What is a Soakaway? – Do you Need One and How to Install

What is a soakaway system?

A soakaway is a water drainage system that resolves the issues of excess surface water, water pooling and waterlogging. It relieves pressure on drains and is a cost effective and low maintenance solution to a reoccuring problem. Water can be removed from surface into the ground away from areas of concern.

What do I need to do before I Install a Soakaway? 

First things first you need to do a percolation test to check that a soakaway will solve the issue of surface water in your garden or project area. Some soils such as heavy clay make a soakaway system ineffective.

Where do I Install my Soakway?

Then you need to site your soakaway correctly. It must be an area lower than the area to be drained so that the water will flow to the new area easily. Soakaways must also be at least 5m away from buildings or foundations. The soakaway pit must also be above the water table. Make sure soakaway systems are also kept away from boundaries at least 2.5m.

What do you Fill a Soakaway with?

Now you have a site, you need to get digging.

Now you can fill your hole, there are a few ways to do this. You can fill your hole with clean bricks and gravel, but this can minimise the volume available for rainwater collection. It is also more difficult to work out how much rubble you need to fill the hole so that the soakaway is effective. A much better way is to use soakaway crates.



These crates can be easily put together so no issues if you have a large or small project. It is easy to know how much water they can accommodate as they have a set size and capacity. The crates are tested to take pressure and loading once installed.

Just wrap the crates in geotextile membrane (non-woven) to prevent silt and soil particles getting into the crates.


Fill around the crates or rubble with pea gravel.

Now cover over and tamp down.

How do I Install a Soakaway?

  • Decide on the soakaway size – see below
  • Choose your soakaway medium, crates or stones.
  • Line your trench/hole with membrane and install the soakaway element.
  • wrap the soakaway element (crates or stone) and secure.
  • Backfill and compact the area
  • Wait for rain and enjoy having a functioning soakaway and dry ground.

How do I work out the size of my soakaway?

How  to Workout the size of the soakaway you need.

A 1m3 (cubic metre) is sufficient to cover 50 square metres of roof under normal conditions. 

You may also need to consider the roof pitch as this determines how fast the water will descend. Once you have worked out the roof area to cover you can work out how many crates you need to install.

Any Soakaway queries send us a message to hello@spudulica.co.uk or call our friendly team on 0151 515 1415

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