Bad Draining Lawn

How to fix a badly draining artificial grass lawn

We frequently get asked for help from customers on how to sort out their badly draining artificial grass lawn

The solution can sometimes be as simple as making sure good groundworks are installed which will allow water to naturally flow away. On other occasions we have installed a simple soakaway to help the lawn drain. Sometimes the drainage issues can be quite complicated and a specialist is needed to help to fix the problem. Here I am going to share with you how we were able to fix the problem of having an underground spring running through a back garden.

The customer was in the process of completely redesigning their back garden. They had recently renovated an old patio at the top end of the garden and a brand new patio area had been built at the bottom. In the process they had removed some shrubs and other fauna and reshaped some of the garden.

We were asked along to complete the garden by laying the artificial grass. On inspection we noticed the area between the patios was boggy but we thought a soakaway filled with rubble would solve this.

When we arrived on site to start work there had been heavy rain overnight and there was a lot of surface water in one area where the patios were close together.

We found that the more we dug in this area the more it filled with water. After talking to the neighbours we found out there was a natural underground spring running through both gardens, which had been made worse by the removal of shrubs and the new patio at the back of the garden.

We discussed the drainage situation with the customer and said that before installing our groundworks the drainage problem needed fixing. If it wasn’t their new artificial grass lawn would too become flooded as there was nowhere for the excess water to go.

The owner got a drainage expert in who installed a perforated pipe 5 foot down, which emptied into a large sunken tank. The tank would have to be emptied using a powerful pump when the water table was high so the top needed to be accessible.

Large sunken tank and perforated pipe fitted

Sunken tank fitted in boggy lawn

Following the installation on the new sunken tank the area was left for 4 weeks to make sure the drainage problem was fixed. To the delight of the owner it was.

We could now begin the installation of the artificial grass. First we put in the groundworks adding extra Type 1 Aggregates around the new drains leaving an area for a hatch around the tank.

Groundworks underway now the new drainage system installed

Start of artificial grass groundworks

Groundworks completed with extra type 1 around the drains

Finished groundworks

New drainage system installed along with an artificial grass lawn

How to fix badly draining artificial turf lawn

We made sure the grass could easily be lifted (using small headed nails in our nail gun) in case of any sinkage around the new pipe and tank.

The result a beautiful “dry’ new lawn which will continue to look good for many years to come.


  1. Hi Gavin

    Unfortunately we appear to have hired a real cowboy company to work on creating a children’s playground in our garden. The faults are innumerable and include badly installed artificial grass. It was installed in Sept 2017. Seams have always been bad, grass is not level but worst of all it’s now very damp.
    If you lie on a blanket on the grass you get damp – and it hasn’t rained for over a week. It also smells very damp and musty. On lifting an edge I can see mould growing on the underside.
    This of course is not healthy for the children to play on.
    Our land does have several underground streams lying beneath it and the contractors were aware of this but appear to have not done any drainage work.
    Is there any way the grass and playground can be saved or is it best to start again?
    It was very expensive but I can’t see us getting any joy out of contacting the contractors as they obviously just didn’t know what they were doing.
    Please can you offer your advice?
    Kindest regards

    • Hi there,Im very sorry to hear of your bad experience .
      The first question we ask is about the drainage , as we too have come across underground springs . Unfortunately these are a real headache and I always refer the customer on to specialist drainage companies.
      Sorry to say, that once a lawn has been badly laid, it all needs to come out and be skipped ,before starting again.
      There is no point in re-appointing someone to lay the lawn, until the underlying issues are rectified. This is a job of a drainage specialist company not your local landscaper .
      Once this issue is resolved you can consider the grass again, however it may be clever to install extra measures . Don’t forget the area will need to be dug out, to have the drainage issue resolved , so instead of refilling with the original soil , I would suggest filling the area up with stone ie type 3 . This will be an expensive job I am sorry to say , however unless this is rectified you are wasting your money trying to do anything with the area.regards

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. What you have said makes perfect sense and so I’ll seek out a specialist drainage company.
        Sadly this will mean a summer minus the playground plus a ton of money – but better that than my precious granddaughters getting ill from the mould spores.
        My sincere thanks once again for your informative message and your advice – they are appreciated immensely.
        Kind regards

        • Hi no worries and I hope you get it sorted. I would get the drainage company round before you skip the grass, they maybe able to put some drains in and then refit grass after it has had a pressure wash and dried.
          Good Luck.

          • Thank you, you are so generous with your advice. Thank you for making the world nicer!

  2. Hi Gavin, having just read this and another blog you do you reconmend digging over about 6 inch of the soil. In heavy clay and bad drainage areas before laying membrane etc. Now this may be a silly question which I apologise before hand. But once the soil has been dug or rotivated do you recommend rolling the soil? I am just concerned if I do will it not cause the same problem. I ask because I am about to attempt my garden. Cheers.

    • Hi there, yes that’s correct, if the soil is heavy clay and has bad drainage go down deeper. Do not do anything to the soil as long as it is firm you are ready to start building it up.
      Membrane , then Type 1 …..good luck.

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