Soakaway Cost/Price Guide

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On this page we try to answer the following questions:

What is a soakaway exactly and how much do they typically cost to install? What materials are required and how much do they cost?

How long should the work take?

What is a Soakaway?

A soakaway is a large hole dug approximately 5 metres away from the property, it is usually located under a lawn, patio or driveway. Soakaways are filled with either large bits of debris such as bricks and hardcore or a modern plastic crate, more technically known as a “Modular Cell Drainage System”. We will just refer to it as a “crate” because that’s exactly what it is (see photos below).

Rainwater either from a roof gutter or from a surface drainage channel is piped into the soakaway crate, the void fills up with water and this gradually “soaks away” into the ground.

Soakaways are only used for rainwater and not human waste.

Why Install a New Soakaway?

There are several reasons why you may want (or need) a new soakaway:

  1. Soakaways sometimes become blocked with roots, leaves, roof moss and mud. They occasionally collapse due to weight (cars, lorries, concrete, tarmac etc) placed above them.
  2. If you have an extension built on your house, the extra rainwater from the additional roof area may be too much for your existing soakaway to cope with.
  3. Current building regulations state that when having a new driveway or patio laid, you must allow for the adequate drainage of surface rainwater within the boundaries of your property. A soakaway is an answer to this.

How Are They Installed?

Here is a typical works schedule, it’s based on our knowledge of this subject and also on information we gathered when requesting quotes for this type of work.

This schedule is for the removal of an existing soakaway and replacement with a crate based system, we assume the hole and pipework is through a lawn or flower bed and not a driveway.

  • Dig up existing drainage pipe from rainwater pipe to existing soakaway.
  • Lay gravel to base of pipe trench.
  • Dig up and excavate existing soakaway to a depth of 1.2 metres.
  • Perform a water permeable test to ensure water actually soaks through soil (clay based soil may prevent the soakaway from doing it’s job).
  • Lay gravel to base of hole.
  • Secure crates inside hole, lay new drainage pipe and connect to crates, lay membrane over and around crates and cover with top soil/turf etc.
  • Connect opposite end of drainage pipe to rainwater downpipe.
Soakaway Crate

Soakaway Crate With Entrance Hole For Drainage Pipe


Underground pipe

Underground Rainwater Pipe 110mm

pipe bend for underground drainage

Pipe Bend

Inlet for Rainwater From Guttering

Inlet for Rainwater From Guttering

Material Cost

Crates – £35 each* so 5 in total for a 50 square metre roof area (1 crate per 10 square metres of roof/surface area)

Underground Pipe, Pipe Bends, Joints, 90degree Angle etc  – £45

Gravel and Membrane – £30

Equipment hire – £200

* We assume you do not need heavy duty crates (they cost more) as they will be located under a lawn not a driveway. If you have a driveway then use heavy duty crates, if you regularly park a heavy van on the driveway, use the sturdiest crates you can find. A collapsed soakaway can cause damage to the driveway and will need to be replaced.


It should take just over half a day for two people to dig up an existing soakaway in a lawn or flowerbed and lay a new one.

If the soakaway is located under a driveway or patio then it will take significantly longer as large parts of the driveway will need to be lifted and laid again afterwards. Block paving, patio slabs, concrete and tarmac can all take extra time (and cost) to repair afterwards.

Soakaway Cost

Below is our guide price for installing a soakaway. As you can see, the average cost is £840.00 + VAT if applicable, but the prices do vary depending on location:

LocationSmall Business /TraderLarger Business (5+ employees)
Need a Custom Price? >Compare Up To 3 Personlised Quotes Here
London AreaN/A£950.00
South, SW and MidlandsN/A£850.00
Outer Region and NorthN/A£725.00

Have You Compared These Prices?

See how much people are being charged for a new tarmac driveway.

How much do landscapers charge for a new patio?

See our full price list here.

What Type of Tradespeople Do This Work?

We gathered most of our quotes from landscape gardeners (hard landscaping), land drainage is bread and butter for these businesses. General builders should also be able to complete this work.

We did ask drainage specialists to quote for this work too, it wasn’t a surprise that they were all very expensive, much more than the quotes we received from landscape gardening firms. It’s worth remembering that we are talking about digging a hold in a lawn, it’s not particularity difficult task.

How Trustworthy are Landscape Gardeners in the UK?

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2 Responses to “Soakaway Cost/Price Guide”

  1. Brian SweeneyNovember 30, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    Soakaways are in insult to common sense.
    If you excavate a hole in a garden it would fill up with water(fact) if you then fill that hole up with gravel it’s going to fill up twice as quick(another fact) this water then is going nowhere.if it was going to drain through the soil you wouldn’t need drainage in the first place(yet again another fact).Drainage contractors are expensive for a reason,that reason is they tend to drain the water away.Send any irate customers you have onto us,short of walking on it or turning it into wine we can do anything with water.

  2. Brian SweeneyNovember 30, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

    Really?Moderation there’s a surprise,I won’t hold my breath then!

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