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 I am looking for any advice on filling in a large sunken area of my garden.

Whenever there is a lot of rain the area fills with water, at the worst it was upto 2.5 ft deep.

The soil is very heavy with lots of clay. The area is dry at the moment so must be draining of somewhere.

I was hoping that I could just fill the area with top soil but I've been told it needs a land drain. only problem with the drain idea is there are no drains close by.

We have two small children so would love to get rid of the water.

Any advice gratefully received.


Hi Gary, as the area does have at least some drainage, you could consider making a bog garden.  This would make the area safe for the kids as there would be no open water and there are lots of interesting plants that can be grown.  Here's the RHS advice on the subject:

and this site is one of many (just google "bog plants") with a large selection suitable plants:




Clay is a big problem.  I wonder if a "soakaway" would be a good idea.  I think it would involve a mini digger hire  - dig a big hole in the middle of the sunken area and fill it with rubble to give the water somewhere to go.    Alternatively, you could make a proper pond out of it and put a protective grid across the pond to enable wildlife to use it, but protect the children from any accident.  Good luck.


 That is so nice, maybe a pump or a windmill with a pump would allow you to drain it or keep it at a safe level.



You may find this link useful

I have had this product installed by this firm as I have recently fostered small dogs for a rescue.  The grid on my pond fits just under the water level, and gives complete peace of mind.



Oops - maybe that should have been


maybe a storage tank of some sort would be an option, after all water is  a valuble resource you may have no need of it now but later  in the summer you could have plenty to keep your plants  watered and healthy.

Thanks for the replies.

The area has been bone dry for the last few weeks. I really want too raise the level and reseed as a lawn. I was just worried that if I just put topsoil down it wil turn into a swamp.

We are having the front garden dug up and gravel put down so I was hoping to use this earth to fill this sunken area. then top it of with 10/20 ton of good quality topsoil.

Mind you the water has some uses:


That video is really useful - it looks as if the water is only a recent problem as  the garden is well established - has there been some recent building work nearby that may have caused a problem?  It looks to me as if the water table has risen for some reason - there may be some blocked drains somewhere which is causing the water table to rise - if I were you I'd contact your local Water Board and the Environment Agency - send them a link to that video - and see if they have any ideas.


I have something a bit similar but not as big. Luckily for me there is somewhere to drain it too so I've dug in perforated pipe. But its been so wet for so long that even that can't keep up and the turf is in an inch of water.

I think I'd dig a soakaway, and then use your topsoil to fill in the dip.  I'd also order extra gravel, if your front soil is  clay, and mix this in to improve the structure of your soil, or a mix of gravel, sharp sand and topsoil, instead of adding just topsoil.  You could try that, and use the good quality topsoil for the top six inches or so, the soakaway should help channel the water downwards, and gravel and sand will improve the structure of the subsoil.

Have fun hiring the mini-digger

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