Driveways that don’t drain well are frustrating, as they cause issues every time excess surface water appears. In this article, we’ll look at how to improve a poorly drained driveway so you can avoid the damage from standing excess water.

Signs Your Driveway’s Drainage Needs Help

In order to know if your driveway has any drainage issues, you need to know what to look for. Here are a few signs of poor drainage:

  1. Water puddles at the end of the driveway
  2. Eroding land around the driveway
  3. Landscape that can’t survive near the driveway
  4. Cracks and erosion in the driveway
  5. Damaged driveway foundation

Let’s look at some solutions for poor driveway drainage.

Trench Drains

Trench drains are formed drains just below the surface that create a narrow channel to divert water away from your driveway and, ultimately, your home. After the creation of the trench drain, a grate covers the drainage system to keep debris from going in and protect those near the grate. Grates come in many styles and are chosen according to purpose and style.


A swale is a shallow drainage ditch, left uncovered and created on a slope so water naturally flows in the right direction, away from the driveway. The sides are higher than the ditch to prevent erosion, and the bottom is often covered in gravel.

Redirect Water

Is it possible to redirect water away from the driveway on your property? Walk around the property and carefully inspect areas such as downspouts. Are they pointing in the right direction? Sometimes a quick turn of the downspout fixes the situation.

Exterior Home Maintenance

An important way to improve a poorly drained driveway is by maintaining the outside of your home. Regularly scheduled maintenance helps protect the driveway from excess water damage. Here are some ways to protect your property from water damage:

  1. Clean out the gutters
  2. Repair driveway cracks and erosion
  3. Build retaining walls to help with water drainage
  4. Use mulch to protect soil
  5. Loosen compacted soil

When building your own driveway, make sure proper water drainage is part of the equation. If the driveway is already done and you are beginning to notice drainage is an issue, follow the suggestions we’ve discussed for a driveway and yard that last for decades.