Search our Archive


Green Fingers: Use French drains to dry your garden

Green Fingers: Use French drains to dry your garden

French drains are a great way of drying out wet areas

THE weather certainly is wet these days and is forecast only to get wetter. There are some parts of our garden that tend to get wet this time of year.

This situation usually resolves itself once we get into late winter and early spring. There is also a lower lying field beyond ours which is, I presume, a turlough lake.

This is a lake that fills with water in wet weather but empties when the weather gets dry. I have seen it fill up to about four or five feet of water only for it to become relatively dry again in the summer. This turlough lake was actually one of the reasons that attracted us to buying the house in the first place.

When we came to view the house there were around a dozen swans making their home in the temporary lake.

Garden Drainage

Since being in the house we have had some drains put in. In addition, I have placed some French Drains in wet parts of the garden. French drains are a great way of drying out wet areas. Firstly, you need to dig a trench. The trench needs to slope from one side to the other.

The deeper end of the drain needs to lead to a ditch or culvert. You will then need to place large gravel into the bottom of the trench. On top of this you need to lay drainage piping.

Historically these pipes would have been made of clay. These days they are made of plastic- perforated and corrugated plastic to be exact.

Once the plastic drain pipe is in place, you then place smaller gravel around and over the pipe to bring it up to ground level. If you wish you can place grass sod back on top of the gravel.

As we uncover more in our garden we have realised that there is a low wet area on the site. We are toying with the idea of turning some part of this area into a kind of pond.

This area would then increase the wildlife diversity within the garden. I have noticed that we have very few slugs and snails in our garden. It is no coincidence that we often find Frogs while doing gardening jobs.

It would be hoped that by providing an on-site pond we would increase our frog numbers - and frogs most favourite food are slugs.

There are also other insects and mammals that will be attracted by a pond. These will all be beneficial for increasing bio-diversity.

If you find that you have a damp or even sometimes wet area of the garden there is no need to fret. There are plants and flowers that actually like wet conditions. All types of Primula like wet conditions as well as: Astilbe, Trollius, Gunnera, Rodgersia and Zantedeschia- or St. Anthony lilies as they are known.

Contact James

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.