Our back garden in Mytholmroyd has heavy clay soil that was causing standing water after heavy rainfall.
To solve this problem we built raised beds and installed a permeable gravel path in 2019
We wanted to create a lovely garden where plants would thrive and, at the same time, make a garden that would help to alleviate problems caused by storm water run-off. It was a complete redesign;
The remains of structures left by the previous owners were removed; the lawns were dug up, these were more moss than grass due to the clay soil and drainage problems;gravel paths were laid; a patio built; replaced a section of dead hedge and stocking with plants.
A local builder removed the old structures and dug out a layer of the
worst clay. A joiner made large raised beds 30cm high from untreated oak
sleepers and 4 lower beds (15cm high) for vegetable growing. The builder
then laid a layer of non-compacted hardcore with decorative gravel on
top, which formed the paths. Bought-in top soil filled the beds.
Benefits and constraints: The beds mean the plants aren’t sat in
standing water. We’ve increased the mass of soil which can absorb water
and the gravel paths allow water to soak into the ground, both mean
water doesn’t run straight off into the drains. The plants also help to
prevent soil erosion (another big problem caused by heavy rainfall)
because the top growth protects the soil and the roots hold the soil
together. In the first year we noticed lots of bees, butterflies, other
insects and birds. We also have space to grow some vegetables.
Further opportunities: We couldn’t build raised beds at the back of the
garden due to mature plants already growing there and we still have
drainage problems here. We’ll need to mulch with composted bark once or
twice a year to improve the structure of the soil. Adding more plants
there will also help with the uptake of water. We also plan to put a
green roof on the log store this spring, and if funds allow and the
structure can cope we’d like to add a green roof to the garage at some
The whole garden redesign cost approximately £8,000, but this did include lots of other work such as replacing a damaged fence, removing dead leylandii and a tree surgeon. And by designing and managing it ourselves it was less than half what we were quoted by
designers and landscapers.
Myself and my husband came up with the design and employed a local
a builder and joiner.