I have a problem with water pooling in front of my house. Between my Sprinklers and the rain there is always a puddle where my lawn meets the street.

The puddle

What do you think is the best way to stop this puddle? I can't reslope the street or regrade my grass. Nor do I want to pay the money to have a professional put a drain in.

I was thinking of drilling some 1" holes and filling them with loose stone or sand. I have never drilled holes in asphalt and I am not sure if this is something I can do with my regular drill.

  • That tire track is a clue - cars are making that area depressed and impermeable - so a natural basin for water to pool in.
    – dbracey
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 20:31
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    You don't want to regrade, nor do you want to put in a drain? Well, those are the two options for correcting this correctly. You could, otherwise, dig a trench and fill with drain rock. This give water more surface area in which to percolate.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 5:32
  • There isn't enough room to regrade. And I do want to put some type of drainage in but something I can do myself, this wouldn't be feasible Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 12:25
  • I'll say two things: 1. the photo is great and 2. don't drill the road - that's damaging to it and you'll likely face a huge fine (or maybe even jail time in some jurisdiction), only make changes to the lawn.
    – sharptooth
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 14:53
  • The puddle doesn't "not drain" because of the road. The problem is that the soil at the surface is saturated or less penetrable by the water. Drilling holes in the asphalt will not resolve this problem. You need to provide a way for the water to penetrate the soil, and that means digging.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:54

6 Answers 6


Most towns/cities will not be too happy with you, if you start cutting up their road. So you'll have to use a method that will be completely on your property.

Dump some dirt

The easiest solution would be to build up the area with a load of dirt. Using a wheelbarrow and a shovel, grab some dirt from another location in your yard. If you can't find a place in your yard to take dirt from, you could always purchase some from a gardening/landscape/home improvement store. Dump the dirt along the edge of the road until your hole becomes a hill, then feather it into the rest of the yard. Plant some grass, and grab one of @dbracey's margaritas and watch it grow.

French drain

A french drain would give the water a place to go.

Start by digging a trench right next to the road about 12" wide, and 12" deep (don't forget to call before you dig, so you don't damage any underground utilities). You want the water to drain away, so you'll want a drop of at least 1/8" for every 1' in length. For example. If the drain will be 20' long, the end of the drain will be 2 1/2" lower than the beginning. Next fill the trench with about 4" of crushed stone, and lay your drain pipe in the middle of the trench. You can use either rigid, or flexible pipe.

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Fill the trench to about 2" from the top with more crushed stone, then finish filling the trench with topsoil. plant grass, and enjoy.

Concrete gutter

If you're familiar with working with concrete, and you like a more finished look. You could install a gutter, along the side of the road.

enter image description here

Just remember, you'll need the gutter to slope so water will run away. It's probably a good idea to install a dry well or other drainage method at the end of the gutter, so the water has a place to go (unless you don't care if you simply move the puddle to your neighbors yard).


You could dig a dry well, which is a pit for water to collect and soak away through. At the same time, you will raise the grade which will further help reduce the problem.

Simply dig the area out to a depth of a foot or two, dump in six inches to a foot of gravel, then re-cover with soil, and have your final grade end up about six inches higher than before.

You could dig along the road in both directions to create a french drain if need be.

  • Dry well / french drain would be the best option but the road extends up to where the grass starts. Underneath the puddle is all road that I would have to slice into in order to install the drain. I think I would need to rent one of those big concrete saws in order to slice a nice line for my drain. Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 21:52
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    Before you go cutting into the asphalt, I would call your municipality and see if that is even allowed, most places won't allow you to cut into their street all willy nilly.
    – Gunner
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 21:58
  • It's asphalt, you can break it out with a pick, but you don't need to - the water will drain off it into the well by itself.
    – dbracey
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 22:18
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    @JamesHackett you would dig up your grass, then replant it over the well.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:53
  • I could do something like this It would have to come as close to the street as possible in order to catch all the water that runs down the street. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:32

First of all, drilling or otherwise changing the road will likely expose you to a huge fine or maybe even jail time in some jurisdictions, all changes should only be made to the lawn.

Now you really want to get rid of that water and do that without major changes. The cheap way would be to utilize the area around the bushes (the ones on the left) for absorbing water.

To do so you could slightly lower the ground around the bushes and then cut and lift the lawn between the road and the bushes and put a pipe there - something like 2-3 inches in diameter, some strong plastic will do - then put the lawn back. This will require a single cut along the pipe axis (so that the grass inflicts minimal disruption), you will then remove some ground under the grass, put the pipe into the hollow and then put the lawn back to cover the pipe.

This will take one shovel, one plastic pipe and I guess 30 to 60 minutes of not very intensive work. The only downside of this method is that now all the stuff that gets spilled onto the road (like gasolene and machine oil) will flow directly to the bushes instead of being absorbed by the lawn.

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    I like this answer... The only thing that I would add is to look out for television cable. Electrical wires are buried deeper down, but cable is usually at about 4" (or less).
    – RQDQ
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 15:42

Is it a public road? If so, then the road, the puddle, and some right away from the edge of the road belongs to your village, city, town, county or state. That puddle is bad for the edge of the road (look at those cracks heading toward it), ask them to fix it. Write a nice letter, or attend a local government meeting.

  • Well, technically it might be the right way, but the entity running the road will likely send some heavy equipment that will do a lot of major changes and the result will not always be neat.
    – sharptooth
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 7:41
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    I am going to try this but I don't think I will have much luck. It usually takes a few years of multiple people complaining before the town does anything. Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 12:20

Go to Home Depot and buy a hammock. Go the the supermarket and get frozen limeade mix and tequila and triple sec. Drink margaritas in the hammock and don't worry about a little puddle along the road, behind the plantings where you can't even see it.

  • 7
    Go to the pet store, buy Koi, stock puddle. Fish will eat mosquito larvae. Resume drinking margaritas.
    – dbracey
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 1:33
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    if it stays pooled for long enough, then yes that is more than enough water.. even my dogs water bowl seems to attract them
    – Steven
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 16:33
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    @Freiheit Aesthetics, having a puddle there all the time doesn't look good. But it also limits functionality, people can't walk or park a car there. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 18:53
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    @Freiheit Why does the OP Need a reason to fix this? Should the community only help people fix things that put them in danger? The OP doesn't want the puddle there, isn't that a good enough reason?
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:36
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    -1 This is more appropriate as a comment than an answer.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 22:02

This Is Not Pea Gravel, which will never settle, it's called fines or fine gravel, 2 to 4 mm. You can build up the lawn with dirt and fight cars to get grass to grow or acknowledge that the roadway is incomplete and treat it as such: shore it up with a few yards of fine gravel. In a rural area, you might be able to sweat talk the municipal material yard officer into helping you out, with that picture.

enter image description here


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