Landscape Draining Advice

Effective Landscape Drainage

A landscape design should include plans for landscape drainage. But how do you go about addressing this seemingly complicated part of a design?

Not only does water end up on your property from rain, but also from runoff from the roof of your house. The roof water runs into the gutters which are connected to the leader drains which are the vertical pipes on the outside of your house.

Occasionally, a house is designed so that the water rolls right off the roof onto the foundation stone. Perforated pipe is laid beneath this stone and pitched to lead the water away from the house.

Landscape Drainage Points to Consider

Basically, the idea is to lead the water away from you house and also keep the water from collecting, or pooling, in an area.

So how do you go about doing this properly?

There are a few different ways landscape drainage can be handled.

1. Pitch all water away from the house at a minimum of 2%, or 1/4 inch per foot.

2. In areas where more intricate grading is necessary, create swales. A swale is basically a drainage ditch in the lawn which pitches away. It can be created in a subtle way so that it is not noticeable. It can be narrow or wide.

3. Lead water to a lawn drain. This is a drain box, set a little lower than the lawn. The water enters the drain box. Attached to the box is a solid pipe. The pipe travels for a distance underground and finally surfaces at a desirable area. The pipe should also be pitched properly.

4. Water can go directly into a perforated pipe. An example of where this might be used is in a planting bed. The pipe then connects to a solid pipe and is led away.

There are other ways to deal with drainage issues, such as drainage pits. In addition, hardscape runoff can be reduced or eliminated by designing in a way that is good for the environment. Rain gardens are an excellent way to help with drainage. All of the above methods can lead to a rain garden, which is located at a lower elevation and contains wet site tolerant plants. A rain garden can be quite attractive.


About The Author

Susan Schlenger is a Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. She has been providing design services for 10 years and has worked in various parts of the United States. Her company, Susan Schlenger Landscape Design, is located in the area of Charlottesville, Virginia. You can read more about professional landscape ideas at

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