We have a blocked drain in our garden. I've had my arm down it and part way round the u-bend, pulling out a ton of crap, but it's still blocked. It looks like this in cross section (forgive the amateur art!).

enter image description here

The gap at the bottom is only big enough for me to get my hand in, and feeling upwards, i can't feel the blockage. There must be a pipe going sideways (to the left) around where the question mark is.

My question is, how can i clear that? I feel like drain rods won't work due to everything being so right-angled (the whole drain is made from bricks) - that it will be too tight for them to get round the corners.

Another option is some sort of chemical which I fill up the whole drain with before leaving it to sit for a day or whatever. That might work I guess.

Any other ideas? Would drain rods get round it do you think?

Grateful for any advice...

  • 3
    Get a hose in there and then seal around the hose to the edges then pressurize... Take care you may find the blockage is stronger that part of the wall or a joint...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 16:35
  • 2
    Don't necessarily need to seal the hose. If you can maneuver the hose so that its end is near the blockage, the flow of water out of the hose can erode the blockage in place (ie spread it over a greater pipe area) rather than building pressure and forcing the blockage further down pipe. A pressure washer is especially effective. Once a passage is opened and flow resumes, additional agitation from the water jet will help to stir up the debris so the flow can flush it through.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 20:46
  • 1
    Seal it with dirt tied in 3 mil plastic contractor bags. Thread the hose in there and then wedge some bags of dirt in behind it. Wedge them right through to the far wall. Dirt is heavy and in the bags it won't wash away. It will be easy to remove the bags of dirt when you are done. The dirt can then go back where you found it. Worms will be ok. You can still use the empty bags for trash.
    – Willk
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 23:23
  • 1
    @MaxWilliams - if your ancient brickwork is that fragile, best to discover that fact when the sun is up and the weather is good.
    – Willk
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 1:50
  • 1
    @Willk it worked! (2 garbage bags with less than a kilo of compost in each). If you can be bothered to turn that comment into an answer i will mark it correct. thanks a lot. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Drain cleaning bladder?

Drain cleaning bladder?


Hook it to your hose then put it in the narrow pipe. The water pressure will expand it to seal the pipe. Then the pressure will blast the blockage out.

And also, when you bring it home, you can sing "got a drain cleaning bladder" to the tune of Black Magic Woman. Which I mention only because I have been doing that just now.

  • +1 for the insidious misheard lyrics ear worm. That's just... I dunno...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 18:02
  • It's not a pipe, unfortunately. That is, there's probably a pipe at some point, and that might be where the blockage is, but the area to the left in my picture is a wide rectangular space, which wouldn't be filled up by that expanding bladder. Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 20:20

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