Take action over your wet gardens says Mary Baker, head gardener at Luton Hoo Walled garden

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With a stormy opening to 2014 and the UK facing its wettest winter for decades, we’ve seen the serious effect it’s had in low lying areas.

In this area homes haven’t been so at risk, but some gardeners are having to deal with the problem of saturated gardens. On lawns, puddles are obvious indicators. On patios and paths, brush away standing water and keep drains clear to keep water away from the garden, and check pots and containers – they can dry out easily in summer but can just as easily hold onto too much water in winter.

Remember that broken up polystyrene bedding containers or more traditional crocks can be used in the bottom of containers to help with drainage. Don’t walk on the soil and certainly don’t dig it while it is very wet.

It is important to prevent plants sitting in waterlogged ground as the plants can effectively “drown” and die, starved of necessary air. Trim off the damaged or dead shoots. It will remain weak so look after it carefully.

The soil is key to preventing waterlogging. If it has a good system of air pockets, created by a combination of mulching, digging in organic matter, and not compacting the soil, then rain will run through it and down and away.

The soil will be softer in you have structures to put in place, but don’t step on the soil itself. To deal with the lawn, use a fork and simply push the tongs into the ground to create drainage holes across any areas of waterlogging. Finally, if you are considering adding hard landscaping to your garden – especially a drive, or if you want a low maintenance back garden, consider a paving option which has integral drainage? The more modern, eco-friendly options do, and it’s helping to combat flooding.