I have a drainage issue in my back yard that we've dealt with for years. I have a few ideas, yet I thought I'd post one to see if it will work first.

We live in a typical SoCal track home surrounded almost entirely by cement installed by the previous owner. There are a number of drainage issues on the property that are hard to remedy since there is so much cement. With careful planning these issues could have been avoided in the beginning, but now I'm having to deal with them. That and staying within a reasonable DIY budget makes this a real challenge.

We just had our patio cover rebuilt and don't want a previous issue returning when we get a major rain. The problem was the bottom of the wood columns sitting in a few inches of water long enough on and off over the years to get saturated and eventually split and rot, not to mention water and dirt rings left on the concrete after the water finally dries.

Our patio cover's cement has a brick border. The problem is where a small grass area meets that border as they slope toward each other leaving an area for water to sit sometimes for a day or two after a serious rain. That same area is where the patio cover's columns are. To install a drain that would go out to the street would never happen taking into account the huge amount of cement that would have to be cut to allow this. The distance and what's in between would just make it a nightmare. I don't mind a project that takes a few days, but I'll move before I need to put that much work in this.

I'm considering a two stage project, one, having a gutter installed at the rear of our house and divert that water into a rain barrel (or two if necessary). Since water will still be coming off the patio cover's roof and excess from the pool in the summer the second stage would be digging a 2 1/2' - 3' trench along the grass where it meets the brick border. Then either simply filling it to the top with stone or filling it with stone, less about 4" and installing a trench train and cover that would allow the water to percolate straight down into the stone. My question is how much water could this second project handle and will it percolate down fast enough? Could it actually handle all of the water and forget the gutter and barrel all together saving me money? Yes I know a rain barrel's a great idea, but even that area where it would sit is tight, let alone two.

Just as a note, the soil (under the 4" or so of top soil) we have here is more like sand and rocks, hardly soil in my book. In a flat normal area it would take water like a champ and drain very quickly, but the problem area I'm writing about above really puts it to test.

Also, the grass area is triangular, roughly 15' on each side.

Sorry about the long winded post, but I wasn't sure what details would be needed. Hope I've provided enough.

Thanks for any help or advise.

  • Can you post pictures, if this hasn’t been resolved? Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Sounds like it will be a lot cheaper and easier to create a drain field in your grassy area.

Good luck!

  • 2
    Web search for "dry well" for the simplest kind of drain field. Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 0:11

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