water logged lawn

Hi I have recently been to see a customer who lives in a relatively new estate less than 10 years old. His rear garden is literally a swap more or less, there is grass there but it is so wet that you sink when walking he's had this problem since moving in 8 years ago and is finally sick and wants a solution.The garden is approximately 35m hes after a solution to the water logging then returfing.What are people's suggestions on this the whole area is the same not just a patch or strip so my thinking is possibily remove all turf dig down to a depth of say 8-12 inches then bring in hardcore to act as a soak away then soils and returf but I'm unsure on whether or not this would work or be alot of money for a not so big reward in a sense.Thanks Adam

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  • PRO

    Morning Adam

    without seeing the garden and its relationship to the surrounding area i.e. is it the lowest garden and thus taking all the run off from surrounding gardens it is difficult to say exactly what to do.

    A lot of developers tend to clear the building sites of existing soil before building then just spread a layer of low quality soil over compacted ground before selling the properties. This causes a mechanical pan which will break down eventually but takes a long time.

    The best thing to do would be to dig some trial holes to see what the conditions are below, you may well see a line of black rancid soil - this is the pan that needs to be broken.

    On a small garden it is probably easier to use a micro excavator to rip through it then get a load of organic compost into the soil to build it up again.

    hope that helps


    • PRO

      Would agree. Do you know the typical soil type for the area - would it indicate a clay based soil ?

      We work a lot on new builds and you're likely to find a layer of backfilled subsoil to make levels and then probably the thinnest layer of reasonable soil applied on top, compacted and then turfed etc. It's fair to assume a pan now exists and trial holes would prove/disprove. This would also tell you if rotavating in OM /soil conditionaner would work, or as suggsested, you need to go deeper with a micro digger and ripper.

      The initial landscaping is sufficient for short terms gains (ie to get the properties sold etc).

      Also they tend to have small(er) gardens, surrounded by 6ft closeboard fences and thus have their own microclimate with little draught and minimal Sun at this time of year - all reasons for a damp/wet environment.

      • Hi yes the garden is the last 1 on the slope if you like which then had a gap board fence and a council owned area of shrubs the other side of the fence which is also on a slope so could be channeled that way.
        The only thing with trial holes is would a potential customer be happy with me making trial holes and stuff before any pricing has been given or can be worked out if that makes sense. Would the hardcore idea be abit over exaggerated in a sense that if I can break the layer of rancid soil that could be the easier solution to the issue.
        The help is much appreciated thanks
  • Currently working on a new build site by millers homes the soil they have put back on is full of clay won't break down the site had terrible drainage. All gardens slope towards the houses next door neighbours which millers have turfed All the water ran off to back of house Friday and left about 2-3 inch moat.
    If the customer has lived with it for 10 years I'd suggest money won't be the big factor more likely getting the use back of his garden. Luckily in this garden they have built a soak away already ie the big black rings sunk down together however the soak pipe that comes into it is about 3ft below crap soil level haha. Also this site has a Radeon barrier which is another issue. The soak away black rings go below that luckily.
    Can you get some pictures would help to
    • What I'll do is call back over take some pictures speak with the customer about pilot holes and post the pics up see what you guys think but he says it only drys up by maybe July time and then only until September time when it starts to get damp again it's a tough 1 for him as he wants his lawn but in the same respect it's not going to be a cheap job in my opinion as it's going to take time and materials which may or may not be the telling factor also the other thing is that whatever is done needs to be a lasting solution not a short term in a sense thanks
  • PRO Supplier

    Hi adam,

    I think you have to explain to the customer without test digging the quote could well be inaccurate and any work done without testing first could be much more expensive than it needs to be. Besides, if you are careful test holes (done in drier conditions) should not show up once put back into place.

    Personally i think adding a layer of hardcore would compound the problem and turn topsoil and turf into a moveable soup. Secret lies in improving the drainage given the slope you have and 'directing' water the least damaging way past the property (ie, downwards and towards the scrub land. Slotted land drains could be relatively cheap & quick whilst breaking any pan.


    • OK that makes good sense so the idea of hardcore underneath would be a bad idea then in the circumstances that's fine it was just an idea I thought could have possibly worked as with gravelled drives and stuff in tends to work thanks for your advice
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