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I have the problem of a water logged lawn as I am on a hill and the lawn is on the flat bit .there is also a under ground spring that runs through the garden so all in all its like a swamp .We planted a stick off a willow tree one year and it grew and it grew ,it kept the lawn dry but it got bigger and bigger no matter how we cut it back and for smallish garden it was a disaster,it kept the lawn dry but it had to come down.I still have the trunk as a seat.
All or nothing with the rain. For two years our ponds got lower and lower. I though we'd have an ecological disaster. Now the water is half way up my wellies on what was dry land.
Much the same in North Cumbria. On thick clay we have had a pondy garden for the last year as it seems to have been raining here since July 2011!! when we moved back here Like you we have nowhere to drain the water to as we are lower than all the surrounding ground if only slightly. Our solution has been to raise everything up a bit where we can so decking and raised beds. Where we can not we have created a small wildlife pond. Were we planted our fruit trees ( thinking long term they would suck up a lot of the water) they have nearly drowned so we have put them in small raised beds and in the spring will dump a load of top soil on the grass and re turf, hopefully this will allow us to walk on it without sinking into water covering our wellies. Does anyone know why the top level of soil in my 12" raised beds is still "wet" and what I can do about it as I have had to sow my garlic in modules in the hope it will dry out by spring?
Frensclan did someone line your planters with plastic? If so you will need to punch a series of drainage holes at the base to allow the water to drain. Also a layer of sharp sand at the bottom would help.