Below are important drain system design guide lines, rules, and information:

Foundation drainage and downspout issues are critical
A soggy lawn is annoying, but a flooded basement or crawlspace is expensive and potentially destructive.
Always fix foundation and gutter drainage issues first.

Keep your water on your own property if at all possible
Draining your excess water away to the street or a ditch seems like a simple solution, but it just transfers
your problem to others. Also your lawn, trees, and plants will be healthier if you have created a store of rain
water in the subsoil for your plants to access in dry times. Only after all other options to improve your
drainage and keep the water in your own soil should you send the excess off-site.

Top soil can be made to drain better by adding amenments
If your top soil is mostly clay, or is very compacted, your drainage will be greatly improved by amending the
soil with compost, gypsum, or other organic matter and mixing it in by hand or with a rototiller. In some cases,
you may be able to top dress a nice lawn with sand to improve drainage rather than tilling up your yard.

Garden drainage issues by can also be fixed by raising the plants
Installing a drainage system in a garden might cause the soil to become too dry or interfere with digging or
cultivating. It is also possible to keep you plants from drowning by using raised beds to raise them above the
occasional soggy situation.

Water will flow along the path of least resistance
Water flows downhill, not uphill. Water will flow through loose gravel easier than through tight soil. Water will
flow through a pipe easier that through gravel or soil. Drainage is improved when water can easily flow from
soggy areas to drier areas.

Water can flow into, out of, or through plastic drain pipe or tile
Remember that there are two types of drain pipe: perforated and solid. Perforated pipe has many holes
punched or drilled into it to allow water to enter and exit the pipe. In any drainage system design there is
often water flowing IN through the perforations in a soggy area at the same time there is water flowing OUT
of the perforations in a drier area.
The perforations always go on the bottom. Solid pipe is used in a
drainage system to carry water PAST areas where you do not want to add more water. Most drainage
systems use both types of pipe or tile.

A French drain is simply a trench full of gravel that moves water horizontally
It acts much like a perforated pipe in that it collects water from a soggy area and distributes water to drier
areas. French drainage systems often contain one or more pipes buried in the gravel trench to speed up the
water flow.

A drywell quickly moves water deeper into the subsoil.
The purpose of a drywell is to allow water to enter the deeper subsoil faster and easier. It is simply a hole
dug downward into the subsoil and filled with gravel or a sleeve. A small drywell can be dug with a posthole
digger. A large drywell may use a drum or a precast concrete cylinder as a sleeve.


Designing a drainage system is a bit complex, but fortunately most of the knowledge and techniques are
fairly simple. Please read ALL of the above linked sections before going on to Step Three -
How To Diagram
and Layout a Yard Drainage System
In Step 2 you will find information on:
• How to design and build an affordable drainage system
• French drain and drywell tips for your lawn
• Downspout and foundation drainage fixes
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Lawn, Yard, and Garden Drainage Guide  -  STEP 2
Please first read Step 1:
Lawn and Garden Drainage Guide

Follow the steps linked below to correct most home and yard drainage problems...
Detailed instructions on drainage system components at these links...

How To Design a Drainage System – Step Two

This section will describe both how to design your water drainage system, and maybe how to avoid have to install one at all. Gather your sketch and
notes and let’s get started....

Look at your notes from Step One -
How To Analyze Your Yard Drainage Problems – to see how long it took the different areas of standing water to
disappear and to decide which situation below fits your lawn or garden drainage issue. The links below will take you to specific design and
installation information.

-  If the standing water disappeared in an hour or so - then your lawn, yard, and garden has decent drainage and all you probably need to do is to
fix any Lake Downspout problems

-  If there were no Rainy Rivers (or they disappeared quickly, or ran in an area that is not a problem) – then you can focus on eliminating any
Soggy Lawn Swamps by
improving the yard's top soil drainage, or perhaps installing a French drain or building a drywell to drain your Soggy Lawn
Swamp more quickly. Along with
fixing any gutter downspout drainage problems of course.

-  If you have any rain water collecting next to your foundation – then you will need to correct the slope of the ground next to your foundation first.

-  If your drainage problems are more severe or fit into multiple categories – then you will have to design and install a connected drainage system
utilizing the information below as well as our other
installation instructions.
NOTE: There are a lot of links in the article below. IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE THEM.
Most go to other pages in our Drainage Guide. They allow this complex subject to be presented in a compact form.
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