Struan’s

Landscaping & Groundworks

Highland Secondary Drainage Contractors | Scotland

Highland Secondary Drainage Contractors | Scotland

Tractor with sandbander on golf course

Gravel banding and sand slitting are both forms of secondary land drainage.
The first step is to try and identify the reasons for the problematic wet areas. First, is there existing primary land drainage? This is commonly known as field drainage or land drains, where plastic perforated pipe (waving coil) is installed and surrounded with gravel, then back filled. If you do have primary land drainage but you are experiencing problems this could be due to the drainage not being up to modern specification and becoming blocked with sediment over the years. Before we can proceed with secondary land drainage we first need to make sure the existing primary land drains are working correctly and efficiently making sure it has not become blocked due to the build up of fine sediment. If you do not have primary drainage installed it is likely we will need to do this first before we can install a secondary drainage system. There are however some circumstances where there is free draining material under the root zone but it has become compacted due to time and foot traffic, in this circumstance we can de-compact the top 300mm of soil which will then allow the water to naturally drain. We will initially carry out a site inspection and we would also use a high pressure water jetting system to flush out the main drain. If however the existing field drain is completely blocked we would usually have to strip back and re install the primary drainage, this however due to the techniques we use as secondary land drainage contractors is very cost effective compared to conventional methods.

Tractor with sandbander on golf course

Gravel banding and sand slitting are both forms of secondary land drainage.
The first step is to try and identify the reasons for the problematic wet areas. First, is there existing primary land drainage? This is commonly known as field drainage or land drains, where plastic perforated pipe (waving coil) is installed and surrounded with gravel, then back filled. If you do have primary land drainage but you are experiencing problems this could be due to the drainage not being up to modern specification and becoming blocked with sediment over the years. Before we can proceed with secondary land drainage we first need to make sure the existing primary land drains are working correctly and efficiently making sure it has not become blocked due to the build up of fine sediment. If you do not have primary drainage installed it is likely we will need to do this first before we can install a secondary drainage system. There are however some circumstances where there is free draining material under the root zone but it has become compacted due to time and foot traffic, in this circumstance we can de-compact the top 300mm of soil which will then allow the water to naturally drain. We will initially carry out a site inspection and we would also use a high pressure water jetting system to flush out the main drain. If however the existing field drain is completely blocked we would usually have to strip back and re install the primary drainage, this however due to the techniques we use as secondary land drainage contractors is very cost effective compared to conventional methods.

Sand Slitting | Sand Banding

Sand Slitting | Sand Banding

Sand slitting machine

The most common drainage system we install is sand slitting or “sand banding drainage.” This consists of a 25-50mm wide sand filled trenches installed using our sandbander, spaced the appropriate distance apart. They are typically 300mm deep, then backfilled with sand. Usually this operation has to be done in dry conditions, however with our system we are able to do this in the wettest of soil conditions, which is very handy as we are based in the Highlands!
The main benefit of using sand rather than gravel is the pitch is immediately playable when we are finished and the re growth of the grass along the slits is very fast.
Gravel is however a bit cheaper to use than sand so if drainage is not being carried out on playing surface gravel can be used very effectively.

The most common drainage system we install is sand slitting or “sand banding drainage.” This consists of a 25-50mm wide sand filled trenches installed using our sandbander, spaced the appropriate distance apart. They are typically 300mm deep, then backfilled with sand. Usually this operation has to be done in dry conditions, however with our system we are able to do this in the wettest of soil conditions, which is very handy as we are based in the Highlands!
The main benefit of using sand rather than gravel is the pitch is immediately playable when we are finished and the re growth of the grass along the slits is very fast.
Gravel is however a bit cheaper to use than sand so if drainage is not being carried out on playing surface gravel can be used very effectively.

Gravel Banding

Gravel Banding

Blec sandmaster and john deere tractor
Blec sandmaster and john deere tractor

Gravel Band Drainage consists of gravel bands, usually 25-50mm wide and 300mm deep. The soil is opened up by a vibrating stainless steel tine and the gravel fed immediately into the slot. A wheel or roller on the back of the machine partly closes the band to enable use of the grassed area immediately afterwards. This system is very popular with hotels, estates and garden lawns. The grass does however take around 8 weeks to re grow over the gravel slits. Gravel banding is low cost, yet very effective. 
All drainage systems that we install use a compact tractor with low impact grass tyres and an implement mounted on the back to cut a trench or insert the desired material 
through the established surface. The insertions provide a very effective connection from the surface to the primary drainage layer which then distributes the water of site. 

Once land drainage is installed the improvement is very dramatic, water  logging is eliminated, grass growth is stronger, soil structure enhanced, and maintenance is easier and more effective. Regardless of the type of soil every pitch or lawn can be improved.

Blec sandmaster and john deere tractor

Gravel Band Drainage consists of gravel bands, usually 25-50mm wide and 300mm deep. The soil is opened up by a vibrating stainless steel tine and the gravel fed immediately into the slot. A wheel or roller on the back of the machine partly closes the band to enable use of the grassed area immediately afterwards. This system is very popular with hotels, estates and garden lawns. The grass does however take around 8 weeks to re grow over the gravel slits. Gravel banding is low cost, yet very effective. 
All drainage systems that we install use a compact tractor with low impact grass tyres and an implement mounted on the back to cut a trench or insert the desired material 
through the established surface. The insertions provide a very effective connection from the surface to the primary drainage layer which then distributes the water of site. 

Once land drainage is installed the improvement is very dramatic, water  logging is eliminated, grass growth is stronger, soil structure enhanced, and maintenance is easier and more effective. Regardless of the type of soil every pitch or lawn can be improved.

“As you can see these methods we use cause minimal disturbance to any established surface as our techniques are specifically designed that there is very little impact to any grassed surface whether it is hotel grounds, football pitches or golf courses.” If you have any questions regarding any of our drainage systems, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Struan Mackay
Owner