Landscape Drainage DIY

Updated December 21, 2016

Soft, wet spots in your lawn may be an indicator that you need to work on the landscape drainage. Improper water drainage can not only cause problems in the lawn, it can also create problems around the foundation of your home. In some instances you can fix the problem by simply moving some dirt. In other cases you may have to install some landscape drainage pipes such as a French drain.

Simple Landscape Drainage Solutions

Walk around your property after a soaking rain. Take note of any spots that are extra soft underfoot. These can indicate areas that have water drainage problems.

Pay particular attention to the area around the foundation of the house. If there are any soft spots or areas with standing water near the foundation, try to determine if it’s from the ground runoff or if the problem is from a faulty gutter or downspout. If the gutter is the problem, it’s a simple thing to rehang the trough or redirect the downspout. If the problem isn’t the gutter, you may need to build up the dirt around your house to allow for better water drainage.

Some water drainage problems relate directly to the type of soil on your property. To solve the problem try putting a light top dressing of fine sand on the soggy spots to see if that helps. If the top dressing doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to work the sand into the soil.

Look at the slope of your property. You may need to build up some areas while lowering others to get the drainage you need. Water drainage should go underground on your property whenever possible rather than running into a neighbour’s lot or onto public property. You may be able to drain excess runoff into a low, sandy spot that can handle the extra water. In all likelihood, you will need special permission to allow runoff onto public property.

Install Underground Drainage

If simple solutions to landscape drainage problems don’t work, you may need to install underground drainage pipes. One common solution is to install a French drain. This allows water on the top of the ground to run into a perforated, flexible plastic underground pipe. This type of set-up essentially buries the water deeper into the ground where it can provide benefit to trees and plants. To determine the proper runoff for a French drain, figure on a 1 per cent grade.

Depending on the amount of pipes necessary and the total set-up, adding a French drain may require digging below the freeze line to lay the pipes. Unless you have experience with a backhoe tractor, you may want to leave the creation of an underground drainage system to a professional.

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About the Author

Denise Brown is an education professional who wanted to try something different. Two years and more than 500 articles later, she's enjoying her freelance writing experience for online resources such as and other online information sites. Brown holds a master's degree in history education from Truman State University.