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How to Make a Soakaway Drain

Updated February 21, 2017

A soakaway drain is a large hole in a yard or garden that you install at the lowest point to drain excess water from the soil surface. A soakaway is one of the simplest methods of improving a waterlogged yard, which can lead to root rot in your plants or structural water damage in your home's foundation. Once you install the soakaway drain, install drainage pipes leading to the soakaway.

Find the lowest part of your landscape and insert a garden stake to mark where the soakaway drain will go. The spot must be at least 16 feet from any buildings to prevent water from collecting around the foundation.

Lay down perforated drainage pipes along the yard. Start the pipes at the location of the soakaway and radiate them from that point. Lay one pipe every 3 to 5 feet. Dig trenches under each pipe. Each trench starts at 15 inches deep at the end of the pipe and fall at a rate of 1/2 inch every 3 feet as you approach the soakaway area.

Excavate the soakaway. Make it a square hole between 4 and 6 feet deep and 3-by-3-feet square. The trenches will empty into this hole. Fill the hole three-quarters of the way with large rocks.

Lay down 1 inch of gravel along the bottom of the drainage trenches and fill the soakaway with gravel until it is 6 inches from the top edge of the hole. Move the perforated pipes into the trenches and cover them with gravel. Fill the trenches the rest of the way with topsoil, and fill the soakaway the rest of the way with topsoil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden stake
  • Perforated drainage pipes
  • Shovel
  • Large rocks
  • Gravel
  • Topsoil
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on GreenDaily.com and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.