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The Importance of Installing Good Drainage

When constructing your new arena, it’s important to build a solid and free draining base layer, using the correct construction methods and recommended materials. Most of the common arena problems that we see are a direct result of either the drainage layer or membrane not performing as it should.

What is the Foundation Stone there to do?

The drainage stone in your riding arena serves three main purposes:

  • To provide a firm and stable base for your manège surface

  • To allow excess water to pass freely from the arena

  • To provide a reservoir away from the surface that will hold any excess water until it can be dispersed – either into the ground or the purpose built drains

What Stone Should I Use for the Drainage Layer?

For a riding arena base layer, we recommend a clean, preferably washed, hardstone such as carboniferous limestone or granite. Rounded gravel, road planings or demolition hardcore should NEVER be used.

The drainage stone should be angular in shape as this provides enough space for water to drain efficiently, whilst still allowing the stones to interlock – providing a firm foundation.

Using hardstone, such as carboniferous limestone, will prevent the drainage stone breaking down during use – which can cause blockages and prevent the arena from draining adequately. Hardstones come in various sizes, 20mm to 40mm works best when using a geotextile membrane to separate your arena surface from the drainage layer.

Should I Use Stone Blinding or a Geotextile Membrane?

We highly recommend the use of a blinded stone system to separate your riding arena surface from the drainage stone. This system compromises the use of a 4mm to 20mm hardstone for the drainage, with a smaller stone, such as 2mm to 6mm laid on top. The blinding layer is then compacted to provide you with a level base on which to lay your chosen surface. The advantage of a stone blinding system is that it will not block or hinder the drainage of your riding arena.

Geotextile membranes are recommended by many contractors as they are quick and easy to install. However, they can become blocked by organic matter, such as leaves and droppings, which will prevent the arena surface from draining correctly. If you do decide to install a membrane, instead of a stone blinding layer, make sure it is a suitable quality.

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