10 DIY Yard Drainage Methods

DIY yard with small rock pebbles replacing lawn with drain materials

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Effective yard drainage is key to keeping not just your yard dry but your house in good shape. DIY yard drainage methods are mostly inexpensive and simple to implement. The goal is to drain flooded areas of your yard and to prevent water from moving toward the house's foundation.

  • 01 of 10

    Replace Hardscapes With Drainage Materials

    Pea Gravel Patio

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    Hardscape exterior materials like concrete and asphalt are great for patios or driveways. They keep you or your vehicle well above wet ground, plus they dry out quickly. But the flipside is that sometimes they can divert water in the wrong direction. A concrete patio slab tilted toward the house by tree roots will send water cascading to your foundation. Replace hardscape materials with crushed gravel or pea gravel to encourage even drainage.

  • 02 of 10

    Install a Rain Barrel

    Rain Barrel

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    Water from the downspouts can be put to good use instead of being wasted. Build or purchase a rain barrel and place it next to a downspout. By reconfiguring the downspout, you can send water into the barrel—where it collects for later use in gardens.

  • 03 of 10

    Add a Channel Drain

    Channel Drain in Driveway


    Construction Photography/Avalon / Contributor / Getty Images

    When you have a concrete or asphalt driveway or walkway that sends water in the wrong direction, stop the water in its tracks. Installing a channel drain starts with a narrow trench cut into the concrete or asphalt. Next, a long channel drain is placed in the trench. When water hits the channel drain, it's sent off in another direction, well away from the house or garage.

  • 04 of 10

    Install a French Drain

    Digging French Drain in a Lawn

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    Surface water that moves across a lawn can be difficult to control, especially if it's originating from off of your property. Fortunately, there is a low-cost way of managing surface water: a French drain. A French drain is a trench filled with permeable materials such as gravel atop a perforated PVC pipe. Water flows through the gravel and into the PVC pipe. The PVC pipe swiftly whisks the water away.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Aerate Your Lawn

    Aerating a Lawn

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    Aerating is a common and necessary practice that helps keep your lawn in its best condition. Aeration creates holes in the lawn to introduce air and nutrients, plus it breaks up compacted soil underneath. Aeration also has another benefit: It promotes yard drainage. Rather than pooling up on the lawn, the water trickles down through thousands of holes.

  • 06 of 10

    Install a Catch Basin For Yard Drainage

    Downspout and Storm Drain

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    When water hits the ground from gutters and downspouts, the worst thing is for it to pool and soak beside your home's foundation. Send that water far away by installing a catch basin at the bottom of every downspout. Water runs into the catch basin and then is taken away by buried PVC pipes to a drain emitter.

  • 07 of 10

    Build a Dry Creek Bed

    Dry Creek Bed Xeriscape

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    A dry creek bed gives you the best of both worlds: function and appearance. Constructed from rocks ranging in size from river rocks to small boulders, a dry creek bed functions as a planned channel for stormwater. Rather than letting nature pick the course, you can do this in advance: into a swale, a catch basin, or to the edge of the property. When it's not busy moving water, a dry creek bed is a beautiful form of xeriscaping for your yard.

  • 08 of 10

    Add Downspout Extensions

    Downspout Extension

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    Downspouts run down the side or corner of a house and stop just above the ground. Sometimes a downspout elbow has been added so that the water doesn't drive alongside the foundation. But it's important to move that water even farther away from the home, and adding downspout extensions is the easiest, fastest, and least expensive way to move that water. Clamping these flexible plastic tubes onto the end of the downspout will take the water another 4 feet away from your house.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Create a Yard Drain

    Yard Drain Grate

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    Yard drains are built directly into the ground, at places where flooding has previously been identified. Acting much like shower or bathtub drains, yard drains are passive channels for any water that comes their way. They move the water through hidden pipes to a termination point such as a dry well.

  • 10 of 10

    Build a Dry Well

    Grass Lawn

    John Keeble / Getty Images

    A dry well is a large basin filled with rocks that is installed underground. It's a collection point for water, and it works in concert with other yard drainage methods. A dry well is a ready receiver of large amounts of water, which then percolates to the soil around it.