How to Bury a Downspout

The gutter system on your home is designed to capture the rainwater from the roof and carry it away from the foundation of the home. Some areas have a significant amount of yearly rainfall and require a bit more effort when installing the downspout and outflow sections of the gutter to ensure the water does not build up next to the foundation. Burying the downspout is an effective way to carry away this excess.

Things You'll Need

  • Round point shovel
  • 8-foot section of French style drain
  • Roll of landscaping tarp
  • Razor knife
  • Gravel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tape measure

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Dig a sloping trench from your downspout to a point 8 feet away. The end of the trench next to the house will be 18 inches deep and the far end will be 30 inches deep. Dig the trench 15 inches wide down the entire length. Use your tape measure to periodically check of the width and depth of the trench.

Unroll your landscaping tarp beside the trench. Cut the tarp with your razor knife so that you have a tarp that is 1 foot longer than your trench. Slice down the length of the tarp so that you have two pieces 2 feet wide each. Set one aside for a future project. Fold the other in half so that it is 1 foot wide and lay it into the trench with the extra foot laying up the side of the house in the trench.

Cover the bottom of the sloping trench with gravel. Carry the gravel to the trench with your wheelbarrow and spread it with your shovel. Be careful not to displace the tarp in the trench when placing the gravel.

Place the French drain onto the gravel in the trench. Turn the drain so that the slots in the side are face down. Pull the end of the drain onto the end of the outflow of your downspout. Cover the drain with 3 inches of gravel down the entire length of the pipe. Add gravel to the end of the trench, past the end of the drain, so that it is level with the gravel covering the drain.

Cover the gravel with the soil from the original digging. Pile it 3 to 4 inches higher than the surrounding ground level. Walk on the new soil to pack it down firmly. Carry off the remaining soil and let the trench settle for a week to 10 days. Add more soil to any areas where the new soil settles to a level lower than the surrounding ground.

Tips & Warnings

  • After installing the drain onto your downspout wait two weeks before planting grass seed.
  • If your yard is sloped away from the house then the slope of your trench should end at least 12 inches lower than the beginning. In this instance, be sure that the drain is buried under at least 4-6 inches of soil to keep it from freezing when filled with water causing a backup into the downspout and possible damage to your gutters.
  • Always call before digging! Contact your local utilities locating service before you dig. In most localities it is the law. Power companies and other utilities bury the lines and pipes coming into your house. Digging without knowing where these hazards are located can result in electrical shock, damage to your home, explosion or death.
  • Always wear appropriate safety equipment, such as safety glasses and leather work gloves, when digging.
  • Never leave an open trench or hole unattended.

References

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