How to Screen Your Yard Drains Properly

What You'll Need
Enough screen to cover twice the area of your drain covers
Heavy duty shears
Work gloves
Tire iron, screwdriver or wonder bar for lifting drain covers
Trash can for drain refuse
Optional Mosquito Dunks

Drainage is a critical feature of landscaping, protecting your home’s foundation by assuring proper runoff of rainwater. In most cases, drains in your landscaping include perforated pipes set in gravel underground. The water reaches the drain by way of a drain cover - a slotted plate set into the ground - and the slots may get clogged with lawn refuse, grass clippings and soil. If standing water is able to accumulate, it can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The simplest solution is to install screens in the slotted drain covers. Flexible vinyl window screen material is inexpensive and easy to find in hardware stores and garden centers. You can also consider using “Mosquito Dunks”  during this process if you are concerned about breeding in your clogged drains. Dunks are available at most garden centers and hardware stores, as well.

Step 1 - Locate, Count and Measure Drains

The size and slope of your lawn will dictate the number of drains you need to locate and screen. Find them all, and measure to calculate the total area you’ll need to cover.

Step 2 - Purchase Screen

Buy your screen based on the total area calculated in your measurements. Since you need to extend your screening material beyond the edges of the drains, having double the total area will allow you enough margin for error.

Step 3 - Cut Screen

Cut the screen into sections several inches larger than the drain cover measurement, in both width and length. Your sections may be square, rectangular or circular, depending upon the shape of your drain pipe cover. As long as extra material is there to extend beyond the edge, it need not be perfect.

Step 4 - Open and Clean Drains

Use your tire iron or screwdriver to pry the drain covers off, and clean out all grass, soil and other debris from the drain. If you have had a problem with mosquitoes breeding in your standing water, this is a good opportunity to set “Mosquito Dunks” in place, which will kill any larvae breeding in your drains. Follow package directions.

Step 5 - Set Screens

Place the cut sections of screen over the drain pipe, and replace the drain cover. Make sure that there is excess screen extending beyond the cover to assure that the screen stays in place properly. The screen should be taut across the pipe, and will stay in place securely.

Step 6 - Perform Regular Maintenance

While the screens will prevent soil, grass and debris from traveling into your drain pipes, these materials will still likely accumulate on the drain covers and screens themselves. For optimum efficiency, clean these regularly. Simply remove the drain covers in the same way and clean the screens thoroughly. Replace any screens that may have become ripped over time.

Prevention is much easier than repair when it comes to screening your lawn drains.