How to Build a Rain Gutter Drain Bed

Home gutter systems typically drain through a downspout onto splash-rocks arranged underneath. The splash-rocks allow the water to remain around the foundation of the house. Water buildup around the foundation allows moisture to seep into basement walls and also causes erosion leading to wet basements. Build an underground drainage system for the guttering that directs the rainwater to a remote location that is designed to allow it to drain safely. This project does not require experience and the tools are found in most homes’ garages. The project takes one full day of hard work.


Things You’ll Need

  • Wood stakes
  • String
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Small gravel
  • PVC pipe 4-inch diameter
  • PVC elbow joint, 4-inch
  • PVC cement
  • Drainpipe connector

Plot a direct line, pointing away from the house, from the drainage system downspout across the lawn to the spot where the drainpipe will empty out. Avoid plotting the drainpipe route where trees, large shrubs or other obstructions prevent digging a trench into the ground.

Mark the drainpipe pathway by hammering a wood stake into the ground at the downspout and at the exit point. Stretch a length of the string from one stake to the other.

Remove any obstructions along the path of the string line that prevents the digging of the trench.

Use a shovel to dig a trench that is 12 inches wide and at least 8 inches deep along the string-line. Slope the trench 1/4-inch for every foot of the path taken by the drainpipe.

Spread small gravel evenly 2 inches deep along the bottom of the trench.

Lay 4-inch diameter PVC pipe from the downspout to the spot where the drainpipe exits. Ensure that the drainpipe is resting evenly on the gravel.

Brush one end of a PVC elbow joint with PVC cement, according to label directions, and fit a drain connector onto it. Drain connectors are available at home-improvement stores to fit rectangular downspout pipes on one end and different sizes of round pipes on the other end.

Spread PVC cement onto the end of the elbow joint and connect it to the 4-inch round drainpipe lying in the trench.

Dig a hole approximately 2 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep at the drainpipe exit spot. Shovel 4 inches of gravel into the hole to slow down the flow of water and maintain even drainage.

Shovel 2 inches of gravel gently over the drainpipe and cover it with dirt. Return the excavated dirt over the gravel and place sod over the dirt.

Tips & Warnings

Remove sod in square chunks when digging the trench, then replant the chunks them when filling in the trench. Keep the sod wet while working on the drainage system.

Contact local utility companies to ensure there are no cables or lines running through the area where the trenches are dug.

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