Why is it important to know how to improve drainage in your garden? Well, imagine having a garden that is absolutely stunning.

When the sun shines, the rays glide over every plant and grace each vegetable, fruit, and flower with a hint of sparkle. Just enough to appear as though nature is taking its own personal photos of your garden.

Now imagine that background after heavy rainfall where there isn’t a proper drainage system in place. Not so glamorous anymore huh?

There would be much, yuck, and pools of mud settling around your garden and wet spots in the grass. The rainy season is dreaded by many gardeners who had no choice but to watch their beautiful garden turn into a swamp.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help you fix that before the second flash ever becomes reality. With an effective draining technique, you’ll be able to avoid all the negative long-term effects of heavy rains which is a necessity for growing healthy plants.

With these gardening tips, you’ll be able to improve the drainage of your garden in no time.

Also, see, Fruits To Grow In Raised Bed and Vegetables For Raised Bed Gardens

Man watering vegetable garden in container

See  also Grow A Balcony Vegetable Garden and 10 + Benefits Of Gardening.

8 drainage solutions to try:

If the soil in your garden is too soggy, it can seriously harm your plants and make it hard for them to survive.

Although these options are quite useful, be sure to do as much research as needed before trying any of them at home.

Using any will either fix the problem or improve your drainage system from what it used to be, which is definitely the goal here.

1. Add compost to the soil

Adding compost to the soil in your garden is a great way to improve drainage. The organic matter makes it easier to drain excess water while it absorbs all the necessary nutrients and moisture required to grow healthy plants. Note that this technique works best for gardens that aren’t too large.

Get loads of compost or other organic matter and work 3 to 4 inches of it into the soil to loosen it up and create better air pockets. Sad to say, but doing this once will not fix the problem entirely. The process needs to be repeated at different intervals throughout the years.

Not only is this cheaper, but also worthwhile. On the other hand, if the soil is too soggy and holds a large amount of water you may want to add sand if you do not currently have any or enough compost. 


2. Build a Raised Bed Garden

Sowing plants directly into the ground takes a lot of work. Having a raised bed garden not only gives you the ability to tend to plants easier, but you would never have to worry about a flooded garden.

A bonus to this type of garden structure is it destroys contaminants that could harm your plants, especially for those of you who own an edible garden. After building the raised bed, you can fill it with quality topsoil that allows proper drainage.

Raised beds are often built with timber but there are many other options to get creative with. Some include metal, felled logs, old wine barrels, or even rock walls. The type you choose will not only help with your swampy situation but also enhance the look of the grounds. I can think of up to

10 Reasons Why a Raised Bed Garden is Better than simply sowing inground, but good drainage is at the top of my list.


3. Make a Rain Garden

If the water in your garden is extremely high when rain falls, and nothing you’ve tried seems to work perhaps it’s time to get creative. There are gardens that remain extremely flat and others with a slight slope. Without a slope, it’s difficult for water to run outwards.

So, here’s a tip. Why not create a rain garden? It would bring a beautiful and peaceful aesthetic look to your home. Rain gardens are constructed to catch rainfall and are filled with useful water-loving plants. Ferns, hostas, and mosses are plants that will dry out the shopping areas.

Plants like Bee Balm, New England Aster, Butterfly Weed, and the Leopard Plant are useful but way brighter in color and cheerful. A rain garden usually drains within 24 hours after which you’ll have things back to normal.


4. Expand your Downspout

Did you build your garden directly at the back of your house? If that’s the case then water that runs off your roof is possibly the source of your problem. Often times the gutter is clogged with dried and dead leaves that prevent the water from flowing.

Clear the gutters to prevent water from spilling into the garden creating a mess and beating down on lovely plants. Another quick fix is to create or extend the gutter at the sides of your roof. Expanding the downspout that hangs over your garden, will lead the runoff safely away from the plants.

Be careful when doing this to ensure that you’re not channeling the water to an area to cause more drainage issues. It should be very close to another drainage source like a storm drain.

5. Stop Over Watering

sprinkler system for outside garden

As a true lover of nature, sometimes it may feel as though generously giving plants water several times per week is the best choice. However, too much watering may be the cause of your drainage problem…shocked? Don’t be.

Many plants need water to survive but it’s important to monitor quantity. Watch out for those areas in your garden that hold water for longer periods and cut back as you go.

If you lowered the amount and it drains, perhaps you’ve been way too giving while using your hose or watering can so adjust a little. Getting a sprinkler system is more expensive but useful to prevent this from happening. Besides, it saves you time especially if you have a garden that isn’t quite small.


6. Plant More

Growing more plants is another solution that is inexpensive and effective. The more plants you have in your garden the merrier. Do consider the types of plants you add to your collection as some are intolerant of swampy areas.

Otherwise, you may have to get down dirty to uproot dead plants and that’s not what we’re trying to achieve here. Plants like the turtle head, cardinal flower, and marsh marigold are great choices unlike the Mexican feather grass and Fast-Growing Succulents.


7. Spread Bark Chippings Across the Surface

This may seem very unusual but bark chippings are a great source for absorbing moisture and stopping your garden from holding too much water.

Other great benefits include limiting weed growth which can be tiring, insulating garden beds from cold, and generally creating a different look overall. So if you have wood chips stashed away feel free to use them up to improve drainage.

8. Construct an Underground Drain Tile

Constructing an underground drainage tile is the most expensive drainage technique on this list. There are many things to consider before confirming that this option is best for you.

A few of these include where the water will channel towards, the depth of the tile, and the slope. It’s best to have this close to a drain tile outlet and a professional would be best suited for the job. If you’d like to tackle this project on your own here are some steps to guide you.

You’ll need a shovel, topsoil, gravel, and a ridged drainage tile. The first step is to dig a trench that leads to the water let-out area. The required depth for the trench is usually 18 to 20 inches and should have a slope to allow the water to flow freely to the drainage area. Ensure the trench is wider than the pipe that you plan to install.

The second step is to pour and spread the gravel in the trench just before placing the tile on top. The third step is to protect the pipe with a few more inches of gravel to prevent the dirt from clogging the openings. Finally, cover the trench with topsoil and your project is complete.

irrigation system for outside garden

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I hope these techniques are useful to your drainage situation. Remember to do added research before rushing in to make any changes. For persons who have a more severe drainage situation, getting a professional to help is strongly advised.

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