Installing a Drainage System for Stormwater

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**This post is sponsored by NDS and ADS.

Living in Florida you may think of sunshine, right? You’d be correct but it’s also a tropical oasis full of daily thunderstorms rolling through. The amount of rain we receive in the summer months often shocks those who come to visit or whenever I share with all of you over on Instagram.

The amount of rain we receive can also be tough on our yard and home at times. A little over a year ago we gave the exterior of our home a makeover: a fresh coat of paint and a new set of gutters. We wrapped the gutters around our entire home wanting to keep water away from our foundation. But what we didn’t realize is that we were creating another big issue that we’d soon find out.

By not having the proper drainage at the bottom of each downspout, which was nothing, the runoff started eroding the ground away from our home, exposing our foundation, and potentially causing major issues. For example, you can see our cement foundation and a huge hole at this downspout where water also likes to pool. That’s something we don’t want to see.

Why is This a Problem?

When you have standing water near a foundation of a home, it can cause major havoc. For example, structural deterioration or possible water damage in your home’s basement or crawlspace. You don’t typically see basements here in Florida but something to certainly take into consideration for those who do.

Beyond that, wet spots where water pools in a yard or flower bed can damage grass, kill plants or rot flower bulbs. Even a small puddle in a yard can breed thousands of mosquitoes which you know I’m not a fan of with being allergic. Needless to say, there are a lot of issues that can stem from not directing water away from your home with a proper drainage system.

What to Look For

Thankfully there are things you can look for to see if you have a stormwater drainage issue. Here are four major areas to look for water troubles: 

  1. Look at your downspout runoff to see if you see flooding or erosion at a downspout, damage from water, or if the basement/crawl space is damp/wet or has standing water in it. 
  2. Water on hardscapes like a patio, driveway or walkways. You want to look for staining from mold and mildew or mud/debris accumulating on the surfaces.
  3. High groundwater or saturated soils. Especially if there’s standing water over 24 hours after a rain event. 
  4. Water collecting in lower areas of the yard or landscape beds. This can look like patchy turf, muddy areas, musty smells from fungus and diseases, or turf that is yellowing, thinning, or dying.

Our Solution and Where to Begin

As you can see, our main issue is erosion and flooding at our downspout exposing our foundation. The second we realized this, we knew we needed an action plan and solution to protect our home. NDS, a company that offers innovative water management solutions, guided our entire process.

Through their website,, as a homeowner we were able to identify our problem areas, identify the NDS drainage system that will work best, instructions on how to install, materials needed and general cost. Although we’re tackling this project DIY style to save money, you can also hire it out. NDS makes it easy allowing homeowners to search for trained, certified contractors to help solve the issue. NDS takes it one step further by making sure their contractors have completed the NDS-Certified Professional Drainage Contractor coursework. Which means they’re equipped with the skills to solve the issue correctly the first time, giving homeowners a peace of mind.

Our Plan

Knowing our problem and generally what we needed to do, we also needed a concrete plan that we knew we were going to correct the first time as well. By far my favorite feature on, besides all of the installation videos, is being able to talk with Dr. Drainage. But, wait, who is Dr. Drainage? It’s the name given to the NDS civil engineer, Ben Hurst.  It’s a free tool for homeowners to use to find solutions for their water issues around their home.

We had a few conversations with Dr. Drainage detailing our issues, sharing the location of our downspouts and what we wanted to achieve. From there, Dr. Drainage helped us come up with an exact game plan including all the materials we would need for each downspout.  Here’s our plan:

I’m excited to have a plan that’s going to successfully and safely draw the stormwater away from our home. Here are the NDS drainage and ADS pipe materials we’re using for our project. These are all available at our local home improvement store, which you can also locate on the website. 

  • NDS Flo Well
  • NDS Catch Basin
  • NDS Pop-Up Emitter 
  • 4” ADS Drain Pipe
  • 45 Degree Elbow
  • Drain Rock
  • Landscape Fabric

How It Works

A NDS Catch Basin will be installed at the base of each downspout that will catch the water runoff. From there, an ADT pipe will attach to the Catch Basin taking the water away from our home and into a Flo-Well that’s also buried underground.. This is a 50 gallon dry well that captures the water and stores it. It allows the water to slowly percolate back into the ground eliminating puddles/standing water on the surface.


Depending on the drainage capacity size installed, it can take 6+ hours per downspout to get everything installed. Knowing this, we gave ourselves the whole weekend to install a few downspouts. Please know that if doing this project yourself, it will take time!

