Our back concrete patio directs water to a nearby outdoor drain. The drain consists of what seems to be a 5 Inch green PVC pipe with a plastic grate cover that sticks out of the ground a few inches.

The drain pipe goes down into the ground 8 - 10 inches and then turns sharply so that the drain is parallel to the side of our house and going towards the front of the house (presumably exiting out towards the street). I'm not sure where the drain comes out (I've never seen this drain work and it's been clogged since we bought the house.

Since the drain doesn't work, water on the back patio has no where to go (fun fun fun). I need help/advice on how to troubleshoot and correct this before rain season.

I was initially thinking using a hose or auger to see how far down the clog is. But if/when I do find the clog, I'm not sure how to fix it. Dig up the entire pipe?

I was also thinking of pouring water down the drain, trying to loosen it with the hose/auger, and checking the front of our house to see if I can find an exit point.

Any ideas, feedback, assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • Have you tried snaking it out yet?
    – Tester101
    Oct 23, 2011 at 1:02

2 Answers 2


One frequent cause of backups is that a root from a tree or large bush has grown into the pipe. If that's happened to you, you'll need to dig up the clogged area to sever the root and then repair the pipe, or if it's a porous drain pipe, wrap it in a landscaping fabric.

As Tester says, use a snake to see what you can find. You can also measure the distance until the snake gets stuck to get an idea of where you need to dig. Pay attention to any bends you feel the snake making on the off chance it isn't a straight run to the front.

Once you have an idea from one side, I'd fill the drain up with water on a dry day and see if you can find the outlet. Then try snaking from that outlet as well since the clog may be a long one from sediment building up over time. Again, measure the distance, and now you'll have an overall area to check.


Just rent an auger and auger it out; simple to do. Or hire an auger company to do it for you. And yes, the clog should definitely be flushed out of the pipe with water, while augering or after you/they think the clog is broken up.

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