Installing a catch basin in yard

jeanie_bethJanuary 3, 2009

I have a water problem in my yard in which water pools up and runs toward my house.

Under the grass, my soil is mostly clay. I had checked with a local plumber on installing a French Drain across the front of my house & he said with the clay content, a French Drain is not best for my situation.

He suggested a 12" x 12" catch basin with a grate on top of it. He shot the yard with a transit and marked the lowest point in the yard for the catch basin to be installed.

The catch basin will connect in-ground to 4" PVC pipe non-perforated.

The pipe run will be 20 feet from the catch basin to the side of my yard to drain off the excess water.

He then said it would cost me $3500.00 for the catch basin and the pipe and labor.

I think I can do this myself a lot cheaper. $45.00 for the catch basin at big box store, plus 20' of 4" non-perforated PVC drain pipe.

I can dig the 20' trench myself.

My question:

After digging the trench and I am ready to put the pipe in the trench, is it OK to just lay pipe on the bottom of the trench itself and then cover it up with dirt, or should I put a layer of sand or gravel in bottom of trench prior to placing the pipe in trench?

Again, the pipe is not perforated and will just empty out on a slope in the side of my yard.

There will be no traffic on the basin grate top or on top of the buried pipe area itself other than just a push lawn mower.

Just wondering if I can just dig a trench, drop in basin and pipe and cover it back up without using rocks and stuff.

Thank you!

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To who's property will your drain line lead? You could end up with a serious problem if drainage from your property causes erosion or flooding problems on an adjoining property. You need to be very careful before solving our drainage problems at the expense of a neighboring property. Litigation over this issue is very common.

Perhaps a better approach is to look for a way to drain your yard into an area on your property that is away from your house. Many people are now designing "rain gardens" which include an area specifically designed to collect rain water, then allowing it to slowly percolate down through the soil to resupply the underground aquifers.

For more information, do a google search on "rain gardens". You'll find dozens of links to more information. Properly planning drainage on your property will not only benefit your garden, but can enhance the beauty of your landscape, and increase the value of your property.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia: Rain Gardens

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 1:38AM
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Actually the water will be drained into my backyard...I have about 200 feet of backyard and all water in backyard ends up in a concrete drainage ditch going under adjacent highway to my yard compliments of the State of Texas Dept of Transportation & Highways, so I have no problem with drainage to neighbors and surrounding areas...a "rain garden" is out of the question for my yard as well as others on my street as all of our backyards naturally slope toward the drainage ditch that the State installed.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 9:33AM
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To answer your question, I've never had a problem with direct burial. Be sure to put it where it's not likely to get damaged by a shovel in the future.

I think what you are looking at is a fast, effective fix. See how one works, you may need another. Use a "pop-up" to keep critters out of the pipe on the discharge end. I hope the contractor got some money for his time and knowledge.

If you want to "bump it up" I would look at two things: 1. Can you fix the grade issue so that the property drains properly in the first place. 2. Can you do anything to allow at least some of the runoff to penetrate into the ground? Perhaps by using perforated pipe and sand/gravel. The problem of storm water runoff is a big problem in urban areas. The problem is that the impermeable surfaces cause a large amount of storm runoff instead of it filtering into the ground and releasing over time in the surface water. There is a lot of erosion, downstream flooding and other problems because of it.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 12:50PM
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$3500 is a total ripoff for what you're doing. I agree with the DIY. Or maybe find some kind of day laborer or something to help with the ditch digging.

I would suggest two things. First, consider putting some gravel at the bottom of the trench in order to provide a bit more support for the pipe. It's not necessary, but it will help prevent "bellies" where water may sit (that's not a huge problem underground). You should aim for a slope of 1/4" per 12" of run. Second, I think you're planning this, but I would use solid PVC, not that black accordion pipe. It will last longer and be less susceptible to breakage. The last thing you want to do is have to dig it up.

Otherwise, yeah, you're looking at $50 of materials and a day or two of heavy digging at most.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 9:29AM
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Thanks guys for all the help. Yes, the contractor was paid for his time and knowledge. I paid him $200 for his estimate and trouble using the transit. He was happy and so was I. I just wasn't happy with his final bid of $3500. He understood that money was tight in my household and said he could re-assess his bid and might could come off the price a little more for the PVC pipe & 12" catch basin.

In the mean time, I looked at Lowes and found some stuff called "Spee-D" channel & "pro channel" which looks like something else I could use in my water problem along with the 12" catch basin. If you look at you will see what I mean. This stuff has a grate on it and comes in sections.

I had already decided the corrugated stuff would be too flimsy of a pipe and was going to use PVC pipe too.

I hate the idea of digging by hand, but to save some of that $3500, I will dig it. I've already called the digtest people to mark any lines--that's something else I learned from the contractor bid--he was helpful in telling me if I did it myself to call digtest.

Thanks again for all the help. I think I can do this myself and not screw it up--I'll keep you posted!

Jeanie Beth

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 11:27PM
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Since this is a solid pipe, there is no need for sand or stone under it except maybe to level the hole for slope. You could probably do that by carefully digging only what is needed and laying the pipe on the bottom of the hole.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 8:21AM
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Yes, I was going to suggest that Spee-D channel stuff. It's basically a trough drain, and could make sense if your drainage pattern works with it. It would mean you don't need to funnel all the water to one basin but could instead have it cut across several feet of yard.

BTW, can you find a guy with a bobcat and digger attachment? I realize digging is a pain, but $3500 is really expensive for that kind of digging.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:22AM
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if your lawn is a sandy lome, [norocks'
then you do not need gravel. if anything is used i would use sand, to bed the pipe in, sand is the prefered material
it goes under the pipe easily and provides 100% compaction
afterbackfilling the line, leave the soil mounded up
over the ditch. as it rains and settles. it will flattenout
if you do not mound it, it will settle concave

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 11:57AM
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Along with all of the other tips that you have gotten, be sure to call the utilities locating service before you dig. You don't want to hit a gas line, electrical or cable/phone.

This is a free service. Call about 5 days ahead of time to give them plenty of time.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 12:07PM
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don't dig it by hand, go rent a trencher. you ain't using this to disperse water like a leach field, so the trenc only has to be wide enough to handle the pipe itself. and once buried mound the dirt back over it. otherwise it will depress down once the dirt settles next year.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 3:00PM
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