How to Install a Landscape Drainage System


One of the worst problems that could happen to a wonderful landscaping job is flooding due to poor drainage. When this happens, it is hard to find any plants that will survive standing water. There is a way, however, to prevent excessive water build up from ruining the landscape of a yard or garden. You can install drainage to carry the water away. This project can easily be done in one weekend for most average-sized houses and yards.

Things You'll Need

  • Perforated corrugated drainage pipe
  • Filter cloth
  • Razor knife
  • Corrugated pipe fittings
  • 4-inch wide trenching shovel
  • 4-foot level
  • Material to match where the drains are going.
  • Transit
  • Measuring rod
  • Ground paint
  • Determine where the draining will run. Traditionally, drainage will take a course from the highest parts of the yard to empty at the lowest edge of the yard. This can be determined by eye or with a transit and measuring rod. Lay out the path of the drainage with ground paint.

  • Dig a 4-inch wide trench along the painted lines. Make sure the trench has a slope, but not so much slope it will be below the ground when it reaches the end. If the drainage pipe runs along a constantly sloping ground level, then it should be dug in the same depth the entire length of the slope. Otherwise, use the level to keep a constant slope of 1/4 of the bubble for every 8 feet of trench length.

  • Place the corrugated pipe in the trench. Use connections where needed to connect pipes. Place the filter cloth over the pipe in the trench. This will help to keep excessive soil from building up inside the pipe and clogging it.

  • Fill the trench with a material that allows water to flow through. In grassy areas, the trench can be filled with pea gravel. As it fills with dirt from rain and run off, the grass will regrow in the gravel and still allow for proper drainage. In garden areas, the trench can be filled with mulch or pea gravel, topped with mulch to hide it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Corrugated pipe can be purchased pre-wrapped with filter cloth from professional suppliers.
  • Pea gravel works best for filling the trench and allowing water flow.
  • Make sure the pipe does not run uphill at any time; this will cause flow issues.
  • Make sure the pipe is above ground at the end to empty the water away from the problem areas.

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