Drainage Basins

Part II. Drainage Basin Installation

Back to part I.

You will need the following tools for drainage installation:

  • shovels
  • picks
  • a PVC or hacksaw
  • duct tape
  • a transit or level

If you need a trencher, it should have a minimum 6-inch-wide capability. The actual installation of drainage consists of six simple steps:

  1. Identify and mark absolute low spots. Use a transit and level if possible. Although you will most likely already know which areas need drainage, it's important to place the drain in exactly the lowest spot.
  2. Identify a lower area for pipe outlets. Woods, lakes, gutters or other suitable areas are appropriate. The pipe outlet must always be at the lowest point of the entire drainage system. Avoid drainage into a neighboring shrub or flowerbed, parking lot or any area that will cause a new drainage problem. Be practical and send your unwanted water to an appropriate place.
  3. Mark your lines and catch-basin holes. After you mark the areas that need drainage and locate a suitable outlet, find and mark the most appropriate places to run the pipe.
  4. Dig the necessary trenches and holes. Trenches should be deep enough to provide at least 8 inches of cover over the pipe and a clean, level and compacted base along the entire length. Check the trench with a level to make sure it's falling in the right direction and does not have any dips. Drainage pipe doesn't require the same degree of slope that surface drainage does, although a 1- or 2-percent slope throughout the system will provide effective drainage. As long as the pipe outlet is the lowest part of the system and you've avoided dips in the trenches, the water will eventually drain.
  5. Install the drain system. You should install catch basins wherever necessary, making sure that the finished level of the drainage grate is in the absolute lowest spot of the area it drains. If it is even an inch above grade, a puddle will form around the grate. Therefore, it's a good idea to install grates slightly below the finished grade-perhaps 0.25 to 0.33 inch below grade. Another way to prevent the area around the grate from remaining soggy is to drill holes in the riser near the grate. Then backfill around the pipe with 3/8-inch pea gravel so water can seep into it. Assemble pipe and fittings together in the trenches, being careful not to cause cave-ins. As you cut pipe, remember to remove all filings and burrs. Wrap wide PVC or duct tape around all fittings and pipe-to-pipe connections to provide extra strength at these junctures.
  6. Backfill and pack the trenches.

Related Topics: drainage, slope, french drains

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