Patio drainage options

Anyone who’s ever dealt with a flood knows the value of proper drainage. Whether from a downpour, a burst pipe, or another type of flood, drainage will eventually be an issue. When it comes to your patio, a fully functioning drainage system will keep the water where it should be and protect your home’s foundation from water damage. 

Patio drainage options are the choices you make about the direction of stormwater and runoff on your property. Improper drainage can leave standing water on your patio and cause long-term damage. Avoid future damage and maximize the use of your outdoor space by including a patio drainage system in your construction plans.

Read on to learn:

  • Why does your patio need a drainage system?
  • What are the main patio drainage options?
  • Common patio drainage problems and solutions
  • 10 Patio Drainage Ideas
  • Popular patio drains and drainage products
In the backyard, there is a green and clean patio that is well maintained.

Why does your patio need a drainage system?

Whether you have an existing patio with standing water after a storm or you’re planning to construct the patio of your dreams, proper drainage should be a priority. If you wanted standing water on your patio, you’d have built a pool. 

Ensure the health and longevity of your patio and home by installing and maintaining a proper drainage system. Your foundation benefits from the protection, and your wallet is spared expensive repair costs to fix avoidable damage. When you question whether your plan is sufficient, consult the experts. 

Further Reading – Tips for Hiring a Local Paving Company 

whatConsequences of Poor Patio Drainage
ErosionWithout a system to keep water in the right place, it can erode the soil under your patio. If too much soil washes away, your patio may become unstable and dangerous to use.
Water DamagePoor drainage allows water to seep into your foundation, crawlspace, or basement, creating the potential for water damage. A damaged foundation puts your entire home at risk.
Insect InvasionStanding water attracts insects, particularly mosquitos, which are enough to ruin any outdoor experience.
MoldPoor drainage seeping water into basements or crawlspaces will create mold, leading to poor air quality and damage to structural elements. It also causes mildew, which could damage your pavers.
Drowned PlantsPlants need water, but too much will kill them. Poor drainage can cause root rot and plant death.

Further Reading – How to Clean Pavers – Tips for Cleaning Patio or Driveway

What are the main patio drainage options?


Why not use nature’s advantages when designing your outdoor space? If you set a proper slope and grade of at least a quarter-inch per linear foot, water should flow away from the areas you need to protect naturally without much more work on your part.

French drain

If your patio site doesn’t have enough natural drainage, consider adding a French drain to channel the water where you want it. A French drain is a covered trench holding a perforated pipe and aggregate (gravel) to redirect water. 

A French drain is an excellent option if you’re concerned about the aesthetics of your patio. You can match the aggregate to the rest of your patio, and the drainage trench adds an attractive border to your outdoor area.

Permeable pavers

For your patio, permeable pavers are another way to integrate drainage into your aesthetic design. Take advantage of the land’s natural water absorption for sustainable landscaping choices. You also have the option to use permeable grass pavers, which incorporate living plant material to help harvest and recycle rainwater while preserving green space. You can also include permeable pavers in French drains.

Further Reading – How Long Before You Can Drive on Pavers?

Common patio drainage problems and solutions

Further Reading – How to Drain Asphalt Driveway Puddles

Improper pitch

While a completely level surface for your patio sounds ideal; it’s actually a recipe for disaster. Runoff water has nowhere to go on a level surface, leaving you with standing water to cause water damage. Plan a gradual slope while designing your patio to avoid this problem before it starts. 

Clogged drain system

Especially with older patios, leaves, and debris may clog an existing drainage system. Depending on the severity of the clog, the fix could be as simple as clearing a grate cover. 

Further Reading – Ultimate Guide to Storm Drain Repair – 8 Essential Elements

Badly placed downspouts and roof overhangs

Your patio is near your house, though not necessarily built simultaneously. If you don’t consider the placement of roof overhangs and downspouts when planning your patio drainage, you may face future problems. Simply reroute the water flow to the drainage system. 

