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Drainage & Downpours

As a kid puddles are fun to jump over. But as an adult puddles in front of the home entry are problems that needs to be remedied.


Storms during summer will bring torrential rainfall that will either escape down storm water drains, percolate into the subsoil, or pool around the home to form puddles, ponds and quagmires.


Poorly drained soils may also result in plant death.


Drainage can be installed in a garden to avoid puddles and to reduce chances of plant death.


Drainage is also essential if you have recently built or renovated your home and the natural soil contour has been altered. Legally you may be responsible for any alteration or change to the natural water flow that causes damage to your neighbour’s property.


Drainage can take two forms: surface or subsurface.


Surface drainage collects and redirects excess water that is on the ground’s surface. It is often used to catch rainfall before it causes damage and redirects it elsewhere. Spoon drains are shallow channels usually made of concrete and can be installed around the garden to redirect this excess water to other parts of the garden or to inlets for subsoil drainage systems.


Large paved or concreted entertainment areas normally incorporate spoon drains covered by a small grill. This water is usually redirected to the stormwater drain system.


In contrast subsurface drainage systems are buried under the soil surface. They are best installed at the development stage of a landscape but can be installed in established gardens.  Subsurface drainage are commonly used in grassed areas and are essential behind all retainer walls. Specially designed perforated drainage pipes are used to collect and move excess water away. Trenches must have a slight angle in order for the water to flow in one direction towards an outlet system.

Subsurface drainage systems often use special geotextile fabrics around the pipes to prevent fine soil particles from blocking the drains.


It is recommended that professionals install drainage systems to ensure the job is done right. Poorly designed or installed, a bad drainage system may block up, direct water to the wrong outlet system, or may not be sufficient for its duty.


When considering installing retainer walls, irrigation systems or even consulting with a landscape designer, ask if a drainage system is needed. Money spent at this stage may result in better use of your entertainment areas and garden after heavy summer downpours.

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