How to Design a Drainage Layout

Drainage problems can cause other problems to occur on a house lot. The water may cause unwanted bugs to invade the yard, or the excess water might make a basement damp or wet. Even if the drainage problems do not cause serious problems, it is annoying to have standing water for extended periods after a rainfall. Create a layout for addressing these drainage problems by simple observation. Do this immediately after a heavy rainfall.

Draw an outline of your yard onto a plywood sheet. Plot any major landmarks, such as trees, low or high spots and garden plots.

Check to make sure your rain gutters are working properly, if you have them, to eliminate false drainage problems. Repair any gutter problems, if necessary.

Wait for a rainstorm where it rains for at least half a day. During the rainstorm, note any areas where the water flows through the yard like a river. Mark these areas with a wooden stake. Mark the placement of the river onto your wood diagram. After it rains, allow the ground to dry out for about two or three hours.

Check around the gutter downspouts. If the water is still standing in a puddle and not draining into the soil, place a stake in the puddle area. Mark the drainage problem on your wood diagram.

Look for any large standing puddles of water in the yard. These areas could be around porches, under decks, by a garden or simply in a low spot. Place a stake inside each puddle and mark the location of the spot on the diagram.

Make a diagram with the proposed solutions to the problem. Build up low spots in the yard with additional soil and compost material. Install French drains: add permeable drain pipes underground for rain gutters to drain into. Add dry wells to rivers in the yard to collect running water during rainstorms. If necessary, build up the foundation around the house so that the ground slopes away from the building, to prevent the water from draining back inside the house or into a basement.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin plywood sheet
  • Pencil
  • Wood stakes
  • Hammer
  • Rain boots
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.