How can I easily improve drainage without spending a lot of money?

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My patio has small depressions in it, which has always been an issue when it rains. However, I would really like to use the areas around it to plant. No matter how small an amount of water I use, there is no where for the water to drain. I can definately add a rock border in front of the garden. But my main concern/interest is what I can inexpensively do so I don't have to have a flood in the areas pictured afterwards?


I am a total amateur, so please feel free to critique anything, and definately let me know what kind of better pics/views I can share.

q how can i easily improve drainage without spending a lot of money

the brick border on the left does nothing helpful. I am open to replacing it. Not sure how...


q how can i easily improve drainage without spending a lot of money

This is a longer shot(and a little earlier this year. The two large brown pieces of edging is still currently there(in the other pic)

q how can i easily improve drainage without spending a lot of money

This is the other side, the garage is on the right in this pic, out of view. Excuse the mess :). As you can hopefully see, the surrounding grass is the same height as patio, which allows no drainage, if the patio is wet, it just pools up. There are tiny depressions in the patio, which only makes it worse.

q how can i easily improve drainage without spending a lot of money

This is the middle, same thing here. The garden you see is the same height as patio, which again allows no drainage if patio gets wet.

  12 answers
  • Sharon Sharon on Sep 18, 2018

    Where is the water coming from? if its the roof, are there gutters? is there a downspout nearby that is causing water to drain into the area? if so, you can add an extension to the gutter at the bottom, or install an underground extension to have it drain further into the yard. If there is no gutter, consider adding one.

    I would add a border along the tiles/paver patio, and then add a layer of gravel over that top soil. If that doesn't work, consider putting in a french drain along that patio edge. Then I would set the pots on top of the gravel maybe in pots the same color to give it a more cohesive look.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZmctiwpLN4 this would also keep your foundation drier and your basement/crawl space

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfO5Qg21O7Y

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT6ZUWXsYgQ downspout underground ext.

  • Sharon Sharon on Sep 18, 2018

    you are getting water as the area around house is lower than the stones. Go to the garden center and buy crushed stones and bank it around house higher edge by house so water flows away onto the big stones and away from house. On top of crushed stones you can put earth and plant whatever you want. The bags of stones are about $2 each.

  • Sew crazy Sew crazy on Sep 18, 2018

    Sharon is absolutely correct! I saw no gutters, of course the water will go to the low point. Also the pictures of the French drain will help in the second step. That is exactly what I did with our patio and rainwater problem, it helped so much that it solved my neighbors water problems on both sides of me. It was so bad at my house it would come within millimeters of coming in the dining room! Follow her advice immediately.

  • Ilene Ilene on Sep 18, 2018

    Check out what others have suggeste abut gutters drainpipe, drainage in general, etc. My first thought was a French Drain.

    Good luck

  • Prelude Prelude on Sep 19, 2018

    Hi, Everyone who has responded have given great advice. What occurred to me and quite concerned me, in the first & second pictures, I cannot see any of the foundation of your house. I can't tell whether your home is surfaced in a wood product, but regardless you need to direct the water away from the perimeter of your house to prevent damage. I am guessing you already are concerned. Unfortunately it may not be inexpensive to rectify and you may have to remove some of the patio. May-be with help you can do a lot of it yourself and only hire professional help on things you cannot do. And remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.



  • Prelude Prelude on Sep 19, 2018

    I wanted to add, you have a charming home and the location it is situated is beautiful.

  • Grace Grace on Sep 19, 2018

    I would do gutters and dig a small trench to help drain water

  • Sha9597750 Sha9597750 on Sep 19, 2018

    my husband bought 2 1/2 plastic pipe & drilled holes in it. He dug a trench & put small rock & that pipe in on an angle downwards & away from our patio.

    Its been there 5 years and it works fine. No water on our patio now.

    The water drains away along our property line. Eventually it drains into a storm drain at the street curb.

    We were getting about 4” of water when it rained in the winter.


  • Larry miller Larry miller on Sep 20, 2018

    I have added a perforated tube, at my house, wrapped it in garden fabric, to reduce sediment entering the tube, then what's called river rock on top, I still have area to plant without the pool of water. It is also a great way to keep water away from foundation of home.

  • Arnold Christensen Arnold Christensen on Sep 20, 2018

    I see a gutter drain. If there is another gutter drain be sure it does not let the water into this dirt area. Would be best draining into the grass like the one in the pic does ALMOST. :-( I would make sure the area is an inch or two lower than the concrete. Now, dig some holes and put the plants in the ground and I would add more small plants that can grow in the place you put them. No pots in the ground or on top of the soil. Then what ever the length of this area purchase some wood mulch when it is on sale at your Lowes/Home Depot and cover the area. Get rid of the 2x4's with the spacing showing. Personally I would put treated landscaping timbers so that the tops of the timbers would be an inch of so above the concrete surface with the curved sides(2) up and down.


    Before I did all that I would be sure there is a space between the ground surface and the siding. Some of that water is water you see is being wicked behind the siding and into the wood structure behind it holding your walls up. Wood + water = rot eventually.

  • Chris Gignac Chris Gignac on Sep 29, 2018

    Looking at your picture. You have dirt right up against the siding. That is never good. A house inspector wood red flag all the dirt up against the siding. It's a pathway for moisture and bugs. At first the French drain seems like a great idea, but the effects of a French drain are not immediate. If you have a bunch of water the French drain will take it away, but not immediately.

    A sound strategy, would be to get the dirt off from around the siding. Then, try to fix the grade of the soil away from the house.

    • See 2 previous
    • Chris Gignac Chris Gignac on Oct 01, 2018

      A lot of people don’t understand that grading away from the foundation of your house is like a number one basic rule. French drains are wonderful things, but they take time to do their job. Any kind a heavy rain, if you don’t have proper grading that water is just going to sit next to your foundation Until the French drain can carry it away. I think the idea of having to move all that dirt to fix the grade just scares people. Replacing a sill plate or foundation repair be because of water problems is so much more expensive than fixing the grading.

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