How to Install Pop-up Drains in Your Lawn

hosing lawn
  • 15-30 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-6,000
What You'll Need
Drainage pipe sufficient to reach the water-safe destination
Pop-up drainage emitter
Digging equipment
Grass seed
Optional catch basin

Pop-up drains are also known as pop-up drainage emitters. By any name, these drain systems are effective in redirecting your water flow to a water-safe area on or near your property, well away from your foundation.

The emitter allows water captured by roof gutters, downspouts, catch basins, or grates to flow through drainage pipe, away from your building. The pop-up emitter is then opened by hydrostatic pressure. If installed near a road, your pop-up emitter can release water to flow over your curb, eliminating the need to drill through the curb.

The main benefit of pop-up emitter drains is that when not in use, they close, effectively preventing small animals and refuse from entering your drains. Hydrostatic pressure means that no power is needed for the drains to operate.

Specific installation instructions will vary depending upon your situation, but the following steps apply in general.

Step 1 — Measure Distance and Slope

Determine the distance from the source of the runoff to the water-safe drainage area. Ascertain that the slope is sufficient to direct the flow from the emitter to a safe area. For optimum performance, the top of the emitter must be located at a lower elevation than the pipe inlet.

Step 2 — Purchase Materials

Purchase sufficient drainage pipe based on your measurements, and select the pop-up emitter that is most appropriate for your purpose. Pop-up drains are available in an assortment of brands and sizes, and package directions will provide details to aid your decision.

Step 3 — Optional Catch Basin

To control the flow of water away from a roof gutter downspout, installing a 9- to 12-inch catch basin is recommended. Dig a trench large enough to hold the catch basin. Pipe water from the catch basin to the pre-determined discharge point, which should ideally be a minimum of 10 feet from the building.

Step 4 — Dig Trench for Pipe

Dig the trench deep enough to lay the pipe at the needed angle for appropriate flow. Remember, the top of the emitter should be lower than the pipe inlet.

Step 5 — Attach the Pipe and Emitter

Again, manufacturer’s directions will prevail, but since these drains operate by hydrostatic pressure, there are few variables of concern. Attach the inlet end of the pipe to the source of your water drainage area.

Step 6 — Cover and Seed

Cover your new pipe with dirt and plant grass seed over the area. In very little time, your new drains will be virtually invisible except when operating.

Step 7 — Maintain

Although your pop-up emitter drains are generally low-maintenance, it is important to check them occasionally to assure there are no blockages. Verify that they are recessed when mowing your lawn, raking and performing other routine lawn chores.