How to Install a Drainage Swale on a Lawn


If the ground in your yard is flat, you may find that it is prone to flooding after heavy rain or snow. Standing water can kill your lawn, damage your home's foundation if it is close to the house and possibly serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes if the water sits for an extended period of time. You can alleviate this problem by installing a drainage swale on your lawn. A swale is a shallow ditch used to carry water away from the areas of your yard that flood.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • Hammer
  • Sod cutter
  • Shovel
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Gravel
  • Drain tile
  • Drive wooden stakes into the ground to mark the path of the swale. Lead the swale to a low-lying area that drains well.

  • Cut into the sod with a sod cutter, and carefully lift the strips of sod away from the area where the swale is being installed. Provide the sod with moisture to keep it alive, as you will replant it later.

  • Dig a 12-inch trench shaped like a "U" and slope it down toward the area to which you are draining the water.

  • Cover the soil in the trench with landscaping fabric.

  • Pour 2 inches of gravel into the bottom of the trench and flatten it out.

  • Lay drain tile in the trench with the perforated edges facing down. Drain tile is plastic pipe with perforations in it that is used in drainage projects.

  • Add more gravel to the trench until the drain tile is 5 inches below the gravel.

  • Cover the gravel with landscaping fabric.

  • Place about an inch of soil onto the landscaping fabric, and then lay the sod on top of the soil and water it.

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