In front of my North facing window, on a slight tilt, is this 1.5m x 3m patch of, well, mud.

Area of mud outside my window

There is are paving slabs just underneath the window, but the moss is happily growing which gives you an idea of how the whole bit often sits for a day in 1-2 inches of water.

I've tried laying mesh on it then putting various rocks around it as you can see. I left big gaps for large pots, thinking I could put big plants in there that will give it some life over winter.

It rained hard 2 days ago and the whole lot just sat in about 4 inches of water and.. well.. it's just not working.

My wife suggested making it into a pond! I'm still liking the rockery idea but considered maybe putting something over the top, almost like decking, to life the rocks and plants out of the way. I'm clueless when it comes to drainage.

For reference this is Aberdeen Scotland where the max temp in summer is about 25oC (77f) and min in winter around -5oC (23f). The area never gets sunlight and it rains every 3 days.

Any suggestions for a way forward?

Edit - 2 more photos added with annotations. One looking "head on" towards the house. One where I crouched down so you can see the angle of the neighbours garden.

Front Image "Crouched Down" Image

Edit 2: Some great advice on the comments. I've decided I can't ignore this problem so my next step is to dig in and around the area to see if I can work out why this ground isn't draining. The house is 30 years old so there's little chance this has been a problem from the start. I'll report back when I get chance to get dug in.

  • You need a drainage system of some sort under the ground there - its obvious why you're having drainage issues, given the lawns in the picture are all higher than the trenched areas around them, and certainly higher than the flagstones at the front of your house, meaning water drains down and back towards your foundations, that being the direction of fall and the lowest point. And that's where a drainage system needs to be put in place.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 12:31
  • I've got some digging and sorting to do by the looks of it! Was hoping to avoid it. Thank you
    – sunscreem
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 14:36
  • Yes, I'm afraid so, its a drain system or the whole garden taken up and lowered with the fall away from the house rather than towards it.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


It's not good for that water to be sitting around your foundation like that. I have a few suggestions that vary in the level of time, money, or practicality.

The simplest is going to be to add dirt and grade the area away from the house. That's going to depend on what's around you and where you want the water to go. Hopefully, your house isn't in a hole. I couldn't tell if you had gutters either. If you don't, that would help a lot, because otherwise your entire roof is shedding onto the ground right there.

Next, you could make a rock stream. I see these more frequently on pinterest and other places now. Basically, it's a little trench with a lined bottom. You fill it with pebbles or "river rocks" and make it weave a little through your lawn so it looks like a small stream. People will direct their gutter spouts into them, but even when they don't have water flowing in them, they look like a decorative "river" or "stream".

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The other thing I sometimes see people do for decoration is the same thing, but instead of for a gutter spout, they'll use it to create an artificial creek. You need to have it on a slope, but they'll create a creek the same way as described above, they make the trench, line it, add rocks to cover the lining, position rocks to create sound as the water passes over them and then either empty them into a pond. If you don't want to care for a pond, you simply dig a hole and bury a plastic barrel with a screen top and liner around it. You cover it with small rocks as well as the liner. Line the outer edges with larger rocks. I creates a faux-pool. The water goes into the barrel sump and gets pumped back up the top of the "creek" to flow down again. The benefit here is that there aren't any fish to harm and you can treat for algae more easily.

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Another idea, that can be added to either of the ones above is to add in moisture loving plants. I wouldn't add something like a weeping willow, because while it would thrive on the conditions, it would probably crack your foundation, but you might find other water loving plants that would help soak some of it up. I think redirection is going to be your biggest chance of fixing it, though.

Barring any of these ideas, I would dig a small pit where you have those large rocks and fill with sand or small gravel up to about 4-6" from the surface and then cover it over with dirt. This will give you a reservoir to keep it away from your foundation.

  • Wow - Thanks Dalton. I hadn't considered the implications of the water near my foundations. I'll go and grab a "front on" photo and add annotations showing the nearest drain. Might be tomorrow due to the fading light.
    – sunscreem
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:52
  • Okay @Dalton I edited the question with more images that might help :)
    – sunscreem
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:14
  • Probably similar and not worthy of a separate answer, but if you do not want/can't have a water feature on the surface, you could still bury a pipe that diverts water away from your foundation (depending on slopes). You would need to construct a collection area in that waterlogged area, called a French drain <-- the article has much more detail.
    – frIT
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:23
  • Do not forget that standing water is great for mosquitoes and more maintenance. Why do you have all that plastic and stone. What I see is that you've created a 'dam'. I see good slope away from your foundation. Perhaps a simple trench at the bottom of that 'rockery' to carry excess water away. Trench drains are very effective. To make a water feature to hide drainage problems is NOT a professional solution. What was this area prior to this plastic and rocks? Does your home have a foundation drainage system? It is good that the soil/rocks are well below your siding!
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 20:56
  • But sweetie, these water features will not address your problems, and pretty sure they will cost dearly. To keep water running to keep it clear of algae, mosquitoes is EXPENSIVE. If you live on a well, not so much. If you are on city water it is crazy expensive and high maintenance!! There seems to be plenty of slope to carry any water that lands on the ground near your foundation to be carried away from the foundation. A simple trench between lawn and that 'rockery' would be far more effective. Get rid of the plastic and rocks. If you do a water feature it should be...
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 21:00

I saw this emergency solution on someone's youtube video: dig a hole out a few feet but close enough to drain water, take a pump, and pump away.

A shop vacuum will work the same way as long as the container for the vacuum will work (to keep this going, you could probably crack the outlet a little bit so it has somewhere to put the water at while still sucking).


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