12 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 also 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. With proper drainage, your home, yard, and everything within the home will remain dry and secure.

  • 01 of 12

    Slope the Ground Away From the House

    Yard Sloping Away From House

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    One of the most common fixes for poor drainage is to add dirt and slope it away from the foundation of your house at a 1-inch slope per one foot of horizontal run. Before implementing any other DIY drainage method, this should always be the first one that you consider because it's easy, inexpensive, and effective.

    Sloping the grade isn't as simple as tossing down some dirt and smoothing it out with the back of the shovel. Make sure that the top of the slope leaves a minimum of 4 inches between the slope and the bottom of the siding.

    Bagged topsoil and mulch, often the choice for perimeter strips around the home, isn't the best type of grading soil because it is permeable and may wash away. Instead, locate within your property (or find elsewhere) a harder, more clay-like soil that packs tightly and helps you better sculpt that slope. Clay-type soil is less permeable, so water will wash down it, not through it.

  • 02 of 12

    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 flip-side 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.

  • 03 of 12

    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.


    Certain states regulate rainwater collection and its manner of usage. Check with local restrictions before setting up a rain barrel on your property.

  • 04 of 12

    Add a Channel Drain

    Channel Drain in Driveway


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    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.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Install a French Drain

    A shovel in a yard and a recenly dug ditch

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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.

  • 06 of 12

    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.

  • 07 of 12

    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.

  • 08 of 12

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    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 four feet away from your house.

  • 10 of 12

    Clean and Properly Sized Gutters and Downspouts


    Luis Diaz Devesa / Getty Images

    When it comes to ground-level yard drainage, one's eye is most often trained on the ground. But good yard drainage also starts from above: up along the roofline with the gutters and down the sides of the house. Make sure that your home has a full set of gutters that are properly sized and that those gutters lead to downspouts. Clean gutters and downspouts at least twice a year.

  • 11 of 12

    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.

  • 12 of 12

    Build a Dry Well

    Grass Lawn

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    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.

  • Why is drainage in your yard important?

    Having good yard drainage is necessary as it will keep too much water away from your home's foundation, which can cause damage over time, and keep the yard itself from being too soggy and wet.

  • What is a French drain?

    A French drain is a trench that has a perforated PVC pipe with gravel on top of it. Water flows through and goes to the trench's exit point which takes the water to a drainage area or to a dry well.

  • Does adding downspout extensions really work?

    Putting extensions on your home's downspout works well as it helps by pushing water that comes down from the gutters further away from the house, thus keeping it away from the foundation.