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What is Subsoil Drainage?

Last Updated Sep 9, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

To ensure that your home and garden is safe from the risk of water damage, you will need to have some form of drainage installed.  An effective yet unobtrusive method is to use subsoil drainage.  Here’s what you need to know about subsoil drainage systems.

About Subsoil Drainage

A subsoil drainage system is designed to be installed within the ground in order to remove excessive water from the soil, so that it doesn’t cause damage to buildings or to the landscape.  Because they are buried beneath the soil, they should be planned during the landscaping or building stage in order to get the best possible results.  Commonly they are installed by either a landscaper or a plumber.

Types of Subsoil Drainage

The most common type of subsoil drainage is in the form of a special pipe that is covered with a geotextile material.  The pipe itself has a number of perforations through it to let the water through to be drained away.  The geotextile covering is important as it stops soil and other particles from going through to the pipe and clogging it up so that it cannot serve its purpose of draining the water away. Another type of subsoil drainage that you can utilise is to bury some rocks or pebbles.  These are free draining and will let water through quite readily.

Where to Locate Subsoil Drainage

If you think that you need subsoil drainage in your property, you might be wondering exactly where it should go.  If you have a retaining wall, you must have subsoil drainage behind it, to relieve the pressure of the water on it.  For similar reasons, it is a good idea to have subsoil drainage systems in raised garden beds.  Subsoil drainage should be installed in the low areas of your garden so that water doesn’t pool up and stagnate, and it should also be installed around the perimeter of your home so that water is drained away before it can reach and possibly destabilise your foundations.  Make sure that subsoil drainage systems are located above the natural water table otherwise you’ll just be draining away ground water instead of surface water.
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