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Driveways and Drainage

Driveways and drainage have caused many homeowners some headaches.

Drainage is such an ubiquitous part of the construction that it often goes unnoticed unless something goes wrong. Water management is an important aspect of all types of building and landscaping.


Mike Glen


Whilst we live in a country with plenty of sunshine, we do have our fair share of storms, heavy rain, wind. Gutters, stormwater drains, and driveways can’t cope and often become completely flooded. If the drainage system isn’t enough, the water has nowhere to go. So it sits on the surface and that can cause damage that will need much repair work done. This could be a problem that requires a lot of time and money to solve.

But there are solutions, in the form of different driveway drainage systems.

Positioning Drains

Place drains in the areas that receive the most water. That way the drainage has the best chance of working to the greatest potential. So, if your driveway slopes down towards the road, place the drain in that bottom section.

Keep Water Out Of Your Garage

A reputable driveway paving contractor does two important things:

  • Installs a drain where the paving and the floor of the garage meets.
  • Slopes the paving so the water runs into the drain – from both sides.

Common Problems with Poor Driveway Drainage

Many homeowners have come across the same common drainage problems on driveways. Below are a few of them.

Flooding: Homes with driveways that slope down towards the house experience flooding during heavy rains. This may lead to dampness forming in walls. Or even damage inside the home if the water gets in through gaps, such as the undersides of garage doors.

Standing Water: If the water isn’t absorbed and there is nowhere for the water to drain away to it pools in one place. During colder months when there isn’t as much sunlight to help the water evaporate, you may have large puddles of water in your driveway for days.

Damage: When water pools on a driveway for a long time, it could lead to extensive damage. Particularly in autumn and winter when there is frost. Frozen water expands in the cracks and gaps, opening potholes in your driveway.

Moss and Mould: Trapped water in the cracks on your driveway creates an environment for unwanted plant life to grow. You will then have to deal with weeds, moss and mould.

You can easily avoid all these problems by installing the correct drainage system for your type of driveway. For example, some drainage systems work better for a concrete driveway rather than a gravel driveway. There are a variety of options for you to choose from to pick the perfect drainage system for your driveway.

Driveway Drainage Options

Here are some ideas that you can consider. Bear in mind where they will work best, and which driveway types they are most suitable for.

Channel Drainage. Also known as “linear drainage” or “trench drains”. Channel drains are long, narrow drains (resembling a small trench) with a grate cover. They collect water and carry it away before it reaches an area where you don’t want to risk flooding. Channel drains come in cast iron, stainless steel or polymer concrete. The most popular choice is the polymer concrete channel drain. It is cheaper and very durable.

Gully Drainage. Like channel drains, gully drains are long, trench-like drains with grate covers. But, the difference between the two is that gully drains only drain water at one point. This type of drain is also frequently used in open car parks, or basement parking garages.

Be aware channel and gully drains get blocked easily due to their size. Remove the grate and clean them out regularly. That will keep them working optimally. Or, you may consider calling a professional service provider to do it for you.

French Drains. This is another trench-style drain. But, they differ from the others because they are dug to a gradient and filled with an aggregate, such as gravel. There are finer pieces on top, which gradually get larger towards the bottom. This helps the water to flow and filters out debris from the system.

Soakaway Crates. This is the endpoint of most drains. Water is either absorbed or it is drained away. In most cases, we would highly recommend that you install a soakaway crate to allow the water to seep away naturally into the ground. The pipe which runs from the surface water drainage system will lead straight into the crate. The water runs through this system to prevent flooding or waterlogged patches around your property. A crate could even take rainwater straight from the gutter, to get it away from your house in no time at all. 

There is a chance that, like with any other drain or gutter, debris could still get through the Soakaway Crate drainage system. This results in the pipe to your soakaway becoming clogged. In these cases, you should call a plumbing company to unblock the problem for you. They are experts who will take care of the problem straight away. This will save you time and money. Not to mention the cost of potential damage caused in attempting the work yourself.