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Is water pooling in your yard after it rains? You may have an issue with your outdoor drain system. Flooding around outdoor drains is a frustrating problem many homeowners encounter. 

This post will discuss some of the most common reasons your drain may be overflowing, such as debris clogs, damaged pipes, or improper drainage slopes. We’ll also cover solutions like clearing obstructions, fixing broken parts, and adjusting grades if needed. Let’s explore what could be causing your flooding and how to prevent future issues.

Common Causes of Outdoor Drain Flooding

Several issues can cause water to pool around outdoor drains and lead to flooding. Identifying the underlying problem is essential to resolving it. Here are some of the most common culprits:

Debris and leaves clogging the drain

Leaves, sticks, and grass clippings can wash into outside drains and slowly block the pipe over time. Even a partial clog can reduce the flow of water. Overflowing gutters and downpipes can also lead to water entering rood cavities and flooding ceilings or walls, damaging roof timbers or property foundations.

Broken or cracked pipes

Over the years, continued use and exposure to weather can damage plastic or clay drain pipes. Cracks allow water to enter pipes instead of exiting.


Tree roots invading pipes.

Nearby tree roots follow the path of least resistance, often directly into underground pipes. This causes cracking and breakage.

Settling soil changing drain slope 

As soil settles over time, it can alter underground pipes’ slope and lead to poor flow of standing water.

The downspout discharge point is too close to the drain.

Heavy downspout runoff can overload a drain if the discharge spout is placed directly above or near the drain inlet.

Clearing Drain Obstructions

The first step in addressing outdoor drain flooding is to clear any obstructions from the drain pipe. This often solves the problem immediately by restoring proper water flow. 

To clear a clog, use a garden hose to flush standing water from the drain and pipe. This can sometimes dislodge lighter debris. For heavier blockages, you may need to manually remove built-up leaves and other materials from the drain itself.


You can also use a thin, flexible drain snake to remove clogs further down the line. Simply insert the snake into the drain opening and manually rotate and pull it back to capture and remove debris. 

Finally, use a pressurised water jet or drain cleaning chemical solution introduced through the clean-out ports to flush the remaining build-up fully. Cleaning obstructions out of the drain is a straightforward solution that doesn’t require extensive repairs.

Repairing Damaged Drain Pipes

If debris clearing does not solve the drainage systems issue, it may be time to inspect the drain pipe for damage. Start by using a drain camera or snake with a camera attachment to view the inside of the pipe from the cleanout. 

Look for cracks, tree roots, or sagging areas. For minor cracks, applying flexible sealant may suffice.

For larger breaks, it’s best to cut out and replace the damaged section of pipe. Be sure to properly prepare the pipe ends and use compression fittings for a secure connection. 

Try rejoining loose or separated pipe joints by digging around them, cleaning them thoroughly, and reconnecting them with bonding cement made explicitly for PVC or other piping material. In some cases where damage is extensive, the entire drain pipe run may need replacement to resolve flooding woes fully.

Ensuring Proper Drainage Slope

Proper drainage slope is critical for water to flow through an outdoor drain system efficiently. The general rule of thumb is that drain pipes should fall 1/4 inch per foot of run. If soil settling has reduced the slope over time, you may need to re-grade the yard area around the drain. 


Start by using a level or string level to check the current slope. Dig up and re-slope the soil as needed to achieve at least a 1/4 inch drop over each foot moved away from the blocked drain. Compact the soil well when finished. 

Another option is to install a small retention system like a dry well or French drain to capture overflowing drain and slowly absorb it into the ground. Check local codes first, as some municipalities have regulations regarding such systems. Verifying adequate slope can resolve slow drainage issues.

Preventing Future Flooding

Now that you’ve addressed the immediate cause of flooding, it’s important to make changes to help prevent future issues. Start by regularly cleaning leaves and debris from the drain and surrounding area during fall months. Regularly clean your stormwater drains, too. 

Consider installing a drain cover to trap large particles. Inspect the pipe periodically for signs of damage or cracks using a camera. This allows small problems to be caught early. If nearby, redirect downspouts or other runoff sources away from drain locations. 


Also, maintain proper slope around drains by checking for settling every few years and re-grading slightly if needed. Lastly, fence off drains if nearby trees could interfere.

If you’re careful about what goes into your drains and what lies around them, you can avoid some of the unpleasant side effects of blocked drains, including foul-smelling water. These basic maintenance practices will help ensure your outside drain system continues functioning smoothly for many years without unwanted pooling or flash flooding troubles.

Tackle Outdoor Drain Flooding Headaches with the Pros

A variety of common issues like debris clogs, damaged pipes, or improper drainage grade can cause outdoor drain flooding. With some basic maintenance and simple repairs, homeowners can typically resolve flooding problems and prevent future recurrences. 

If you’ve tried unclogging and snaking blocked drains yourself, but flooding persists, it may be time to contact a professional. Is the drain blocked with mud? As the experts in outdoor plumbing and drainage in Gold Coast, Gold Coast Plumbing Experts can inspect your entire system, diagnose potential problems deeply underground, and perform any needed repairs or replacements. 

We have experience getting to the root of drainage issues and providing long-lasting solutions. If overflowing drains or pooling persists after a storm, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’ll evaluate your situation and take care of your outdoor drain flooding worries.