Play Area Drainage

Why settle for waterlogged play areas when they can be transformed by quality drainage systems from Morti Sport & Play?

Say goodbye to a waterlogged playground!

Does your play or sports facility drain badly? Is water lingering after heavy downpours? Does it flood during the winter months? Have the poor surfaces stopped play due to slip risk and injury? Many play and sporting surfaces aren’t up to the job where surface water turns these great outdoor spaces into a muddy mess not fit for purpose.

We’re often called out to refurbish and rejuvenate old tired play areas that can’t be used all year round due to boggy bark pits and grassed areas that flood during the winter months or during summer storms.    

All surfaces that are either very old and poorly constructed can suffer with flooding issues and can be made up of a variety of materials from non-porous stone sub-bases, concrete slabs and macadam to old rubberised wet pour and mulch surfacing, sand and bark pits and grassed areas.

The effects of a closed playground are huge and impact not only on the children that can’t play but also on carers, parents and grandparents who also use or benefit from these great outdoor spaces.  

The causes are wide and varied but fear not, as there is often a solution.

Each site has its own factors causing the space to flood, ranging from soil type to subbase construction plus other indirect local factors such as potential recent development which may have added to the overflow.  The play area’s location within its geography may lead to new water settling and pooling. Water run off from higher ground should not be overlooked where the installation of ditches and swales will significantly divert such water especially when designed with pipe drainage located in the invert of the swale. 

The problems standing water can cause in playgrounds

Did you know that over time standing water can cause both bacteria growth and mould. This can be caused by relatively small amounts. If water freezes and then thaws it can cause materials to deform.

Safety within a play space is paramount to Morti Sport & Play. If parts of a playground are constantly under water they can become unsafe. Materials can become displaced or loose. Small insignificant things over time can build up making an unsafe play area.

How to fix a waterlogged playground?

The key here is to allow the water to flow away from the affected area to a soakaway.  Sustainable water management is our focus where extreme rainfall is becoming ever more prevalent.  New legislation (Floods and Water Management Act 2010) sets out the way to manage this water via the sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). Morti Sport & Play offer a range of different drainage systems to suit a variety of problems.

Arrange a site survey will help understand your particular site's requirements

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Types of drainage for playgrounds and sports fields

What options you have will depend on several factors that are affecting your space. To move water away over grassed areas we have a few options you could consider installing.

Slit drains:

These are narrower excavated drains without pipes and normally 50mm wide, backfilled with stone aggregate and topped with coarse sand to the surface. The depth is 250 to 300mm

Sand injected grooves :

These are narrow slit drains installed with vibrating rotating tines and simultaneously filled with a coarse sand/grit. The slits are 20mm wide, not more than 170mm deep and are installed at 260mm spacing.


These are constructed linear depressions to divert surface water flow. They are installed with suitable gradient and side slopes of around 1:8 - and with a depth of around 200mm are easily mowed. Preferably pipe drainage is installed in the invert of the swale.

For play areas with surfaces that are either solid or loose filled in construction with either subbases, rubberised fall protection systems or loose fill aggregates /play bark chippings - options to consider include:

Rubber Scrub:

This cleaning system unclogs detritus filled pores which are stopping the rubberised surface from allowing water to drain through: find out more about Morti’s refurbishment services.

French drain:

A French drain or weeping tile (also trench drain, filter drain, blind drain, rubble drain, rock drain, drain tile, perimeter drain, land drain, French ditch, sub-surface drain, sub-soil drain or agricultural drain) is a trench filled with gravel or rock or containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area. A French drain can have perforated hollow pipes along the bottom (see images) to quickly vent water that seeps down through the upper gravel or rock.


A  soakaway is simply a hole dug into the ground, filled with rubble and coarse stone which allows surface water to percolate back into the earth close to where it falls.

Clean stone:

Clean stone aggregate has no fines or dust. It is ideal for land drainage, soakaways and larger pipe back fill.

Cross section depicting french drain used by to show drainage solutions forplay areas

Why Morti Sport & Play?

We are not only experts in land drainage but also play equipment refurbishment and installation. We offer you a comprehensive solution looking at the project and the interaction between the play surface, play equipment and drainage; offering cost effective solutions without compromising quality and durability.

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We would love to hear your plans and learn more about how we can help fulfil your sport and play requirements.

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