How Much Does it Cost to Install Landscape Drainage?

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated November 16, 2021
House with lawn and garden
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Highlights

  • Installing a yard drainage system can cost between $780 to $12,000 

  • Labor costs to install a yard drainage system range from $50 to $100 per hour

  • There are several different types of yard drainage systems, with a wide range of price points

  • If you have prior experience working with pipes and basic drainage systems, you can install a yard drainage system with the help of a DIY kit

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The average cost to install a yard drainage system is $3,972, but this project can range from as low as $500 for small-scale fixes to $18,000 for full-scale solutions. Tired of looking at a wet, soggy backyard that develops puddles after every rainstorm? Installing an in-ground drainage system is a long-term solution that will not only make your yard look better but will also prevent future drainage issues. Let’s review the many factors that contribute to the cost of yard drainage systems, plus how to find a drainage solution for every budget.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Drainage System Per Linear Foot?

A drainage system in a garden
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The cost of a yard drainage system per linear foot depends on the type of drain you’re installing. French drains cost between $1,000 and $10,000 per 100 linear feet, while trench or channel drains cost between $3,000 and $9,000 per 100 linear feet.

Other yard drainage systems have set costs per unit instead of per linear foot.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Yard Drainage System Near You?

The average cost to install a yard drainage system varies depending on where you live. 

Take a look at the price of this project in major U.S. cities to get a rough estimate of the costs in your area.

  • Los Angeles, CA: $3,000

  • New York City, NY: $4,300

  • Chicago, IL: $3,000

  • Houston, TX: $2,300

  • Nashville, TN: $1,140

  • Tampa, FL: $7,600

  • Denver, CO: $2,700

  • Omaha, NE: $3,900

  • Portland, ME: $3,000

How Much Yard Drainage System Can I Get on My Budget?

Simply put, different drainage systems have different costs. Consult your yard drainage budget budget to determine which one you should install in your yard. Talk with a drainage professional to ensure that you’re installing the right system for your yard type and local climate. 

Here’s a guide to what type of drainage system you can get at various price points:

$100

With $100 in your pocket, you can purchase and install a yard inlet (or two, depending on how much they are at your local hardware store).

$200

You can purchase and install an underground downspout, multiple yard inlets, and possibly a plastic catch basin for $200. Some plastic catch basins and underground downspouts are outside of this price range, but if you shop around, you should be able to find some within your budget.

$500

There are a few options for purchasing a yard drainage system with a budget of $500. You can get one or two underground downspouts, multiple yard inlets, or a plastic catch basin for that budget.

$1,000

You can purchase an underground downspout or a small French drain for $1,000.

$3,000-plus

If your budget is $3,000 or more, your choices of yard drainage systems are practically limitless. Choose between a 100-foot French or channel drain or a heavy-duty concrete catch basin.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Drainage System Yourself?

If you’re looking to cut down on project expenses, you can attempt to install a yard drainage system using a DIY drainage kit. A complete DIY installation will cost between $100 to $2,000, depending on the type of drainage kit. Although they eliminate labor costs, DIY drainage system kits are risky. If you level your drainage system incorrectly, it won’t solve your water issues. 

In order to install an in-ground drainage system by yourself, you need to have a basic understanding of what’s causing your drainage problem, as well as how the drainage system works. If you don’t have the time or know-how to DIY, consider hiring a local drainage installation professional to install your yard’s drainage system.

Yard Drainage System Cost Breakdown

The cost of materials and labor ultimately determines the price of what you see on your final bill.

Materials

The material cost of your drainage system depends on which type of system you’re installing. Yard inlets cost about $50 each, while the materials needed for a French drain (pipe, gravel, sump pump) can run up to $1,500.

Labor

Hiring a professional to install a yard drainage system will cost between $50 and $100 per hour. Projects typically take between 12 and 72 hours total, which means your total cost would range from about $600 to $7,200. The time it takes to complete the installation depends on the type of drain you’re installing. Concrete catch basins take the longest to install, while yard inlets take the shortest.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Drainage System by Type?

French Drain

A French drain consists of a pipe that’s dug into a ditch to divert water from basements or yards, usually sending it to a storm drain or a sewage system. French drains cost an average of $10 to $50 per linear foot. However, the price differs based on where the French drain is located. Complex French drain installations, like ones installed near the edge of your house, can cost up to $100 per linear foot. Installing a French drain against your house often involves excavating to the base of a foundation and adding a sump pump to remove excess water.

