Have you looked at your lawn lately and noticed your gutter downspout sticking out? If you’re wondering whether you can bury your gutter downspout underground, the answer is yes!
Many homeowners have resorted to burying their downspouts. Not only does this look better, but it also keeps water away from the foundation.
If you want to bury your downspout but aren’t sure how to take on this task, we’re here to help. We’ll show you how to bury downspouts so that they blend seamlessly into your garden or yard.
We’ll also cover the pros and cons of burying a downspout, and how deep you should it.
Overall, burying a gutter downspout sounds like a smart idea and an excellent waterproofing solution, but does it have any drawbacks?
Let’s go over the pros and cons of downspout burying so that you can make an informed decision.
- Prevents flooding and erosion around the foundation
- Keeps excess water away
- Rules out cracks and structural issues caused by water
- Eliminates puddles and areas of stagnant water that attract insects
- Improves the aesthetic of the yard
- Recycles water into the ground that supports plants
According to those lists, the benefits of burying downspout drains outweigh the harms. Regular inspections, unclogging, and maintenance will help you avoid the problems and reap the benefits of protecting your home from water damage.
Installing an underground downspout isn’t hard, but it does require some planning and the right tools to get the job done correctly.
Before you follow the below steps, here are the tools you’ll need to prepare first:
- Trenching shovel
- Waterproof tape
- Pick mattock tool
- Hoe tool
- Plastic underground downspout extension kit
Not all yards are the same, so depending on your landscape, you’ll need to decide where the underground downspout will run through. This step involves creating a map for the downspout pipes and determining the best location for them to drain.
When you’re mapping the downspout’s route, position the drain so it can discharge away from your home (by at least 4ft).
You can either drain the water on the street or connect it to a sewer system. If you prefer the latter, you’ll need to get a professional to help you, and you’ll need to get legal approval from your government.
Now you’re going to dig a trench according to the route you mapped for the water to flow in.
Before doing this step, make sure you call 811, which is the national call-before-you-dig phone. You must make this call before digging to know what’s underground and ensure you won’t hit a utility or gas line.
Now that you’re ready, mark your trench path according to the map you drew. You can use paint, chalk, tape, or anything around your house.
Generally, the trench should be at least 12 inches deep. As for the width, depending on the size of your downspout’s extension pipes, leave space for four inches on both sides.
To make digging the trench a lot easier, water the ground the day before you dig it. Watering will moisten the soil and make digging easier. Hard soil, on the other hand, makes it harder to dig.
Use a trenching shovel to dig your trench. If you encounter rough or rocky grounds, use a pick mattock tool to dig through hard ground and cut through roots.
At this point, you’ll have dug your trench, but it’ll contain a lot of loose dirt and soil. Use a hoe to clear the trench and shape your desired path according to the right dimensions.
Finally, use a measuring tape to go over different points of the trench and check that the dimensions are accurate. Ensure that the trench slopes without any flat points. Use the previous tools to correct any imperfections.
If your downspout has an old overground aluminum extension part, remove that first before executing this step.
Connect the new plastic extension to the base of the gutter downspout using waterproof tape or screws. Make sure the extension is the right size and fits correctly.
Now, it’s time to place the downspout inside the trench. Connect your downspout pipes and gently place them in the trench you dug up. Take one last look and make sure everything is secure and in its place.
Now, you’re going to install the drain pipe by connecting it to the downspout. Depending on where you marked the location for the drain on your map, this is where you’ll attach it.
Use PVC or corrugated plastic pipe, with a diameter of at least 4 inches. Connect the drain to the downspout using an elbow joint.
Now that you’ve installed the downspout drain, cover it with gravel. This will filter out any debris and prevent clogging.
The last step is to bury it in the trench. Get your shovel and use it to cover the pipes and the trench with soil. After everything is buried underground, use the shovel and pat the ground down firmly.
Now you’re done! You have a brand new underground drainage system. On the next rainy day, you’ll get to test it and see how good your work was.
The main goal of the downspout is to ensure it handles drainage properly, so it needs to be buried deep enough to ensure effective drainage.
The depth of the trench will depend on two factors. The first is the climate in your area, and the second is the type of soil in your yard.
If you live in a cold area, particularly where it snows in the winter, your trench will need to be deep. The frost line is usually between 36 and 48 inches below the ground. So, you’ll need to dig below the frost line.
Otherwise, if the pipes aren’t deep enough underground, you’ll have to thaw your downspouts during the winter.
Consider the soil type in your yard before digging the trench. If you have sandy or loamy soil, you can bury your downspout at a shallower depth (the average of 12 inches will be okay).
However, if you have clay soil, bury your downspout deeper in the ground.
The reason is that clay soil tends to shift over time due to changes in the moisture level. So, you need to bury the downspout deep enough to prevent it from doing that.
Similar to the downspout, burying the downspout drain depends on several factors such as weather conditions and soil type. However, you should generally bury your downspout drain at 6 feet deep to ensure proper drainage.
Sometimes, you might need to bury it at 10 feet if you have clay soil that doesn’t drain well.
Either way, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional about the depth at which you should bury the downspout drain.
Burying your home’s gutter downspout underground is a terrific way to keep water away from your foundation and other areas around your home. The process involves some work, but with a bit of knowledge and effort, your home can stay safe from water damage.
Burying the downspout also improves your yard’s aesthetic by getting rid of unsightly pipes.
All you need to do is follow the steps in this guide, and you’ll have a new drainage system.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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