nightmare garden drainage problem, 2 weeks off work to solve

33 replies
Found 8th Nov 2016
Hi all, was hoping for some tips with what to do with my garden. I have two weeks off work and want to do something major myself to try and sort it out. I live on an area with clay soil so the drainage is terrible, my neighbours out the back and to both sides have full or partial patios/ gravel areas. I have mostly grass which is terrible in the winter . The ground is now fairly compacted and there is large puddles everywhere.
I have a patio area as you walk out then it's grass with another area at the back with concrete sleepers. I toyed with the idea last year of creating a herringbone drainage system running into a drain near the back of the house but changed my mind as I didn't want to bring all the water towards the house. Anyway then the weather got warm and all was forgotten. Now it's terrible again and annoys me every time I look out of the window.

I have a couple of ideas. First one being , use a post digging spade and dig large holes around 10-15 inches deep and 6inches wide all around the garden, and fill these with first with sharp sand and then gravel.

Secondly I was considering digging an area all the way down where my fence is to the right 1 metre wide and filling all the way down with gravel.

One other thing I have considered is just a sort of soak away running to the bottom of the garden with a giant hole filled with gravel.

Any ideas people

32 Comments

How deep is the soil before it hits clay?

Would you be willing to rip all the soil and grass up?

Original Poster

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v373/harker2002/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG0211.jpg

Original Poster

In

krisward7955

How deep is the soil before it hits clay? Would you be willing to rip all … How deep is the soil before it hits clay? Would you be willing to rip all the soil and grass up?


I will dig a test hole and update asap. I have two weeks only not sure if that would be sufficient time but yes I would be willing to do this if I thought I could do these job on time, electric tools would be a must presumably?

The holes could work. As the flooding is patchy.

Long arm spade and doubles would work.

The long arm spade is very Heavy, 6ft long and will cut through the clay pretty easy.

The doubles are I think what you called hole digging spades. Great for soft dry mud, but not so good with wet mud or clay.

soak away won't work effectively if its clay, herringbone is the way to go, if your worried about the water running towards the house have a main drainline along the slabs or block, top with decorative chips. Put a silt trap at end of mainline before tying into rainwater system. should be doable in two weeks

Your neighbors will have the same problem either your solution will solve it for them or - raise your garden - like a prem football pitch- dont go down go up!

Go into the drain with proper drainage..

Any soakaway type thing depends on being able to get water away under the clay - you'd need to know what the local water table does and you still have issues with the soakaway clogging or just filling - especially if neighbours land might then drain into yours.

Original Poster

mas99

Go into the drain with proper drainage..Any soakaway type thing depends … Go into the drain with proper drainage..Any soakaway type thing depends on being able to get water away under the clay - you'd need to know what the local water table does and you still have issues with the soakaway clogging or just filling - especially if neighbours land might then drain into yours.


The water table is high in the winter, actually last year we had water under the floorboards caused by a high water. The neighbours out the back have their garden completely covered in gravel, to the side have their completely covered in paving and the other side has half gravel and half grass., their grass is not waterlogged. I think most neighbours in the area have gravel . Oh apparently there used to be a beck which ran out the back of the house somewhere.

Original Poster

RabS1

soak away won't work effectively if its clay, herringbone is the way to … soak away won't work effectively if its clay, herringbone is the way to go, if your worried about the water running towards the house have a main drainline along the slabs or block, top with decorative chips. Put a silt trap at end of mainline before tying into rainwater system. should be doable in two weeks


I will do some research into a herringbone. Two weeks sounds like a tight schedule with no plans or materials.

mart321

The water table is high in the winter, actually last year we had water … The water table is high in the winter, actually last year we had water under the floorboards caused by a high water. The neighbours out the back have their garden completely covered in gravel, to the side have their completely covered in paving and the other side has half gravel and half grass., their grass is not waterlogged. I think most neighbours in the area have gravel . Oh apparently there used to be a beck which ran out the back of the house somewhere.


