red animated loading indicator
Back to Blogs

How to Bury Downspouts: A Comprehensive Guide

Managing water runoff from your roof is crucial to maintaining your home's foundation and landscape. One effective method to handle this runoff is by burying your downspouts. This blog will take you through the steps needed to successfully bury your downspouts, ensuring proper drainage and preventing water damage.

What Are Downspouts?

Downspouts are vertical pipes attached to the corners of your home’s gutter system. Their primary function is to channel rainwater from the roof to the ground, directing it away from your home’s foundation. Common materials for downspouts include aluminum, vinyl, and galvanized steel, each offering different benefits in terms of durability and cost.

Why Bury Downspouts?

rainwater overflowing and falling off the roof

Benefits of Burying Downspouts

  • Improved Aesthetics: Hidden downspouts enhance the visual appeal of your home’s exterior.
  • Enhanced Safety: Reduces the risk of tripping hazards and damage to landscaping.
  • Effective Drainage: Prevents water from pooling around your foundation, reducing the risk of basement flooding and soil erosion.

Potential Drawbacks

While there are numerous benefits, some potential drawbacks include:

  • Cost: The initial cost of materials and labor can be higher than above-ground systems.
  • Maintenance: Buried systems may require more effort to inspect and maintain.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting your project, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Shovel and trenching tool
  • Downspout extension pipe
  • Connectors and adapters
  • Gravel for backfilling
  • Landscape fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Level

Preparing the Area

Marking the Trench Path

Use marking paint or stakes to outline the path of your trench. Ensure it follows a gradual slope away from your home. This step is crucial as it helps guide your digging and ensures the water flows correctly, preventing any water accumulation around your house foundation.

Clearing the Area

Remove any obstacles, such as plants, rocks, or debris, from the trench path. Clearing the area will make the digging process easier and prevent damage to your tools. It's important to have a clean, obstruction-free path to ensure the trench is dug accurately and efficiently.

Digging the Trench

Depth and Width Considerations

The trench should be at least 12 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate your pipe. This depth allows for sufficient soil coverage and protection from surface activities, ensuring that the pipe remains undisturbed and functions effectively.

Tips for Efficient Digging

  • Use a Trenching Shovel: A specialized trenching shovel can make the job quicker and more efficient, helping you achieve a uniform trench.
  • Work in Sections: Digging in smaller sections can help manage the workload and maintain consistent depth, ensuring that the trench follows the marked path accurately.

Installing the Downspout Extension

Connecting the Extension to the Downspout

Attach the extension pipe to your downspout using the appropriate connectors. Ensure a secure and watertight fit to prevent leaks. Proper connection is key to maintaining an effective drainage system that directs water away from your home.

Securing Connections

Use clamps or adhesive to secure connections. This helps prevent the extension from becoming dislodged during heavy rain, ensuring continuous, efficient water flow through the system.

Laying the Pipe

Positioning the Pipe in the Trench

Place the pipe in the trench, ensuring it follows the marked path. Check the slope periodically with a level to ensure water will flow away from your home. Proper positioning is essential to avoid water pooling and to direct the flow efficiently.

Ensuring Proper Slope for Drainage

A slope of 1 inch per 10 feet is generally recommended to ensure adequate drainage. Adjust the trench depth as needed to maintain this slope, guaranteeing effective water movement through the buried downspout.

Backfilling the Trench

Steps for Backfilling

Once the pipe is in place, backfill the trench with gravel, which helps with drainage and stability. Cover the gravel with landscape fabric to prevent soil from clogging the system. This step ensures that the system remains functional and reduces maintenance needs.

Compacting the Soil

After backfilling with gravel and fabric, cover with soil and compact it to avoid settling. Ensure the surface is level with the surrounding ground to restore the area to its original appearance and prevent any uneven ground.

Testing the System

Checking for Leaks

Run water through the system to check for leaks at connections and joints. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs to ensure a leak-free drainage system.

Ensuring Proper Water Flow

Observe the water flow to ensure it moves smoothly through the pipe and exits at the desired location. Proper water flow is crucial to the effectiveness of the buried downspout system.

Finishing Touches

Landscaping Over the Buried Downspout

Add soil, grass, or other landscaping elements over the buried downspout to restore the area. Consider planting water-loving plants at the exit point to absorb excess water, enhancing both functionality and aesthetics.

Adding Decorative Elements

Enhance the appearance of your landscape by adding decorative rocks or mulch around the downspout exit. These elements not only improve the visual appeal but also help to manage water flow and prevent erosion.

Maintenance Tips

Regular Inspections

Periodically inspect the downspout system for signs of damage or blockage. Regular maintenance helps ensure long-term functionality and prevents potential issues from becoming serious problems.

Clearing Debris and Obstructions

Remove leaves, dirt, and other debris that may accumulate in the downspout and extension. This helps prevent clogs and maintains efficient drainage, ensuring the system works effectively during heavy rain.


How deep should I bury my downspout extension?

To ensure proper coverage and protection, bury your downspout extension at least 12 inches deep. This depth helps protect the pipe from surface activities and ensures efficient water drainage.

What are the benefits of burying downspouts?

Burying downspouts improves the aesthetics of your home by hiding the pipes, enhances safety by reducing tripping hazards, and provides effective drainage that prevents water from pooling around your foundation, thus reducing the risk of basement flooding and soil erosion.

What tools and materials do I need to bury downspouts?

You will need a shovel and trenching tool, downspout extension pipe, connectors and adapters, gravel for backfilling, landscape fabric, a measuring tape, and a level.

How do I ensure proper water flow in a buried downspout system?

To ensure proper water flow, maintain a slope of 1 inch per 10 feet when laying the pipe. Regularly check the slope with a level while digging the trench and laying the pipe to guarantee effective drainage.

What maintenance is required for a buried downspout system?

Regularly inspect the system for signs of damage or blockage and remove any debris, such as leaves and dirt, that may accumulate in the downspout and extension. This helps prevent clogs and ensures the system functions effectively during heavy rain.

Enjoyed this read?

Stay up to date with the latest video business news, strategies, and insights sent straight to your inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.