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Stay off the grass....? ideas for waterlogged lawns

walking and cycling on a very wet muddy path
Great weather for ducks

A question I am hearing a lot at the moment is, “what can I do about my water-logged lawn?

For some of you, the reality is it really is just a few days or weeks and the water will drain away soon, but for many (especially those on clay soils), this is an annual challenge that gets you down, and may prevent you from enjoying your garden for at least a third of the year.

So, here are a few ideas for dealing with that depressing wet grass (from me as a designer, and a gardener, who lives in wet-clay zone):

In my experience, the best options are often to avoid fighting a 'problem' head on, and to work with it and adapt to it:

1. Walk-around: Create stepping stones across the lawn (e.g., to one side), so you can still access the key areas of your garden, such as patios, driveways and sheds, and use these spaces in winter/ wet weather, without damaging your lawn and making it worse.

stepping stone paths can be a great design feature in a garden, as well as practical
Stepping stone paths can be a great design feature in a garden, as well as practical

2. Quick recovery: In later spring, consider helping you lawn to recover with some seasonal maintenance - improve the drainage (and health) of the current lawn by aerating it (punching

holes through) - either with a fork, or a mechanical lawn aerator and then applying a top dressing (mixture of sand and fine soil). Or, better still, have an expert lawn care companies do this for you.

Get creative:

3. Take a different path: Swap your tired wet lawn for a planted area, with raised pathways running through. A lovely lush space, that takes you away to another place. Perhaps with a tranquil seat or two tucked in along the way to escape to.

Pathways can be constructed with paving, but there are other, lower-impact options: woodchips or stone chippings, or simply constructed, boardwalks made with sleepers and scaffold boards – raising you above the water and creating a real sense of adventure

The added bonus is, no need to mow this area every week – which means enjoying more time in that seat relaxing amongst the flowers.

4. Give the water a new place to go to: Create a small seasonal pond/ river-bed style feature, so the water has somewhere to drain to when it is wet, helping the wider garden area to stay dry, (also known as a ‘rain-garden’ or ‘storm-garden’). These can be planted with plants that tolerate standing in water*, and can create a beautiful (and fun) garden feature.

*look out for my top resilient, damp and dry tolerant plants.

The head-on tackle approach:

5. The engineering option: if the perfect lawn is still what your heart desires most, you can have a series of drainage channels (French drains, Slit drainage) installed under your lawn, to (hopefully) carry water out and away. This is very invasive however, and is best installed by lawn-expert landscapers, who can ensure the solution is built to last – so tends to be used in spaces where a classically styled and usable grass surface is absolutely essential in every season – Cricket and then tea on the lawn anyone?

Hopefully that's given you some ideas, and food-for-thought; and, Remember - this (wet) season will soon pass.

If you're still not sure where to start with making your garden your favourite place, why not get in touch, or simply subscribe for more ideas and updates.

For a free discovery call about your garden and landscape vision, or to book a one-off consultation/ advice visit for your garden, get in touch:

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