How to Bury Gutter Downspouts

Buried downspouts are more than aesthetically pleasing; they also provide a powerful drainage solution if installed correctly. DIYers installing their own system need to know how to bury gutter downspouts to move water away from their homes properly.

How to Bury Gutter Downspouts

Yard Drainage Experts Share How to Bury Gutter Downspouts

As yard drainage experts with over 30 years of experience installing buried downspout systems, we’re going to share tips every DIYer should know. We’ll cover:

  • When and where to install inline catch basins
  • The type of popup emitter to install
  • How to lay out system
  • How far away water should be discharged

We’re going to give you a lot of helpful tips to show you exactly how to bury gutter downspouts. One of the questions that I get often, how far away do I run my underground buried downspout system? Well, in this article, we’re going to teach you how to safely discharge the water and how far you need to run your underground buried downspout system to set you up for success.

Setting Up Your System on a Slope

Before starting your install, make sure to rent a sod cutter. It’s going to make your job so much easier. You cut the sod and then you take a shovel and you cut it in manageable pieces.

If your yard is very flat, you’re going to need a laser transit to see how far you have to get out before you have enough slope. You want your trench on a 1% slope to increase water velocity. For an example, if you are seven inches deep at the bottom of your pipe, you have to have at least seven inches of drop at the discharge end to empty that pipe.

On this particular installation, the house has a walkout basement, and we are really, really flat. The run is over 100 feet long. We finally ended up with about 10 inches of drop. This way we know we’re going to empty out the pipe.

How to Bury Gutter Downspouts Around Landscaping

You’ll notice all these downspouts that we’re running past all the landscape in the yard. You can put up to four downspouts on a four-inch line, and you can put up to two downspouts on a three-inch line.

Take System Past Landscape Beds

All the runs are different lengths for a reason. We’re trying to get past all these landscape beds that are holding up the water. We’re also trying to get out where we have drop so we can empty the line.

Water will just get hung up on a landscape bed otherwise. You’ll end up with water stuck in the green belt, and you can’t move it. Make sure you take it beyond all the landscape beds. The landscape has a way of holding up the water.

When going underneath a walkway, make sure you don’t just come back up and create this belly where all the shingle gravel and leaves will get trapped. When you’re going underneath a walkway, you’re staying down at that level, and you keep going further out into the yard until you finally daylight. That’s how you’re going to drain the system. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a bunch of shingle gravel getting trapped in that U-shape you create when you go under the walkway and come up. We’re replacing this system for a reason. There were a few things that weren’t done correctly. We need to get them past the landscape beds.

Install Popup Emitter and Catch Basin

You want to ensure that your popup is clean, cleared, and ready when you have a significant rain event. Clear any heavy dirt off of your popup emitters at the installation time. Also, make sure you go with a popup that has a turf restrictor plate. This popup has a big turf restrictor plate, so the grass will grow on the plate and not cover the outlet. The grass grows over the little popups, and then you end up with a flooded basement or a flooded crawl space.

Install inline catch basins about midway on run

Run your inline catch basins about midway on your runs. This way, you have a vented catch basin. If you have a freeze-up during the winter, you’ll end up venting right here. The water still has a way out. That inline catch basin will also catch all the shingle gravel. You can clean it out a couple of times a year with a Shop-Vac. Remember to Shop-Vac the inside of your popup. The popup emitter is the weapon of choice. It doesn’t hold very much water. If you put a big basin at the end of your line and live in the north, you could end up with a freeze-up. Note how we took all the downspouts out past all the landscape. We want the roof water to have a clear path away from the home.

Want More Help with Your Buried Downspout Installation?

French Drain Man’s goal is to make things easy for DIYers by creating helpful how-to videos and providing a one-stop shop for all your drainage supply needs. They also offer professional downspout installation for homeowners that are done right the first time! Whether you’re a DIYer looking for tips on burying gutter downspouts or a homeowner needing full-service downspout installation, French Drain Man has you covered.

Call French Drain Man at: 248-505-3065