If you have water under your floor boards then one of your neighbours has filled in a drainage ditch they weren't supposed to. I doubt this is a modern issue and more likely something that has delevoped over time due to someone messing with the drainage which would of prevented this problem.

My grandad had a similar problem with ducks in his back garden an damp in his home. Turned out someone had filled in a conjoined drainage ditch that meant water was flowing underneath and not around the houses.
Do you have access to historic drainage plans to see if there should be a dyke or drainage ditch near you ?

herringbone with about 2 tails off the mainline would probably do,run both mainline and gravel strip into silt trap make sure put them through wettest part. ideally about 450mm deep but if hand digging 300mm would do

Original Poster

kester76

If you have water under your floor boards then one of your neighbours has … If you have water under your floor boards then one of your neighbours has filled in a drainage ditch they weren't supposed to. I doubt this is a modern issue and more likely something that has delevoped over time due to someone messing with the drainage which would of prevented this problem.My grandad had a similar problem with ducks in his back garden an damp in his home. Turned out someone had filled in a conjoined drainage ditch that meant water was flowing underneath and not around the houses.Do you have access to historic drainage plans to see if there should be a dyke or drainage ditch near you ?


I do not no, how could I get these the next door neighbours have had extensive work done, the previous owner built a garage himself and the current owner extended this garage.

kester76

If you have water under your floor boards then one of your neighbours has … If you have water under your floor boards then one of your neighbours has filled in a drainage ditch they weren't supposed to. I doubt this is a modern issue and more likely something that has delevoped over time due to someone messing with the drainage which would of prevented this problem.My grandad had a similar problem with ducks in his back garden an damp in his home. Turned out someone had filled in a conjoined drainage ditch that meant water was flowing underneath and not around the houses.Do you have access to historic drainage plans to see if there should be a dyke or drainage ditch near you ?



​doubt its anything to do with that and more likely the developer cutting corners, not putting adequate drainage or topsoil

Original Poster

RabS1

​doubt its anything to do with that and more likely the developer cutting … ​doubt its anything to do with that and more likely the developer cutting corners, not putting adequate drainage or topsoil


I had a loss adjuster round last year, he said it was due to un unusually high water table in the area. Saying that though, none of the neighbours had water under the floorboards, just us...

Original Poster

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v373/harker2002/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG0214.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v373/harker2002/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG0215.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v373/harker2002/Mobile%20Uploads/IMAG0217.jpg



what about decking or u don't like it

mart321

I had a loss adjuster round last year, he said it was due to un unusually … I had a loss adjuster round last year, he said it was due to un unusually high water table in the area. Saying that though, none of the neighbours had water under the floorboards, just us...



​high water table but your the only one affected, doubt it. does this only happen when it rains?

I call bull on the water table. I doubt that it suddenly happened overnight and was never a problem in the past, there would of been a way to manage this issue unless this has been a problem since the estate was built. Most land is drained and any streams etc diverted. There's no way having surface water in your home is normal. Having a soggy garden is one thing but having water under your floorboards is pretty major.

My garden had this problem. Took the top layer off. It contained a lot of clay. Filled a skip with it and then put 2 tonnes of grit sand on it. Rolled it over and then put fake grass on it. Doesn't have any problems now

Original Poster

RabS1

​high water table but your the only one affected, doubt it. does this o … ​high water table but your the only one affected, doubt it. does this only happen when it rains?



been in the house for 4 years and its happened once as far as we know, last year. found out previous owners had completely concreted the surface under the floorboards, should have just clay soil after a 400mm gap under the floorboards as both neighbours is but ours was concrected. i used a wet vacuum to suck it all out and found there was a small hole in the concrete where the water was seeping back in and rising about 3 inches up. i ended up throwing more concrete down and its been dry since then, that was last christmas. the problem actually caused us to have the house completely rewired. we noticed the problem as the electric tripped just after christmas, sparky came found moisture under the board, plumber came, found 3 inches water under house. we have since had it completely rewired (1930s semi which had never been done) with all the cables pinned to the joists as some were previously submerged.