Sinking pavers

Erosion is one of the problems you may face from improper drainage on your patio. Pull up the pavers in question and examine the base underneath. You should excavate down past the top layer of soil and lay a base of gravel or crushed stone to help control drainage and soil erosion. 

Further Reading – Alternative Driveway Materials – Considerations for Your Next Project

There is a patio surrounded by green grass and trees

10 Patio drainage ideas

1. Dry creek bed xeriscaping

Direct stormwater away from your foundation with dry creek bed xeriscaping (landscaping requiring little or no irrigation). Using rocks of various sizes, build a channel for rainwater to move along, letting you control the course. As an added design element, you can add solar lights. 

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2. Build a yard drain

If you’re already familiar with the parts of your lawn or patio prone to flooding, try installing a yard drain. A network of buried pipes will carry the water away from the drain. 

3. Install a rain barrel

Put the excess water collected by your downspouts to good use instead of wasting it. Place a rain barrel next to your downspout and use it later for your garden. Some states have made rainwater collection illegal, so please check the law before putting a rain barrel in your yard.

4. Build a French drain

A French drain offers a long-lasting drainage system that is not likely to clog when built properly. With a trench, perforated PVC pipe, and permeable aggregate like gravel, you can build an effective and attractive drainage system for your patio. 

5. Replace concrete with drainage materials

If your concrete or asphalt patio consistently holds standing water, consider replacing it with permeable pavers to distribute the water properly while still providing a usable space. 

Further Reading – Residential Asphalt Paving – Everything You Need to Know

6. Install a catch basin

If you notice water pooling frequently at the base of your gutter downspouts, consider adding a catch basin beneath them to protect your foundation. Collect the excess stormwater and allow it to flow into buried PVC pipes away from your home. 

Further Reading – How to Build A Concrete Catch Basin – 8 Steps to Follow

7. Build a dry well

If you have the potential for a large volume of stormwater, you might want to build a dry well as a failsafe for your patio drainage. A dry well is a large underground basin filled with rocks of various sizes. It collects large amounts of water and slowly distributes it to the surrounding soil. 

8. Use downspout extensions

If stormwater overtakes the ability of your downspouts, add extensions to divert the water flow further away from your foundation. Downspout extensions are one of the fastest, least expensive ways to boost your patio drainage. 

9. Add a channel drain

If your current drainage or slope sends water in the wrong direction, use a channel drain to divert the water to your chosen path. 

10. Use permeable pavers on paths as drainage

Add proper drainage to your patio or lawn with permeable pavers over a French drain. You will add attractive paths to your outdoor space while ensuring proper drainage protects your foundation.

Further Reading – Asphalt Water Guide – Prevent Your Asphalt from Water Damage

Popular patio drains and drainage products

This 6”x6” insert fits 3” and 4” drainpipes and is perfect for adding a drain to any drainage system. Reviewers gave overwhelmingly positive ratings, saying they liked the look and the ease of installation. The design also allows easy grate removal to clean and maintain your drain. 

This easy 3-inch interlocking trench system is a popular choice for anyone wanting to add a channel drain to their yard or patio drainage system. The kit has five pieces, including two end caps and the bottom outlet adapter. Customers said it was easy to use and worked well. 

The geogrid design is perfect for either sloped or flat land. The pockets allow you to choose loose aggregate or soil and grass seed. The recycled polyethylene grid virtually eliminates erosion and is an excellent choice for poor or unstable soil areas.

Ensure your patio works with your drainage system with these interlocking patio deck tiles. They allow water to drain underneath, and customers love how fast and easy it is to use them. The set contains nine 11.75”x11.75” tiles. 

Why worry about designing a catch basin when you can use this ready-made option? Convenience meets function with this catch basin drain kit. Reviewers said it was easy to use and worked as expected. 

A modern patio can be found in the backyard of the house.

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It’s important to know your patio drainage options and to pick one that suits your location. Proper patio drainage will help protect your home’s foundation and basement from water damage while giving you full use of your outdoor space. No matter what style you choose for your patio, there are drainage options to fit seamlessly with your design.