Planning Your Drainage System for a Beautiful and Functional Landscape


When it comes to landscaping, most people focus on things like choosing the right plants or creating the perfect outdoor living space. However, one of the most important aspects of a beautiful and functional landscape is drainage. If you don't plan your drainage system properly, you could end up with a soggy, unattractive yard or even damage to your home's foundation.

Assess Your Property

The first step in planning your drainage system is to assess your property. Look for areas where water tends to accumulate after a rainstorm. These could be low-lying areas or spots where the soil doesn't drain well. Take note of where water flows on your property, and identify any areas where it could cause damage.

Create a Site Map

Once you have a good sense of your property's drainage needs, create a site map. This should include all the major features of your property, such as your house, patio, and any existing landscaping elements. Mark the areas where you need to address drainage issues, and identify the best places to direct water flow.

Consider Different Drainage Options

There are many different types of drainage systems you can use, depending on your property's specific needs. Some options include:

  • French drains: These are trenches filled with gravel and a perforated pipe that directs water away from your home.
  • Trench drains: These are similar to French drains but are designed to handle heavier water flows.
  • Grading and sloping: This involves changing the slope of your yard to direct water flow away from problem areas.

Plan for Retaining Walls

If your property has steep slopes or you need to redirect water flow in a specific direction, retaining walls can be a great solution. Retaining walls are structures built into the landscape that hold back soil and prevent erosion. They can also be used to create additional flat spaces in a sloped yard.

Hire a Professional

If you're not confident in your ability to plan and install a drainage system yourself, it's a good idea to hire a professional landscaper. A professional can help you identify the best drainage solutions for your specific property and ensure that the installation is done correctly.

Choose a Qualified Contractor

When hiring a professional, make sure to choose someone who is qualified and experienced. Look for a contractor who is licensed and insured, and ask for references from previous clients. Make sure to get a written estimate that includes all the details of the project, including the cost for materials and labor.

Work with Your Contractor

When working with a contractor, make sure to communicate clearly and ask questions if you don't understand something. Make sure to agree on a timeline for the project, and discuss any potential issues that may arise. You should also make sure to get any necessary permits for the project before work begins.

Maintenance and Upkeep

After your drainage system is installed, it's important to maintain it properly to ensure that it continues to function correctly. This can include regular inspections to make sure that the drainage pipes are clear of debris and functioning correctly. It can also include regular lawn care, such as mowing and fertilizing, to ensure that your yard stays healthy and doesn't become waterlogged.

Annual Checkups

It's a good idea to have your drainage system inspected annually by a professional. They can ensure that the drainage pipes are working correctly and make any necessary repairs. They can also check the grading of your yard to ensure that water is flowing away from your home and not causing any damage.

Regular Maintenance

You should also take steps to maintain your drainage system throughout the year. Make sure to clear any debris, such as leaves and grass clippings, from drainage pipes and structures. Regularly check the soil in your yard to ensure that it's not becoming too compacted, which can prevent water from draining properly.


Planning your drainage system may not be the most glamorous part of landscaping, but it's essential to creating a beautiful and functional yard. By assessing your property, considering different drainage options, and working with a professional landscaper, you can create a drainage system that not only looks great but also protects your home and yard from damage.