My next door neighbor and I want to put in some 3 or 4 inch PVC pipe
into the ground to carry away rainwater from the gutters away from the
back of the property to the front lawn where it can find it's way to
the driveway & street sewers.
It's about 100 foot length and for most of it the pipe woud be just
under the surface.
for the last 30 feet or so the ground rises so that would require
I don't think the depth would get over a foot at the steepest part of
We'd then angle the pipe downhill until it emerged from the ground
again (my street is sloped)
Would the trencher Home Depot rents be sufficient for this - anybody
have experience with it or are there other types of trenchers to rent
from other stores that would be better suited.
I could always go the shovel & pick route or try to hire someone, but
am interested in anybody's personal experience and/or knowledge. thanks
I did 20' at three different downspouts, 60' total in an afternoon with
Use a flat landscaping shovel to cut away the grass in a straight line
and set to the side. Throw the dirt neatly to the other side. Lay in
your pipe. Set the sod on top. Rake the dirt over top piled high so
when it rains and everything settles it will fill in the gaps. Two
months later the only way you can tell I did anything is by the three
green discs in the yard.
A trencher is going to shred the grass and leave you nothing to cover
up the trench after you lay the pipe. You will need a good size
trencher to make a ditch wide enough for 4" pipe. Even though I hate
to dig this is one job probably best done by hand.
Just a suggestion - I had a couple of guys do the same thing in my yard -
they tied the downspouts into the drain, and had a few additional surface
drains to carry the rainwater away. In my city, there are some fairly
stringent code considerations as to HOW the end of the discharge pipe has to
exit onto the street, HOW to tunnel under the sidewalk, etc.. - they don't
like ya just dumping drain water out onto the sidewalk, or undermining the
sidewalk and then just breaking up the curb and doing a lousy patch job.
Obviously getting the right slope of the pipe over the entire length is
important or it won't drain, but only one of the guys that came out to
estimate the job actually did anything more than just eyeball it - in my
yard there wasn't a lot of drop from the front to the back after sinking the
beginning of the pipe in the back yard - the slope was critical - my guy got
it right, but I can see how it'd be a nightmare if ya didn't know what
you're doing. Sometimes, the slope of the ground plays visual tricks on ya.
Just to add some additional info:
My street is on a decent slope. My property is on the 'higher' side
than my neighbors.
I mainly want to tie my downspout that takes the water off the back
part of house house into this pipe to keep it from flowing onto my
My backyard is level but his is kind of U shaped so during heavy rains
the water runs across my yard into his then gravity pulls some of it
towards his house. So he wants to put in some type of surface drain
all the way in the back to help out his problem.
The back 30 feet or so has a pronounced downward slope so any water
coming from that surface drain will have a good head of steam by the
time it his the point where the ground levels off (which is about where
my downspout comes in)
keep a downward slope. But because if the layout of the street, once I
angle the pipe to the right (i.e down the street) it will eventually
resurface. I plan on having it resurface on the front lawn.
My neighbor is managment in the electric company so he knows about some
of the regulations, but I understand the importance of knowing the
The "use a shovel" guys are right. That is a job that will best be
done that way. Any power trencher is just going to want to go too deep
and be difficult to handle at shallow depths. Seriously, if the soil
is not rocky, with two working it isn't more than an hour or two of
Do use tarps to pile your dirt on and pile the sods separately. Sods
mixed into excavated dirt will make a saint cuss when it comes time to
On 20 Jun 2006 11:56:35 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The "use a shovel" guys make good points, but to answer your original
I'm not familiar with which type of trencher HD rents, but I've used a
walk behind unit several times, and I suspect that's the type of unit
they rent. The other common type is a rider or an attachment for a
The walkbehind unit is easy to use, cuts about a 6 inch wide trench,
and will go down to about 18-24 inches. The depth is easily
adjustable. As someone mentioned, it does shred the turf and mixes it
in with the dirt, which is piled mostly to one side of the trench.
The only trouble I ever had with it was hittling big rocks and buried
pieces of concrete (don't ask, what some folks use for backfill is
unbelievable!). Of course, those would be problems for hand digging
too. If you hit a buried boulder, you just retrace and go around.
You know if you hit something too big for it to handle because it
bucks like a bronco. Smaller stones and rocks are no problem. If you
have reasonable soil and/or clay, it's a breeze, especially if you do
it a day or two after a good rain.
Backfilling after you've placed the pipe and got the slope right is
just a matter of pushing the soil back in the trench. It will be
mounded up of course, and you can either wait for rain and nature to
takes its course, or use a plate compactor or jumping jack to tamp it
down. Or you can drive a tractor or car over it. Then replant the
So...if you have a nice pristine lawn and don't want to tear it up,
and don't mind the physical labor, grab your favorite shovel and have
at it. If your lawn's like mine and you just want the job done quick
so you can do something more important/fun, and you enjoy big noisy
Regardless of your choice, call the toll free "Before you dig" number
to get any buried utility lines marked. There is no charge. Utilities
get really bent out of shape when you cut one of their lines or pipes.
They are supposed to be deeper, but %$&#* happens.
I talked to a guy who contracts for Miss Utility, as they call it in
maryland. And his job is to mark utility lines. (Here, probably
everywhere, they use different colors for differnt thigns.)
And he said that if you cut a line or pipe, they charge thousands to
put it back together. He said even if it only takes a ;little time to
splice in a short piece of wire at each end of it, they charge over a
charging a lot discourages idiots, the word gets around and people are
Close by Verizon replacing a pole accidently cut a 20,000 pair cable
phones in area were out for 2 days.
wonder if they charge themselves?
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