The very first thing we did was call 811 to identify any possible wires or utility lines before we started digging. And always check if you need a permit. This can vary depending where you live. We were clear of any wires and started digging in. We followed the installation videos provided on NDS’s website along with our blueprint plan to make sure this project was a success. And at any point we felt that we needed help with something or if an issue came up, there’s always the option of talking to Dr. Drainage or hiring a local, trained contractor.

Living in Florida, we’re working with sand when digging. Just like the sand that yo

u see on the beach. This makes it very easy to dig but if you’re somewhere with clay, hard soil, etc. you’ll probably need to rent a trencher and backhoe for the digging. We started with digging the hole for the two Flo-Wells. We have two for this part of the backyard since it’s catching runoff from three downspouts. That’s a lot of water with our roof size. Because there are two, we had to dig a hole at least 4 feet deep, 4 feet wide and 8 feet in length.

We filled the bottom of the hole with about 6 inches of drain rock and placed the Flo-Wells on top. With those in place, we dug a hole below each downspout to place the Catch Basin underneath.

And the digging didn’t stop there! A trench from the each Catch Basin to the Flo-well was dug with at least a 1 degree slope. We found the easiest way to dig the trenches was to lay out the ADS pipe, spray paint along the sides and then move the pipe to dig. This allows you to see exactly where you need to dig trench and takes out the guesswork.

By placing the Catch Basin, Flo-Well and pipes in place, we were able to do a dry fit before officially attaching everything. This allowed us to make sure everything was where it needed to be and sloping correctly for this drainage system to function properly.

We had worked so hard for two days to finally get to the moment to connect everything and fill it in! To test it even further, we filled up the catch basins using a water hose to make sure the slope was enough and everything was connected correctly.

It was a very exciting moment. You’ll notice the Flo-Wells are wrapped with landscape fabric. This is so the water can freely flow out through the drainage holes in the Flo-Well while also preventing any dirt from getting into the Flo-Wells once buried. Using the same drain rock, we filled the large hole with the rocks up to the lid of the Flo-Wells. The rocks provide a way to help manage the flow of the water as it’s dispersed back into the soil.

Remember all the soil we dug out? The last step is backfilling the rest of the hole and the trenches with the soil. We made sure to tamp as we went along to make sure the soil was compact. And then to place the grass we removed back in place.

Friends, it took two full days but we did it! Our backyard is officially equipped with a fully functioning drainage system to take the water away from our home. We have a few more drainage systems we have to install with the remaining downspouts but we’re off to a great start!

The Results

After seeing the damage starting to happen without having a drainage system in place, we knew we had to do something and quickly.  The night we finished installing the drainage system, we had a major thunderstorm roll through. You better believe I went out running in the rain to see if it was working. At least what I could see surface level.

Do you see the water beautifully flowing into the catch basin from the downspout? And because we put so much hard work into this drainage system, I knew exactly where the water was going and how it was being dispersed back into the soil. What it wasn’t doing was causing havoc on our foundation and pooling along the surface of our yard. It is the best feeling knowing we were proactive with protecting our home. Our home that we work so hard on. Without a proper foundation, we wouldn’t have anything or at least a major issue on our hands.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, this project was a very laborious project. And depending on where you live, it can have different challenges like soil composition. One thing I urge you to do if you’re seeing drainage issues around your foundation or yard, is to first try and identify your issue through Talk to Dr. Drainage, decide if this is something you want to DIY, or maybe this is something you want to hire out.

To help with that process I have a few links for you as amazing resources to help get you started. – To identify your water problem, the solution for your water problem, learn how to fix it yourself or know what to look for to hire the right pro. 

NDS Resources – Video library of installation guides, tools and calculators, frequently asked questions 

NDS Products and Where to Shop 

ADS Pipes – Can be found at local home improvement stores

You can catch more of this install over on my Instagram Highlights that gives more views of the install. We’ll also be installing the remaining drainage systems in the coming weeks which we’ll share again as well! 

What a project! As we all work so hard to turn our house into a home, to decorate in a style that best represents us, renovate spaces, etc, it’s also equally as important to protect the foundation and exterior of our homes. I know that prior to this year, I didn’t know drainage systems like this existed and forever grateful we got to learn so much through NDS and ADS. We came up with a drainage system plan that was custom to our home and now no more exposed foundation. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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