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Driveway Drainage Solutions

Four ideas for solving driveway drainage problems

Huettl Landscape Architecture
Walnut Creek, CA
Since this driveway slopes towards the house drainage solutions, including a trench drain and permeable pavers, were implemented. Huettl Landscape Architecture in Walnut Creek, CA.

Inadequate driveway drainage can lead to a number of home damaging problems. If you've ever experienced a flooded garage, or water seeping into your home because of a poorly planned driveway you understand. If you haven't experienced this you'll want to keep it that way by making sure you have the proper driveway drainage solutions in place.

Driveway Drainage Solutions:

Driveway Placement & SlopeThe two most effective weapons in combating driveway drainage problems are placement and slope. When installing a new driveway it should be placed in an area of your property that has excellent drainage. If possible, avoid placing your driveway in a low-lying area, or a spot where water typically flows during storms. It is best for a driveway to gently slope away from your home, so that when it rains the water will wash out into the street, or to on-site storm water management. Depending on your property, grading may be necessary to achieve the right slope. If your property has a steep slope you'll find these hillside landscaping essentials helpful.

driveway drain
A trench drain with a decorative grate can become a beautiful part of a driveway's design. Iron Age Designs in Burien, WA.

Driveway DrainsFor some properties, especially those that sit below street level, it's difficult to solve the drainage problem with correct placement and slope alone. In this situation driveway drains will need to be installed. A trench drain, sometimes called a French drain, can be installed where the driveway meets the garage. This type of drain is long and narrow and should run the entire width of the driveway. A trench drain must be covered by a metal grate to keep it free of debris that could clog the pipe. If you live in a very rainy climate, like the Pacific Northwest, consider installing multiple trench drains at different points along your driveway. Decorative grates are available for trench drains that can be used as a unique design element. Smaller site drains can also be used in specific areas of the driveway where water collects.

Visit Iron Age Designs to browse their selection of decorative drain grates.

Landscaping SwalesIf the land on one or both sides of your driveway slopes down toward the driveway landscaping swales may by the right drainage solution. A swale is a shallow depression that is wider than it is deep. Creating a swale along one or both sides of your driveway will provide a place for storm-water to collect and re-enter the groundwater. They will also keep any water draining off the hillside from flowing down your driveway and flooding your garage or home. Swales can be landscaped to look like a creek bed with river rock and water loving plants.

Permeable Paver Driveway

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See how this permeable paver driveway was designed. Find out why permeable pavers were used and how the color selection was made to tie into the other concrete paving on the property.

Permeable PavementsDriveway paving material choices are often based solely off of aesthetic appeal. However, if you are concerned about drainage, you may want to look into permeable pavements. Permeable pavements allow water to pass through openings or voids and return into the soil beneath. Sometimes referred to as porous pavements, permeable surfaces considerably reduce run-off making the likelihood of flooding much lower. There are many permeable paving options that can handle driveway traffic, including permeable pavers, pervious concrete, grass pavers, and gravel.

Related Links

Driveway Placement
Driveway Layout Ideas
Driveway Width
Decorative Borders, Bands & Aprons
Cost of a Driveway