Wellington boots in puddle

How do you fix a waterlogged garden?

Anyone who’s lived in Britain for more than a few days will know that the weather here can be extremely changeable. One minute it’s sunny and warm, the next minute it’s cold and raining. This is because the British Isles are situated on the edge of a large ocean, which means that we get a lot of moisture in the air.

This can make for some very wet weather, especially in the winter months. However, there are some benefits to all this rain. For one thing, it helps to keep the countryside green and lush. It also means that we don’t have to worry about drought, which is a major problem in other parts of the world.

So although it’s not always pleasant to be caught in a downpour, there are some silver linings to Britain’s wet weather!

There are also downsides.

The great British weather means that getting a waterlogged garden is sometimes, sadly, quite unavoidable.

A waterlogged garden is often simply a waiting game until the water has been absorbed or has drained away. But there are some things you can do to your garden to help mitigate water-logging from even the most heaviest of rainfalls.

Why does my garden get waterlogged

First up, let’s take a look into why a garden might get waterlogged.

A waterlogged lawn is often caused when clay-like or dense and compacted soil is subjected to long periods of heavy rain. The rainwater sits on the lawn and fails to drain away which leaves you with a waterlogged area. Poor drainage is another reason why a garden might get waterlogged during bouts of heavy rain.

What does waterlogged soil look like?

Without sounding too obvious, if your lawn is covered, or partly-covered with water, it’s safe to say it’s waterlogged. But, even if you can’t see the water, there are a few tell-tale signs to look our for to so if there is a water issue. 

  • If your lawn is squelchy under foot, you can be sure that there is a lot of water in your soil. 
  • Areas of yellow grass mean that the grass is dying which could be because water is stopping the roots from getting enough oxygen.
  • If there are patches of moss on your lawn, that also can mean that there is a lot of water present. 

How do I save waterlogged plants in my garden?

Not many plants can survive a waterlogged garden. If they are sitting in water that isn’t draining away over a long period, they will be starved of oxygen and will die. Here are a few things you can do to help save any waterlogged plants you have in your garden:

  • Snip off any dying or damaged shoots or leaves. 
  • Make sure you still water your plants once the water has drained away. It might seem to make sense to leave them for a while after being waterlogged, but if there is a dry spell, they will still need some watering.
  • Create drainage around the planted areas so water can more easily drain away.
  • Consider planting your plants in raised beds.

Can a garden get too much water?

If you don’t do anything to help with drainage, your garden can get too much water which can affect your plants, your lawn, and let’s not forget, your enjoyment of your garden as well.

How long does waterlogged soil take to dry?

This is hard to give a definitive answer to. It can depend on all sorts of factors, including the soil that is used, if there is any drainage, the heaviness of the rainfall, or how long it has been raining for.

If you have a waterlogged garden, sometimes the only thing you can do is wait it out until the weather has picked up and the water has eventually drained away.

How do you fix a waterlogged garden?

So, let’s now look at the things you can actually do to help fix a waterlogged garden:


Aeration is when you spike your lawn with a garden fork or by using special aerator shoes. Spiking a lawn helps to separate the soil, so it doesn’t get too compacted, and can improve the conditions for the grass roots to grow. Aerating in the summer and spring is essential so your lawn is prepared for the autumn and winter. 

However, don’t be tempted to do this whilst the lawn is waterlogged as this can actually make it worse!

Seed your lawn

Add lots of lawn seed to your lawn, especially on bare patches, to stop moss growing. If you seed in the spring and summer the lawn will grow with a complex root structure which will help to absorb water. 

Keep the lawn healthy

In the autumn, feed your lawn with a phosphorus rich lawn feed to help promote good root growth. A healthy lawn can absorb more water than an unhealthy one!

Use correct soil and compost

If you live in a rainy area, it’s important to use soil that is better for wet conditions to ensure adequate drainage. Our mushroom compost can be added to heavy clay soils to improve drainage.

Dig a ditch

Creating a drainage system is a great way to get rid of excess water in your garden. If your garden is slightly slopped, dig a ditch at its lowest point so the water has somewhere to go. You could even create your very own bog garden in this ditch too!


You can’t do anything about the weather, unfortunately, but as you can see, there are things you can do to help prepare your garden for any heavy bouts of rain. Alsoils are experts in all things soil, so if you are considering using soil in a water-prone area, get in touch and one of our helpful team can give you some help and advice.

About the Author

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The Alsoils Team

For more than three decades, Alsoils has been a trusted name in delivering superior soil, compost products and offering landscaping services. Based in Hampshire, Alsoils caters to a diverse clientele, including both homeowners and businesses. Our team are experts in all things gardening, so you can be sure you get the very best advice for topsoil, compost, manure and so much more!

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