The need for good drainage

posted in: Living in Yorkshire, Water | 0

The last two days have been awful. It has rained none stop which leads me to contemplate the need for good drainage particularly as our garden is inadequate in that department. This is not through our doing, it appears to always have been the case here. We have spent a lot of time clearing the garden over a number of years as when we moved here it was impenetrable. But…before we even contemplate going any further the garden seriously needs improved drainage and the water managing, particularly if any plants put in are to stand a chance of surviving. All the more crucial if the winters we are to endure are about excess water.


Inadequate drainage
Excessive water


As the picture above show the back of the house has an issue with water accumulation. The two down pipes take excess water from the roof but into what? There are drains there but further inspection shows they are either clogged up with mud or they are not drains at all and just have a cover over them. Another issue is that the ground here is lower than the rest of the garden so the water has a tendency to run to the lowest point which as you can see is towards the house. Either way run of needs to be directed away from the house and the fake drains need to have soak aways put in to also take the water away from the house.


Excess water
Flooded boundary


The boundary of the garden has an issue in that where the fence is there is a ridge so the water gets trapped our side of the fence creating water logging. Drainage along the fence would be beneficial by also putting in a soak away to allow the water to drain away into the surrounding land.

A good way of tackling drainage problems is to look at suDs or sustainable urban drainage. This involves looking at water and managing run off in a number of ways including flood routing and urban channalised water. Lots of design practices now incorporate suDs into design plans and manage water by including Swales or wetlands and the like, if land allows of course, as can be seen here at the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.

Water management
Attractive Swale

suDs is complex and about managing water in a variety of ways through,

  • Source control
  • Swales & conveyance channels
  • Filtration
  • Infiltration
  • Retention & detention
  • Wetlands
  • Inlets, outlets & control structures

It is well worth learning about particularly if your property is on low lying land. We live in the bottom of an ancient lake after all and in light of our increasingly wet winters it’s a must for anybody like ourselves who have an issue with drainage.

You can find more information about suDs at http://www.susdrain.org

One of the key or immediate things we can do to improve our drainage issues is to control the water at source. This can be as simple for us as rainwater harvesting by installing water butts and improving the ground level and drains. Once these have been sorted out if water is still a problem it is then time to consider other things such as a Swale or some type of retention system.

One thing at a time though and if it would only stop raining long enough I might be able to get outside and try and tackle it.

Follow Fiona:

Landscape / planting designer

My partner and I run a design led garden and landscape business situated in the beautiful Ryedale countryside of North Yorkshire. I have loved art and design all my life and studied this for several years culminating in a ceramics degree from UWIC university in Cardiff. I have interests in many things and over the years have developed a love of plants. So...I decided to combine these two passions and as a result I am now studying a degree in Garden Art and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University.

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