Original Poster

joxeruk2000

My garden had this problem. Took the top layer off. It contained a lot of … My garden had this problem. Took the top layer off. It contained a lot of clay. Filled a skip with it and then put 2 tonnes of grit sand on it. Rolled it over and then put fake grass on it. Doesn't have any problems now


was this something you undertook yourself, if so what machinery did you use?

​that just sounds like you screeded for fake grass glad its worked for doesent mean it will work for op. the proper solution is proper drainage. how much soil do you have op before you get to clay subsoil

why didnt u put proper concrete floors in with insulation in that case u will probably get the same problem again in the future if someone's been messing with the set up of the old.original floor boards it's wants breathable and soil of some sort under the wooden boards or a properly laid concrete floor like modern houses have these days

mart321

was this something you undertook yourself, if so what machinery did you … was this something you undertook yourself, if so what machinery did you use?



Just me and my future father in law. Some shovels and wheel barrows. It was really hard work though. Would of loved a mini digger. We used An old roller filled with water to press the sand down. We were on a budget of about £600. Labour was free. Turf was around half the price cos he knows the supplier and does the odd job with him.

One thing a friend had was a drainage well, fitted with a float actuated pump so that water could be sent to a suitable drain

Original Poster

I've started the work today and it's a back breaker. Spent today digging giant pit, created a path out of an old patio for going back and forth on the grass.

One concern I have is that when I start to dig the trenches the surface water is going to pool at the bottom of the hole making a soup out of the mud. It's going to make it very difficult to dig and neat and uniform trench.

mart321

I've started the work today and it's a back breaker. Spent today digging … I've started the work today and it's a back breaker. Spent today digging giant pit, created a path out of an old patio for going back and forth on the grass.One concern I have is that when I start to dig the trenches the surface water is going to pool at the bottom of the hole making a soup out of the mud. It's going to make it very difficult to dig and neat and uniform trench.


Are you digging trenches at either side of your garden? I see you have drainage on the back of your house. Is it not possible to build a soakaway to this very drain using a silt filter.

Original Poster

bigweapon07

Are you digging trenches at either side of your garden? I see you have … Are you digging trenches at either side of your garden? I see you have drainage on the back of your house. Is it not possible to build a soakaway to this very drain using a silt filter.


Planning on digging one through the centre of the garden with 2 more either side coming off at 45 degress like a herringbone. TBH I don't really want to direct any water toward the house, because of previous problems with water under the house. The waste pipe has previously burst which runs along the back and ended under the floor and the public drain has blocked causing the same thing. Both years ago before i lived here, thankfully.

​me personally i would put a drain alongside the patio then tie it into rainwater system. are you going to use teram, and wavin coil?

Banned

OMG that is awful. Best of luck.

If money was no object I would get a mini-digger in if you can get one to your back garden. Rip it all up & fill it all in with hardcore (not gravel. Hardcore would hold more water) & a top layer of sand & link it into your rainwater drainage.

Do you know how deep the clay level is?

You can get mini-diggers that are small enough to fit through doors & will save you a hell of a lot of time.
Edited by: "YouDontWantToKnow" 11th Nov 2016

Did you manage to sort out the drainage? Our garden is terrible and I'm in need of some ideas

Original Poster

bettz1

Did you manage to sort out the drainage? Our garden is terrible and I'm … Did you manage to sort out the drainage? Our garden is terrible and I'm in need of some ideas


Not yet no, waiting until the summer and me and brother in laws going to tackle it. Had a lot of quotes some over £18k which is ridiculous. We have taken the suggestions given by these firms and were going to do it ourselves. We plan on putting two land drains leading back to the house and breaking into the drainage pipe which runs across the back of the house, the. Completely landscaping the garden with decking and astroturf
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