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My house doesn't have gutters or downspouts, so I'm planning to install them. Parts of the yard also remain wet for days after a rain, so I'm planning to install some kind of drain system in the yard (as well as fill in low spots, address slope, etc) to drain much of the water out to the front of the property.

The downspouts would tie in to the drain system, but should I install them first? Is it necessary for the downspouts to be present in order to tie them into the drains, or would I just need to know their likely locations?

  • If you live in a place where you have excess rainfall, then you may want to conduct water off your property. But we are in a lower precipitation area and we want to promote drainage of water into the soil around our house which is on a slab foundation. – Jim Stewart Jul 17 '17 at 18:13
  • When I say "around our house" I don't mean we want water standing next to the slab. We are on a hill and there is a swale on the uphill (E) side about 4' from the foundation. Forty years ago in Dallas we rented a pier and beam house which was so poorly drained that a 3" deep lake appeared in the crawl space when there was heavy rain. I reported this to the landlord, but I don't know if he ever did anything. One pier and beam house two streets away from us had to have rotted floor joists and flooring replaced at huge expense. Our house faces N on a hill going down to the W. – Jim Stewart Jul 17 '17 at 18:30
  • Our house is a straight gable roof with the ridge N - S, and we have no gutters. The only place I would put a gutter on hour house would be on a portion of the west side which extends over a W-side patio. Right now rain splashes onto the concrete patio. – Jim Stewart Jul 17 '17 at 18:39
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You can do the drain system and gutters/downspouts in either order. Assuming you are installing an in-ground drain system, you'll need to use the appropriate fittings to receive water from downspouts. You will want to install these when you're first burying the drain system, so you don't have to dig it up later to add them.

If you do gutters/downspouts first, you'll just make sure to route your drains so that you have intakes at the right spots. And you'll likely modify the ends of the downspouts slightly so they go straight down into the right spot.

If you do the drain system first, you'll have to place your downspouts such that they can flow into the drain intakes. Also pretty easy to do at installation time.

No matter what order you go, you should have a design for the whole system in mind before you start. The shape of your building and site may constrain both the gutter/downspout system and the drain system in different ways. For example, you may need a certain minimum number of downspouts to handle the expected rain flow.

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