Ensuring Proper Drainage

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated October 24, 2016)

Everyone knows that irrigating your garden is a necessity. Without proper irrigation, your plants can quickly find themselves either dying of thirst, or drowning due to over watering. One of the most commonly overlooked elements of watering and irrigating the garden is ensuring proper drainage. While ensuring that your garden has proper drainage can quickly overwhelm most people, there are a few simple things that you can do to fix your drainage problems.

  • Check drainage. There is a very simple test that you can use to tell whether you have proper drainage in your garden area or not. For this test, you will need to get a shovel, and a bucket full of water. Dig a whole that is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep, and roughly the same across. Fill this hole until it has between 9 and 12 inches of water in it, and then sit back and watch. If the hole has completely drained within 24 hours, then you have great drainage and don't really need to worry about anything. If the water drains between 24 and 72 hours, then you have what is called moderate drainage, and is OK for most plants. However, keep a close eye on your plants to ensure that they don't get over watered. If your hole takes anything over 72 hours to drain, you have a problem with your garden drainage and will need to fix it.
  • Direction of flow. When checking your garden for drainage, make sure that you also take note of the direction the water flows. You do not want any water to flow towards your home, or any other structures that may be around since this can lead to expensive problems for that structure.
  • Increase drainage. If you have soil that has a high content of clay, or you have other kinds of related drainage problems, then you will need to increase the amount of drainage that your garden has. The easiest way to do this is to replace the top two feet or so of your natural soil with high quality top soil. However, if this is not something that is possible, then look into the use of drainage pipes for your garden.
  • Decrease drainage. In the rare instance that you need to decrease the drainage in your garden, then take some clay, or some other less permeable form of soil. Mix this in with your existing soil to a depth of about two feet, being sure to evenly distribute the mixture.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


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