I have 4 downspouts coming on to the side my house. I wanted to drain water to the front and about 6ft away from my house. The current grading seems level.

With 4 ft spacing and level ground what are my options to move the water away from my house?

  • I was thinking of doing a French drain from the back to the front, but I am thinking it would be overkill right now.

My current proposal is shown below. Are there any suggestions/pros/cons to this design? This is not going to be a trench but a swale so about 1 foot deep from the edge.

  1. My plan was to line the everything with landscape fabric, top soil, river rocks in the trench and patio stones on the sides
  2. Weeds are very prevalent in this area. Research shows I shouldn't use pond liner. Why not?
  • Is landscape fabric counterproductive if it lets water through?



1 Answer 1


In general, the main thing to get fixed first is to have the grade slope away from the house on all sides.

The point of a swale is to slow down runoff and let it soak in, which hopefully makes the "reason not to use pond liner" kinda obvious.

The rain barrel is irrelevant. Cue Chico.

Anything that lets water flow downhill to somewhere else works to take water away at "the end" - not exactly clear where you are going with it "to yard."

Extend the swale to the drainage area; ditch; pipe; connection to the storm drain, garden gnome bucket brigade...

  • 1
    Thank you, the pond liner explanation makes sense, I was thinking I wanted the water to soak in away from my house. The "to yard" was going to be to a drainage area 6ft away from the house. I was thinking of a french drain but a just extending the swale seems like a good idea.
    – user160423
    May 11, 2023 at 18:21
  • That's what the slope away from the house is for. But perhaps what you actually want is a ditch leading to a swale "in yard."
    – Ecnerwal
    May 11, 2023 at 18:22
  • @Ecnerwal in this situation I disagree with "no pond liner." We're talking about a 4' space between the houses. 4' is too close to want the water to infiltrate. In this case, I'd want the trench lined with an impermeable membrane, unless the OP is super confident about his house's waterproofing (in which case, why make this post?). Using pond liner on the bottom and sides (not top) of the trench would collect the water without allowing infiltration to the foundation. If the trench was 10' away, different story.
    – Huesmann
    May 12, 2023 at 16:37
  • The question refers to a swale. Read the comment above your comment, @Huesmann
    – Ecnerwal
    May 12, 2023 at 16:49
  • @Ecnerwal putting stones and topsoil in it doesn't really sound like a swale.
    – Huesmann
    May 12, 2023 at 16:53

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