I have an issue with a small area of my lot collecting a couple inches of water pretty much any time it rains. It takes it a few days before the water finally evaporates or soaks into the yard.

I have been trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. I have thought about putting in a drain to take the water to the back side of the house where the is a slope down into a drainage ditch. What I am struggling with is the idea that when I run my sprinkler system in the summer, the drain would be taking some of the water I paid good money for and just throwing it away.

Here is a rough drawing of what the lot looks like. It is sloped towards the drainage ditch with the house being elevated slightly.

enter image description here

So, what is the proper way to deal with something like this?

  • How steep is the slope? What else is downhill from the wet spot? For instance, are there gardens anywhere? If there isn't too much water, you might just run a French drain "northeast" on your diagram, perhaps with a path over it for aesthetics. If you have enough slope, you can run it so that most of the water stays within the property. Just a guess - I'm no landscape arkytekt.
    – Ed Staub
    Feb 14, 2012 at 0:00
  • It is fairly level along the side of the house and then probably a 15 foot drop from the back of the house to the drainage ditch. It is all grass that whole path. What about the part about not liking the idea of having sprinkler water being taken away during the seasons that we need to water?
    – Kellenjb
    Feb 14, 2012 at 1:01

1 Answer 1


This is only an idea. Most landscapers can help you with this issue and could provide better advice as they can be on site to check grading. The solution you need should have these characteristics:

  • keeps water away from the house
  • should keep sprinkler water on the property
  • should allow high volumes of water to leave the property

enter image description here

Your friend is four inch perforated drain pipe with a sleeve. Once you dig a trench and line it with crushed gravel and drain pipe it should be able to deal with substantial quantities of water.

Keep in mind that sprinklers and torrential rain are two quite different scenarios. When you water the lawn the low velocity should keep the water within 4 inches of the surface. It will spread out and be absorbed.

Flash floods, rainstorms and weather that only happens once in a hundred years need a more robust solution. The drainage swale near the ditch can be constructed several ways depending on the kind of weather you anticipate. You could terminate the drainpipe in the ditch and assume that most water will be absorbed over the run of the pipe. Or you might want to keep as much water as possible. If this is the case you could use the method I have illustrated and bring the pipe up to the surface in a small depression. Water might pool here but should be absorbed. If a huge amount of water comes down it will overflow into the ditch.

As a last point, with Valentines Day coming up you may be wondering what to get that special someone. Give them peace of mind! Nothing better than a hundred feet of drainpipe to let you rest easy when a hurricane comes through... enter image description here

EDIT @kellenjb I placed the drain away from the house out of simple caution. I don't know the amount of grade away from the house or the amount and kind of rain you receive in your area. You could place the drain as close as four or five feet away from house (ie; the depth of the eaves) but if you are going to go to the trouble of digging why not be safe?

  • One minor addition: if it's at all likely, I'd consider something to minimize erosion from the swale overflow.
    – Ed Staub
    Feb 14, 2012 at 3:06
  • Quite right Ed! But that would have to be determined by local conditions. You could use grass for low overflow volumes, or a more industrial solution is four to six inch diameter rock on top of landscape fabric lining a three foot wide shallow trench which slopes to the ditch
    – kevinskio
    Feb 14, 2012 at 11:55
  • Thanks for the advice! I had never considered running a swale across the length of the backyard. I had only ever considered dumping it directly into the ditch. I very much like this idea! I do have one question though. You show the drain going almost out to the property line before running it back toward the back yard. Was this just to keep the drawing simple or is it to keep water away from the house? If it is to keep water away, is there any general rule of thumb of how far I should keep it away?
    – Kellenjb
    Feb 14, 2012 at 18:20
  • @kevinsky love the humor. hilarious!
    – Danger14
    Apr 14, 2015 at 17:26

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