How to Build a DIY Rain Drainage System
DIY Projects

How to Build a DIY Rain Drainage System

As a homeowner, you most likely don’t think about your gutters very often. But the truth is, they play an important role in protecting your home from water damage. But even if you take care of regular gutter cleaning and gutter maintenance, it’s only as effective as the drainage system that directs the water away from the house. If your drainage system is inadequate, water can pool around your foundation, seep into your basement, or cause other problems. That’s why ensuring your drainage system is up to par is essential. But we’ve got you covered. Here are some easy-to-follow step-by-step tips on how to build a DIY rain drainage system.

Different Types Of Rainwater Drainage

Downspout Drain Line

Gutters collect the rainwater from the roof, and downspout channels lead the water from the ceiling downward. That’s why it is vital to pay attention to regular gutter cleaning, gutter maintenance, and gutter repair.

But simply directing the water down from the roof is not enough. A downspout drain line is a simple way to run water away from your home and foundation and to prevent flooding and water damage.

Channel Drain

The channel drain collects water from your driveway and moves it into the same line as the downspout drain line, away from the house.

French Drain

The French drain is basically a perforated pipe surrounded by gravel (or a ready-made French drain pipe) that collects subsurface water from any low spot in your yard.

So the first thing is to make a clear plan and decide where you want to drain excess water. This can be just a critical area on your property where you see rainwater collecting or a general complete rain drainage system.

Gather Your Materials

For your DIY rain drainage system project, you need a perforated drain pipe with at least 6” in diameter for a French drain, a catch basin, gravel, landscape fabric, and a drain outlet.

Instead of using gravel and landscape fabric for a French drain, you can also use a ready-made “quick-and-easy” drainage pipe.

For the downspout and channel drain line, you also need a solid PVC pipe, a drain grate, and some fittings. You will also need tools, such as a shovel, a tape measure, a level, ground-marking spray paint, a saw to cut the PVC pipe to length, and some PVC cement to glue the pieces together.

Once you have all your materials, you are ready to start building.

Mark The Trenches On The Ground

To determine where to dig the trenches for your DIY drainage system, you’ll need first to assess the lay of the land. For the French drain, look for areas where water tends to pool or puddle after a rainstorm. These are usually low-lying areas or places where the ground is sloped. You’ll want to dig your trenches along the perimeter of these areas so that the water can drain away from your home or other structures.

Once you’ve identified the areas where you’ll be digging, use ground marker paint spray to mark the trench lines.

When you’re finished marking out the trenches, you’re ready to start digging!

A Word Of Caution!

Before digging any trenches, you must ensure you don’t damage any utility lines, such as gas, water, electricity, or phone lines, on your property.

So it’s always best to be on the safe side and to call your local utility company and have them mark any underground lines in your yard.

Step-by-Step Instructions For A DIY French Drainage

  1. Excavate a trench around the area’s perimeter to be drained. The trench should be about 6 inches wide and 12 inches deep.
  2. Place the catch basin at the lowest point in your yard.
  3. Line the trench with gravel.
  4. Install a perforated drain pipe in the trench. The drain pipe should be slightly sloped so that water can drain away from the area to be drained.
  5. Cover the drain pipe with more gravel.
  6. Install a layer of filter fabric over the gravel.
  7. Cover the filter fabric with soil.
  8. Connect the pipe to the sewer cleanout or to a pop-up emitter.

As mentioned, if you use ready-made French drain pipes, you can put the pipe directly into the trench without the gravel or landscape fabric.

Step-by-Step Instructions For A DIY Downspout Drainage

  1. Find the location of your main sewer cleanout.
  2. Place the catch basin at the low point in your yard, and close to the downspout channel.
  3. Dig a trench from the cleanout to the point where you want your downspout drain line to end. The trench for the pipe should be about 6 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the drain pipe. You can also use a pop-up emitter if you can’t connect your drainage to the sewer cleanout.
  4. Place the drain pipe in the trench and connect it to the cleanout. Make sure the pipe is sloped so that water will flow toward the cleanout.
  5. Test your system by running water from a hose through the downspouts before covering it up. Check for any leaks or blockages. 
  6. Cover the trench with soil and pack it down firmly.
  7. Connect your downspouts to the drain line. Ensure they are secure so they will not come loose during a rainstorm.

Building a DIY rain drainage system may seem daunting, but it’s actually not too difficult. All you need is some tools, some basic materials, and a little bit of know-how. And if you have any problems or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Photo by Matty Sievers on Unsplash

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