Plants require the right amount of moisture if they are to grow healthy and strong. For this reason, it is important to ensure that your garden always has the proper drainage systems that allow the growing medium to hold the right ratio of water that is necessary for plants.
Water logging in a garden can kill plants and act as safety hazards when areas get flooded. Water remaining in a garden can cause it to become muddy and the soil to compact. This compaction, in turn, acts to prevent drainage, but can also reduce aeration to the roots.
An excess of water is always bad for plants and can lead to the formation of mold and mildew, which can also be unhealthy for the gardener and family members who use the garden for recreation. Spilled water makes it difficult to work in the garden and inconvenient for a gardener. Water will contain nutrients that pests and bugs will find it easy to grow and prosper in. Roots immersed in water will find it difficult to take in the oxygen that they need for their growth.
A well laid out garden needs to have places that can allow water to drain away, and can be ensured by many ways that must be incorporated into any garden design. The 5 garden drainage systems that are commonly adopted by gardeners all over the world are:
Water collection devices
Before you start planting in a garden or do any landscaping, it can always help if you profile your land and make sure that it has the right levels and slopes that will prevent any water from accumulating in it. The water can be from rain, snow melt, watering of plants and even water running off from adjacent plots.
In most geographical areas, there will be natural water bodies that act as drainage for the area and an attempt must be made before starting gardening to see that your garden plot carries away all water that is more than that required by the plants. A good gardener will never allow plants to be over watered, but this is something that can happen when control valves or sprinklers are inadvertently left open.
One easy way of ensuring that your plant beds are adequately drained is to raise them to levels higher than the surrounding so that any excess water will drain off automatically. It can be easily achieved by importing soil to raise the level of the plot. It can also help to ensure that the quality of the soil that you use to grow your plants is of a superior quality if you obtain this from a good nursery.
Dry wells are good to drain gardens that have a low natural water table. It is one of the 5 garden drainage systems that is easy to set up. You need to dig a hole in your garden, preferably at its lowest point to a depth of at least three to four feet. If, during this digging, you find that you have already reached underground water, this system may not be the right one for your garden.
If your pit or hole that you have dug is dry, it becomes ideal for your garden drainage. The pit must then be filled with stones or sand or a mixture of the two. This collection of material acts to retain any excess water from your garden, while it gets slowly absorbed by the soil around it. You will need to ensure that all the plots in your garden drain naturally towards this dry pit so that the drainage system works perfectly.
French drains are a system of underground pipes or channels laid below your garden surface. The pipes can have perforations, or in many cases, instead of pipes, the trench made for the drainage can be filled up with stones or gravel to act as a natural conduit for water. This system of drainage can be useful on sites that have a high water table. It is important that the pipes or conduits thus created are led to a point outside the plot that connects to natural drainage, so that any excess water from the garden plot is carried away.
Water collection devices are drains, gutters and other built structures that can carry away any excess water from a plot and lead it to sewers or other natural drainage channels. You will find such water collection devices quite common in properties and they are located by the side of driveways, which also functions to take water from roof gutters. The design of such a system for effective water drainage must be such that it can take what is expected to be the peak flow. The drains must be properly sloped to carry away the water, which must never be allowed to accumulate.
Before you start laying out a garden it can help if you conduct some small experiments to determine whether your garden plot has the right amount of drainage. Make a shallow pit in your garden and add some water to it. It should drain away in reasonable time. If it does not, than you have a problem that needs to be tackled before you start any planting activities. Use any of the 5 garden drainage systems outlined above and make sure that you also maintain them in perpetuity.