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Footing drain pipes

Poliana | Posted in General Questions on

Hello everyone,

I have 6 pipes coming out about 20 feet from my house. They are situated around my house in my backyard.  Two are from the footing drain and another four  from the gutters. From my experience the pipes should be connected to a main one and the main one to a dry well. 

The pipes were installed by the builder who built the house.

Thank you

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    The method used by your builder is called "draining to daylight." This method is common, and is far superior, in every respect, to the use of a dry well.

    1. Poliana | | #2

      Yes. I know the method is called daylighting. I was talking about the ends of the pipes that are around my house. They shouldn't drain further than around my house. My backyard is a pool.

  2. RobInNorCal | | #3

    Drainage is an...Interesting topic, @Martin: if you don't have a good drainage plan in place before backfill, you WILL live in interesting times!

    I'm just going through the design for my North Bay, California house to see if the 'daylight' design the civil engineers came up with makes sense. Basically, my house needs room for about 200 cubic feet of water (1,500 gallons) per inch of rainfall; easy enough if it's a light steady rain, not so easy if it's a 2-4 inch rainy season dump. Rural lot, so no storm drains; I have to distribute this water around the property. I am revisiting the engineer's design that calls for a single energy dissipation rock-lined 'rain garden' (what Poliana is calling a 'dry well', I suspect); I think I'll be better off spreading the water over a much wider area, so looking at digging 3-4 smaller pits 30-50 feet apart.

    Are there 'rules of thumb' for this aspect of homebuilding? I don't think I've ever found any online.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #4

      Around here, usually for commerical properties, it’s common to drain the roof and parking lot into a “storm retention pond”. It’s just a natural depression or man-made depression that the drains go to. Some of them pump out to a storm drain over time, so they function as a way to turn a sudden downpour into a long, slow stream so that the storm drain isn’t overwhelmed. Others are designed to hold all of the runoff and let it soak into the ground over time. They are all typically landscaped and some, that serve residential developments, actually look like parks with a big water feature (which isn’t always there :)

      Maybe a storm retention pond would work for you if you have a large enough lot to accommodate one.


    2. Deleted | | #6


    3. Poliana | | #9

      Yes. Rain garden. I am not a native speaker, therefore I have to find the right terminology. My degree is in horticulture and landscape architecture. I built a few French drains. The water usually would go into a rain garden or an area dedicated to this. It doesn't look right to me to have 6 ends of white PVC pipes that diverts the water in my backyard. I am thinking of building a natural swimming pool and drain the water there. I have already a wet area on my property and a very narrow Brook.

  3. Expert Member


    Rain Gardens are typically another name for what Bill called Storm Retention Ponds, not covered Dry Wells, or Rock Pits. It might be worth clarifying what your engineer intended.

  4. RobInNorCal | | #7

    Malcolm, I actually have a true bio-retention area/rain garden (about 500sf) that collects most of the driveway runoff from a series of rock-lined swales. The storm retention pond/rain garden/rock filled pit I'm talking about is a much smaller facility that is just supposed to be an energy dissipator for gutter runoff. My re-think of the civil engineer's design is an attempt to anticipate, and avoid, the problem Poliana is having by spreading the water out over a much wider area.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #8


      That's probably a very good idea. A wider area, and in particular an area much further from the house than Poliana ended up with. I can't remember the last time I was lucky (unlucky?) enough to build on a flat lot, so I've only used rock pits a few times. I'm never as comfortable with them as when I can see the pipe discharging the storm water, and know exactly what's going on.

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