Contrary to popular belief, plumbing isn’t just for inside your home. If you have a yard or landscape drain on your property, you have a separate and equally important plumbing system outside. And just like your indoor plumbing and appliances, a yard drain requires regular maintenance to keep it working properly. In this article, we’ll explain how you can clean out the yard drain yourself.
Purpose of yard drain – and how it works
A yard drain is usually installed to manage water on the property. This approach can move water away from the foundation of the home to prevent indoor flooding or water damage. It can also be designed to prevent standing water and the lawn from being soggy.
No matter the purpose, the lawn drain will work in a similar way. A catch basin is installed under the ground at a low spot on the property (where water will naturally flow due to gravity). Over the catch basin, a grate is usually placed to prevent large objects from fall through and causing a blockage in the drain.
Once runoff water falls into the catch basin, it is directed through drain pipes to its predetermined destination, which could be a storm sewer, retaining area, dry well, or drainage field.
Why maintenance is important for a yard drain
Even with the presence of the catch basin grate, it’s not just water that ends up in the yard drain. It’s only a matter of time before leaves, sticks, rocks, and other debris can collect and cause a clog. When this happens, the entire system will get backed up and water can eventually flood the catch basin and surrounding area.
Steps for cleaning out the yard drain
- Find the catch basin and remove the cover. You may need a screwdriver to take off the grate, or it may pry off easily with your hands.
- Remove debris in the catch basin. Using your hands, a small tool or scoop, or a shop vacuum, reach down into the drain and gather any foreign material that doesn’t belong down there.
- Clean out the discharge area. First, you have to know or find out where the drain pipe goes and the water is discharged. Once you find this area, do the same thing you did for the catch basin – remove any debris that could be stuck in the pipe or blocking the water from releasing.
- Flush the system. Once you think the basin and discharge area is as clear as possible, use a hose to run water through the system to flush out any remaining sediement or loose debris. Let the water run until you see that the water coming out of the discharge pipe is clean and clear.
- Put everything back together. If all goes well and the yard drain is unobstructed and clean, you can place the grate back on the catch basin and return your yard to how you like it.
When to call a professional plumber
In some cases, a yard drain can get so clogged that you may need a more powerful solution. A plumber will have professional-grade equipment such as a motorized drain auger or high-pressure water jet that can reach deeper into a yard drain and break up extra-stubborn blockages.