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Installing The Right Drainage For Your Garden

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If it's correctly designed and installed, you may not notice a drainage system, but it's there playing a vital role in your garden. Read on to learn more about drainage and why it's important to install the right drainage systems in your garden.

Diagnosing Drainage Problems

Poor drainage creates a range of problems for gardeners . You can often see the consequences of poor drainage:

A boggy or water-logged lawn has a draiinage problem Plants that wither or die after rains may be drowning in excess water Poor drainage can undermine your foundation by eroding the soil If roof guttering isn't doing its job properly, it can create a number of problems Silt and clay on the soil surface creates mud and prevents proper drainage

Making provisions for proper drainage is essential if you have recently built or renovated your home and the natural contours of the soil have been altered. Legally, you may be responsible for any alteration or change to the natural flow of water that causes damage to your neighbour?s property.

To check how well your soil drains, dig a hole that is 30cm by 30cm by 60cm. Half fill it with water. If you have good drainage, the hole should be empty within a day. If you have a severe drainage problem, the hole will actually contain more water.

Types of Garden Drainage

There are two basic type of drainage for the garden: surface and subsurface. Surface drainage, as the name implies, collects and redirects the excess water that is on the surface of the ground. It is used to catch rainfall before it causes damage and direct it elsewhere. Some common types of surface drainage include:

Spoon drains are shallow channels that are usually made from concrete that can be installed around the garden to redirect this excess water to other parts of the garden or to inlets for subsoil drainage systems A bioswale is a vegetated ditch that captures water run-off and directs it in a controlled manner A rain garden is a vegetated area below ground level. It can capture excessive rainwater runoff and help prevent erosion.

Bioswales and rain gardens are ideal for sloping blocks of land where surface water runoff can create problems. If you have a large driveway or other paved surface, consider installing permeable paving . This type of paving absorbs water and significantly reduces water runoff.

Subsurface drainage systems are buried beneath the surface of the soil. Ideally a landscaper would install this type of system in the early stages of landscaping. However, they can be installed in existing gardens. Subsurface drainage is often used in grassed areas and must be used behind all retaining walls . Specially designed pipes are used to collect and move the excess water away. Trenches need to have a slight angle in order for the water to flow in one direction towards an outlet system. Subsurface drainage systems commonly use geotextile fabrics around the pipes in order to stop soil and other particles from blocking the drains.

It is a good idea to have a professional such as a plumber or a landscaper to install a drainage system to ensure that it is laid out correctly. If it is badly designed or installed, the system may block up, direct water to the wrong outlet system, or be insufficient."

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