — Gardening Gifts

Canvas Garden Kneeler



This practical canvas kneeler is a must-have for every gardening aficionado. Its long handle makes it incredible practical to hang in a shed or garage after use. 

Wildflower seeds — Gardening Gifts

See also  4 Ways to Clean Solar Panels on Garden Lights

Wildflower Seed Balls Gift

GowerFlowerCompany etsy.com


Ceramic plant set — Gardening Gifts

Personalised RHS Set Of Two Ceramic Planters



Get personal with your gift ideas and give something printed with your own message. These ceramic planters make excellent presents.

Great for book lovers — Gardening Gifts

[external_link offset=2]

Wild at Home: Style & Care for Beautiful Plants Book

A book is always a good idea. Wild at Home is a great title to gift plant and garden lovers alike. 

Rake — Gardening Gifts

Wooden Rake



Sweeping away fallen leaves and garden dirt has never been easier thanks to this beautiful wooden rake. Crafted from beech, it’s a practical gift that everyone will find use for.

Planter — Gardening Gifts

Lloyd the Llama Ceramic Planter

Oliver Bonas oliverbonas.com


Keep succulents and small cacti in this sweet llama-shaped ceramic planter. 

Bird mug — Gardening Gifts

Garden Birds 1/2 Pint Mug



With a sweet bird design, this gorgeous mug is a brilliant gift for every garden and wildlife lover.  

Workshop — Gardening Gifts

Chilli Grower Workshop for Two



Learning new skills are always exciting. This experience gift will give guests the chance to professionally learn how to grow their own chillis at home.

Bird food tin — Gardening Gifts

Burgon & Ball Enamel Bird Feed Tin, Cream

Burgon & Ball johnlewis.com


This enamel tin is an incredibly stylish way to store bird seeds. We’re certain it will make a well-received gift. 

Peony in a pot — Gardening Gifts

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ | Paeonia lactiflora | 2L Pot

Bring a smile to your friend’s face with this gorgeous peony in a beige pot. With ruffled, pale pink blooms, it’s a surefire way to brighten any garden. 

Fat ball set — Gardening Gifts

Fat Ball Bird Seed Gift Box



This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io [external_footer]