Wet Gardens – do you have a soggy bottom?
Good garden design should always focus on ‘working with’ rather than ‘imposing on’ nature. If you have wet ground and boggy soil, before you embark on any measure to remedy soggy ground, you really need to identify the cause;
Is it due to natural causes, low lying ground, a high water table or the proximity of an underground spring for example,
is it due to poor drainage, or is it caused by surface runoff collecting in an area?
There are 2 easy solutions here, firstly choose only plants that will thrive in boggy ground as shown below, and there are loads more to choose from, or build raised beds and plant into those – this will prevent the plant roots rotting off in the wet soil.
Drainage can be improved by adding grit to the bottom of planting holes and by adding a medium to the soil that will hold it more open. So for example a fibrous ground conditioner dug well into the soil will allow the water to freely drain through to the subsoil underneath. Drainage can also be improved by planting plants that suck up a lot of water too, so large shrubs and small trees, will help improve the waterlogging. Incidentally with some shrubs and trees such as willow be careful where you plant. Willow roots seek out water voraciously, and can travel up many yards to find it, breaking through drain pipes and or burrowing under foundations. So if in doubt visit an Arboretum and get specialist tree advice if you need to plant near your house.
Surface Run off:
Once again, water run off is not a problem unless it cannot drain away quickly, so in this case, installing soak away drains (essentially gravel filled holes) or underground drainage pipes that carry the water away elsewhere should resolve the problem permanently, a cheaper solution however would be to use raised beds and or pots to lift the planting away from the standing water.