Where To Divert Water

Equally as important as ensuring proper drainage in your yard is deciding where to send that water when it’s being diverted. First off, there are two places that are absolutely off limits for receiving your drain water: someone else’s property and any place near your foundation. Other than that, you have a lot of freedom as to where to place your drain system receptacles.


When it comes to determining where to divert water, your decision may be made for you depending on what you’re actually allowed to do. Before beginning any project that involves digging up part of your yard, it’s important to know where utility lines lie. By simply calling 811, you’ll be put in contact with your local utility companies so they can come to your house and mark utility lines for free. The path of utilities in your yard may determine where your drain can actually go, making the decision a lot easier for you.

Once you’re sure you won’t be slicing through your cable line, you should then ask the city if it’s possible to go with your best option:

Tying to existing storm drains

While it usually requires permission, tying your stream to an existing storm drain provides the safest, surest option. Placing the drain opening at the end of your driveway and using your street’s gutters to guide the stream into the sewer is a hassle-free solution. Simply attach whatever end cap you desire to your drain to make it look good and to keep anything from getting in.

FLEX-Drain-Resource Center-Divert Water-end cap

Just make sure the stream doesn’t go over a sidewalk or anywhere with high foot traffic. This type of constant water flow can cover the area in slippery ice in the winter and slippery algae in warmer weather. If this is unavoidable or diverting to the street is not an option, then you’ve still got some options in your own yard.

Dry wells & aboveground receptacles

Ideally, when diverting a drain stream in your yard, it will end in an area of sandy soil that’s out of site and away from foot traffic. The idea is to allow the water to percolate into the ground without washing away any earth. A simple dry well can be created at the end of the drain line by filling a hole with a bed of coarse gravel beneath a layer of topsoil. If the drainpipe you’re using is perforated with a sock, an easy way to keep dirt out of the pipe is simply to tie a knot on the end of the sock and bury it.

FLEX-Drain-Resource Center-Divert Water-tying sock

If your drain exit ends up in a gravel pit above ground, there’s no reason it has to be an eyesore. Much like a dry creek, gravel pits can be dressed up with river rocks and plants along the edge to make them less conspicuous and allow them to flow with your landscaping.

Other options

If the entire path of your drain is out of the way from foot traffic, it’s possible to leave your pipe exposed above ground. This is the fastest, easiest way to handle drainage. Just make sure you use a solid pipe and place the exit somewhere in a natural area with trees or shrubs. This will act as a natural receptacle for drain water and will promote irrigation for these plants.

Finally, if you already have a water feature in your yard (pond, creek etc.), you might be able to use that as a receptacle for your drain. Just take into account any risk of flooding there may be from introducing more water.

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