Beyond Landscaping


Ways to Divert Downspout Drainage to Protect Your Home

Downspout drainage can be a major source of erosion on your property or your building structure if not controlled. Water run-off from your roof needs to go somewhere. There are many ways to address this issue, and here are some of the best tactics to divert downspout drainage.

Downspout Extensions

This is the easiest way to divert downspout drainage, and virtually anyone can do it. An extension can be attached to the end of a downspout and directed to where you want the water to go. You can send the water onto your grass, channel it down a driveway, or direct it towards a city street gutter. There are many styles, lengths and configurations available for any application.

Capture the Runoff

In many cases, the water can be captured and stored or reused. The simplest way to do this is with a rain barrel. This natural and organic water supply is chemical free and is highly valued by gardeners everywhere. A downspout can be diverted into a barrel specifically made to catch the water, and a spout at the bottom allows the user to siphon it off when needed.


Another landscaping solution is to terrace the area and slow down runoff from downspout drainage. The terraces can be backfilled with water absorbing soil. As each layer of the terrace is saturated, it sends the runoff down to the next layer. This system acts like a natural sponge.

Compost Soil Amendment

This is a highly effective method that both diverts and captures downspout drainage. The soil, in a prepared area, is tilled down to, at least, 10 inches. High-quality compost is mixed in with the soil, and the vegetation is replanted. When water is diverted to this area, it acts like a gigantic sponge. The diverted water is readily absorbed and causes no erosion damage.

A rain garden, which is made out of permeable soil, or soil that absorbs water readily, will capture diverted downspout water. Water loving vegetation is planted here that thrives in wet and sandy soil. Downspout water is channeled to this area, and the soil will absorb it.


A swale is a permanent wide and shallow drainage ditch. It starts at your downspout or the end of a downspout extension. It travels to a place where the water can be safely channeled, like to a pond, a stream or a street rain gutter. Although you’ll have to do some major landscaping, once in place, the swale will be nearly maintenance free. The sides and bottom can be planted with grass to give it a neat looking appearance. This solution would work best for suburban or country homes.