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Dry Well Installation

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

Downspouts and other house drainage systems are common obstacles for new patio projects. The problem is simple: the water needs a place to go. Sometimes downspouts can be extended or repositioned to clear the patio area, and natural drainage routes in your yard can be altered with a swale. But often the best solution is to capture the water and divert it to a dry well in your yard.

A dry well system typically consists of a buried drain tile running from a catch basin at the water source to a collection container some distance away. A basic system is easy and inexpensive to install. In the project shown here, a perforated plastic drain tile connects to a dry well fashioned from a plastic trash can that has been drilled with holes and then filled with stone rubble. Water can percolate into the soil as it makes its way along the drainpipe, while the well serves as a large collection area that drains excess water slowly into the surrounding earth.

How to Install a Dry Well

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    Along the planned route, excavate a 10" wide by 14" deep trench, from the catch basin to the dry well. Line the hole and trench with landscape fabric. Fold the excess over the sides of the trench and hole.

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    Place the drain tile in the trench. Trace the outline of the drain tile onto the trash can side, 3" from the top. Cut a hole in the trash can along the outline using a jigsaw. Use a drill with a 1" bit to drill drainage holes through the sides and bottom of the can every 4 to 6".

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    Place the can in the hole, run the drain tile 2" into the side of the can, and fill the can with large rocks. Check the slope of the drain tile with a level, adjusting the layer of gravel below, if necessary.

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    Position it so the excess water will flow directly into it. Fill the trench with gravel, 1" over the drain tile.

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    Fold the landscape fabric edges over the gravel and fill the trench with the soil you removed earlier. Replace the sod in the trench area. Water the area thoroughly.

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