Here's pictures of what's happening - taken yesterday (June 1st 2015).

all the ran water from the street goes via my driveway and then runs down to the garage Water pools next to the garage Water runs sideways

I'm struggling with water drainage problems on this old gravel driveway.

When it rains - all the water streams from the street then pool next to the garage and only then runs to the side of the property.

In the spring, water runoff is stronger - so my garage has been flooded...

Could you advice what do I install along the road to prevent water from coming in? Just add more gravel?

P.S. also - gravel seems to be so old - it's not porous anymore - it's literally fused into the ground

  • Re: PS - that's old asphalt from the pictures and description, not gravel. The tar wears off the surface of the aggregate over time, but the tar between the aggregate is what makes it "not porous" and "fused to the ground"
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:29
  • @Dannyboy How does the water flow past your driveway? If you were able to stop the water from coming in your drive would the water continue down the street?
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:34
  • @Dano0430 yep. I believe so.
    – Dannyboy
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:43
  • @Ecnerwal haha. I was wondering if that's what it was. I think u're right - that's an old asphalt.
    – Dannyboy
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:44
  • @Ecnerwal nope - it did turned out to be just gravel, not asphalt. I've asked neighbors who lived there since 1965 (and my house was build in 1970) - this house never had asphalt driveway. I even tried digging it - i could albeit slow - it literallly really old gravel literally fused with dirt.
    – Dannyboy
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


It looks like your land sits a little lower than the adjacent roadway. It would be a cost but if you pave the first 10 ft of your driveway you can make a little berm with that pavement. Since pavement is non-porous the amount of water to overcome a couple of inches of slope would be substantial. Yet those same couple of inches will not be much to drive over. You really only need 0.5% slope for a couple of feet. While your gravel seems solid it likely has enough space between the rocks for water to pass through. If there is storm sewer nearby you could also look into installing a trench drain. Though that would perform better if your driveway was paved. The water would have a tendency to go around the drain and wash out the soil at the edges. Some interesting links Pennsylvania Code has good stuff on the driveway slopes. This picture is from their site.Driveway Apron Slope

This is a trench drain.

Trench Drains

  • 1
    I really like the trench drain idea. There is a storm runoff area right to the right of the driveway actually afaik. The very next lot.
    – Dannyboy
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:53
  • If that's the case then you can check with the local municipality or county to get permission to tie into their system. They may have requirements such as pipe size and type. If you can use at least a 4" pvc pipe 6" is better. If they require concrete 12" is the smallest I've seen by me. You can try to sell them on the slope. Your yard is sloped the wrong way so you need the pvc because there is less friction. (It has a lower manning's coefficient if you want to surprise them :-P ) You may have to check for or obtain easements too.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:06
  • Anyway - I've arranged for paving a driveway and they will add a little bump where road collides with a driweway. It should slope to the right too - so we'll see what happens. Asphalt paving should only cost 4200$ so whatever.
    – Dannyboy
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 2:37

You need to give the water a path that's more attractive (ie, lower) than your driveway. With your driveway being considerably lower than the road, it's currently the attractive path. If you only build up your driveway, you'll create a pond on the left side of the driveway since your lawn is also lower than the road.

If the ultimate place the water goes (ie, the low spot, drainage path) is off to the right of your driveway, you need to provide a path to that point. This can be a wide, shallow ditch (or swale) that you can run the lawn-mower in, (that is, such a wide shape that it's not something the mower gets stuck it, but something that can be mown) and drive through where it crosses your driveway, or it can be a deep, narrow ditch with a pipe in the bottom and crushed stone on top. You can also have a swale everywhere but the driveway and a culvert (pipe) where it crosses the driveway.

It does not look like you can raise the driveway much without exceeding the height of the garage floor, so other than reshaping the driveway so that any water on it runs off to the right, you should be mostly digging down to get water moving away from the garage rather than building up.

If making a swale, it's well worth cutting the sod, rolling it back, digging the swale, and rolling the sod back on - the grass limits erosion, and sod (which is already there, if you just cut it) is a lot easier than getting seed started in a swale.

  • A swale would work best when the water has somewhere to go. A rain garden might be a better option as it's designed to get the water into the ground quickly after a rain event. It would also not need to be mowed as it's essentially a flowerbed.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:37
  • @Dano0430 The water ultimately "runs to the side of the property" which implies that there is a place it goes, off to the right.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:43
  • I mean somewhere like a creek nearby. The challenge with just making a ditch/swale is that he'll have more standing water after a rain. That problem is mitigated using the right plants. The root type in the right soils can help water to sink into the ground. Then he would rarely be fighting the muck while trying to mow. If there is indeed somewhere for the water to go then great.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:01
  • @Dano0430 Letting water soak into the ground is part of the function of a swale. You mow it when it's dry. Follow the swale link for more info.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:03
  • True but a rain garden does it faster and better. Link to rain garden brochure kendallville-in.org/pdf/ms4/rain_garden_benefits.pdf No link btw.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:07

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