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How To Dig A Drainage Ditch

Updated on March 20, 2011

Lawns and gardens need water to survive, but too much water can dampen your efforts. That's especially true if you have a downspout coming off the roof of your home. One heavy rain is all it takes to wash away your lawn or garden! Luckily, there's a very simple solution to fix this; and believe it or not, in most cases it will cost you less than $10.

Before you get started, assess the situation in your garden and choose the area where you want the water to drain. Then measure the distance from the downspout to where you want the water to drain out. This will determine the amount of drain tile you'll need.


flex-a-spout (to simply divert the water)
drain tile (perforated: for a flat area or non-perforated: for a sloping area)
connector attachment (connects drain tile to downspout)
small rocks (from your garden)

Small Problem - Diverting Water

If you have a small problem and simply need to divert the water, then a Flex-A-Spout may be the answer. It costs about six dollars. You simply attach it to your downspout, bend it into place, and the water washes away.
Dig the Trench

For larger problems, you'll need what's called drain tile. It's a tube that comes in 2 types: perforated and non-perforated. Perforated drain tile has holes spaced along the tube, and is designed to distribute the runoff evenly over a flat surface. If you have a sloping backyard, make sure to buy drain tile without the holes.

Place the drain tile on the ground where you want to dig the trench and use a shovel to mark the edge of the plastic tube in the soil. Move the tube out of the way, and dig a trench about 10 inches deep, taking into consideration what you want to plant on top of the pipe (6 inches is plenty of room for grass to grow). Don't forget to check for any buried power lines! Also, dig the trench a bit deeper at the far end of your yard; this will help drain the water naturally away from the house.
Connect the Hose & Lay it in the Trench

Drain tile comes in varying lengths, and the tubes simply snap together. Check the hose for any loose connections or leaks, lay it into the trench, and make sure it's a good fit. 

Attach the Drain Tile to the Downspout

Now you're ready to attach the drain tile to the downspout. This is where the little connector comes in handy. Make sure that the thicker square-shaped end of the connector goes on the outside of the downspout. You may need to cut the connector down to size for a good fit. Once you cut the end, the connector should slide nicely over the downspout. Attach the drain tile tube to the other side of the connector and you're set! 

Bury the Drain Tile

Before you bury the pipe, make sure it's where you want it and that all connections are nice and secure. Then go ahead and dig in and cover it up with dirt, leaving the drainage end open.
Add Rock into the Trench

For the final step, add rock into the drainage end of the trench. This will prevent little animals from getting inside the pipe. Also, by extending the rock out, it will allow the water to flow away from your problem area. Once it's covered, you're ready to plant grass. This year you might even be able to watch it grow!


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      shaniah 7 years ago

      that's cool