Many gardens have been affected by the unusual weather this summer. Many gardeners blame drought. But what if it keeps raining?

Some gardens have water sitting on the ground, or the ground remains slurpy after it rains. It is best to move your garden to a place where the soil drains more efficiently.

You want your garden to remain as it is.

OK, now plant sweet flag, yellow flag iris, marsh margold, and marsh mallow.

However, it is possible to still grow tomatoes, roses, and marigolds in this sunny spot.

It is possible. However, you must let air in the soil. This means that water drainage is necessary for these plants to breathe.


Draining the water away from the source is one option. A ditch is the best option. If your garden is very large, you can also use several ditches. A ditch will need to drain into a lower location.

To draw water out of soils with more clay, more ditches will be required.

It doesn’t have to be huge. The shovel’s length should be sufficient to allow for a garden. Dig at least 18 inches deep. Water flows downhill by forming a gradual slope that runs along the ditch’ length, approximately one-half foot for every 100 feet.

Your garden doesn’t need to be cluttered with ditches that run through it. Imagine a garden where flat stones line ditches, and are laid as bridges over ditches that cross paths. This whole system could be a beautiful water feature.

This effect could be similar to a Persian garden. However, the waterways are long and narrow, so the water is not taken away but brought to the plants.


Perforated pipe, buried underground, is a way to drain water away without altering the appearance of your garden.

As described above, dig a trench and then lay in the 4″ diameter black plastic tube. The pipe can be purchased at both home and in building shops. It is flexible and bendable and has perforations that allow water to enter. To keep dirt out and gravel from the pipe, cover it with water-permeable fabric. Then backfill the soil.

The outlet at the lower end must be either open or covered with gravel.

A lower area is required to drain the water, just like ditching.


Instead of lowering the water level below your plants’ roots you can give them air by elevating them above the water. Raised mounds are a good option for planting trees and shrubs. To allow roots to spread, the mounds must be large enough. The eventual plant size will determine how wide the mounds should be.

Raised beds are a great way to grow vegetables and flowers. Each bed should be enclosed with stone or wood. Then, truck in enough topsoil so that each bed is at least a foot deep. The roots will need to root from a deeper soil than the surface of the bed.

Long trenches lined in stone can transport you on a magic carpet through ancient Persia. A pattern of raised beds as well as the materials for their sides or the paths might take you to medieval Europe. You should consider using sawn timbers for the edging and beige pea gravel as the paths.

You can also line the beds with logs, or lay straw or crushed oystershells in the paths. Or you could imagine yourself riding a horse to a post in this colonial American garden.

There is no need to choose between raised beds or ditches to improve soil drainage. Why not have both?

It is possible to emulate the Aztec gardeners of Xochomilicho who dug up the muck between their planting beds in order to keep them elevated. To give authenticity to such a garden, you could plant marigolds.