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How to install a perforated drainage pipe

Perforated drainage pipe allows water to collect from one area of the landscape and be directed to another location for proper drainage. Often, this is done for drainage away from a house for rainwater for gutters, wet areas in low spots of the yard or away from building foundations. Proper slope of the perforated drainage pipe is important for optimal drainage.

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  1. Dig a trench roughly twice the width of the drainage pipe and at least 2-feet deep with a shovel. To ensure that the drainage pipe does not freeze, dig deep enough so the drainage pipe will be below the frost level in your area. Cut out roots as needed so the pipe can be placed straight, or only slightly curved, in the trench.

  2. Use a small sledgehammer to install stakes every four feet along the trench.

  3. Tie a string to the stake at the location where the water will enter the perforated drainage pipe.

  4. Tie the string to the next stake in the trench. Use a line level to level the string between the stakes. Move the string down on the second stake ½ inch or more. Repeat for each consecutive stake in the trench.

  5. Starting from the beginning of the trench, use a tape measure to measure the distance from the string to the bottom of the trench and add or remove soil as needed to maintain a consistent distance from the string the entire length of the trench.

  6. Use a tamper to compact the soil between the stakes. Check the distance from the bottom of the trench to the string after replacing soil and compacting with the tamper and adjust as needed to maintain the correct distance.

  7. Remove the string and pull out the stakes.

  8. Place landscaping fabric in the trench to prevent soil from entering the gravel around the perforated pipe.

  9. Add 2 inches of gravel to the base of the trench and level with a garden rake.

  10. Place the perforated pipe in the trench with the holes facing down.

  11. Fill the trench with gravel to within 4- to 6-inches of the soil line.

  12. Wrap the edges of the landscape fabric over the top of the gravel.

  13. Replace the soil and sod on top of the landscape fabric.

  14. Tip

    Place a screen over each end of the pipe to prevent soil and animals from entering the pipe.


    Contact your local municipal office before digging to find out if any underground utilities are located in the area you plan to excavate.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Small sledgehammer
  • Stakes
  • String
  • Line level
  • Tamper
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Garden rake
  • Perforated drainage pipe

About the Author

Emily Patterson

Emily Patterson has been creating content for websites since 1996. She specializes in home improvement, natural body care and natural cleaning articles. Patterson holds a computing certificate from Penn State University.

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