French drains are relatively simple drainage systems that you can install yourself as long as you’re willing to put in time and energy. But if you’re not comfortable with laying your own pipe or digging trenches, leave the dirty work to a pro.

Trench or Channel Drain

Trench or channel drains typically cost between $30 and $100 per linear foot, but more complex installs, like drains that run underneath driveways, cost about $150 per linear foot. The total price tag of the trough or channel will vary depending on its length and the type of material used. 

These types of drainage systems collect and disperse runoff over a large area, and then move the water through an underground drainage system, similar to an underground gutter system.

If you’re installing your trench or channel drain in your concrete driveway, consider calling in a professional. Installation requires you to break up concrete with a jackhammer before installing a surface drain and then repouring and leveling the concrete. After the intensive installation process, the results—proper driveway drainage—will please you.

Underground Downspout

True to its name, these drainage systems are downspouts placed underneath your lawn. Underground downspouts cost between $200 and $2,000 each. The premise of this yard drainage system is simple: The downspouts direct water away from the perimeter of your home and into a municipal drain or sewer.

Installing an underground downspout requires a lot of manpower—there’s intense digging and pipe connecting involved. For the average homeowner, hiring a pro is a better idea than DIY. A professional can install the downspout quickly and correctly.

Yard Inlet

At $50 to $100 per unit, yard inlets are one of the most cost-effective yard drainage system options on the market. Plus, they are sold at most hardware stores. Yard inlets consist of a surface grate and subsurface piping that you can install just underneath the soil surface to reroute water away from your yard. This tactic prevents your yard from becoming waterlogged and muddy.

Yard inlets are fairly easy to install yourself, which makes them even more budget-friendly. But some units are heavier than others, so grab a partner to help you dig a hole and place the inlet in your yard.

Concrete Catch Basin

Concrete catch basins cost $2,000 to $5,000 per unit, including connections and installation. This type of drainage system isn't common on residential properties, especially homes built after 1960, because they accommodate older sewer systems that have a single-pipe system. Catch basins can adequately separate contaminants, so consider installing one if you live in a community with a single-pipe sewer system.

Concrete catch basins are installed lower than the bottom of the street’s sewer system. A grate sits over the top, allowing runoff from your yard to flow into the catch basin, away from your yard, and into a nearby stream or water source. Since concrete catch basins are very heavy and require a lot of manpower to move, hire a professional to install one.

Plastic Catch Basin

Plastic catch basins are essentially a less expensive version of concrete catch basins, costing between $200 and $500 each. This type of drainage system sits below your downspout and separates contaminants, like leaves and large debris, and diverts the water to a storm sewer system or a dry well.

Plastic catch basins are relatively lightweight, which means they’re easy to install. However, they need to be placed underground. If you’re an experienced DIYer or a landscaper who isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty, this shouldn’t be a problem. But for a more hands-off project, hire a professional who specializes in this type of drainage system.

FAQs About Installing a Drainage System in Your Yard

How do I install a yard drainage system?

The process is different for each type of drainage system. But no matter your drainage system type, you’ll have to start by digging a hole or trench. To install an effective French drain, for example, you’ll need to dig a trench, line it with filter fabric, pour gravel inside, hook up pipe connections, set the pipe, and cover it with gravel.

You can use shovels or rent a trencher, depending on the size of the trench or hole you’re digging. You generally don’t need a permit from the city to install a drainage system on your own property, but if the work involves changing a structure or electrical work, contact your municipality to check the requirements.

What should I consider when installing a yard drainage system?

When installing your yard drainage system, consider the slope of your property. Drainage trenches must slope away from your yard by at least a 1% slope to drain properly.

Also, consider how much water you need to drain. If your yard holds a lot of water in the winter, consider installing multiple drains to keep the area dry efficiently. Each municipality has different limits for how much water you can drain off your property. 

Before digging, always call 811. Even if you’re only digging a few inches, you could sever a gas or sewage line. A cut line is a serious safety hazard.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Since you’ll likely be digging a trench to install your yard drainage system, this is a good time to complete other tasks that involve digging up your yard, including:

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