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17 Gutter Drain Ideas to Preserve Your Garden’s Beauty

17 Gutter Drain Ideas to Preserve Your Garden’s Beauty

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You may think that there wouldn’t be that many gutter drain ideas out there since the drainage system seems purely practical, not necessarily presenting a lot of opportunities to customize its design. Surprisingly, this is wrong! There are plenty of ideas to get inspired by. So take a look at the pictures below — and be creative!

1. Harnessing the Nature: Create a Man-Made River

Some of the more popular ideas for gutter drainage utilize creek beds. There’s a good reason for that: with some landscaping effort, this element looks good both in dry weather and during rainy days when it turns into an actual stream.

gutter drain ideas dry creek bed
Also note that dry creek beds are very customizable in their length, depth, and direction. Source 

2. Breaking the Flow: Design a Waterfall

Here is another example of using a streambed to divert the rainwater away from the house. As you can see, it can be combined with other gutter downspout drainage ideas: here, a waterfall has been built out of natural stone, making the design both practical and beautiful.

gutter drain ideas stone waterfall
This kind of drain is easy to DIY, which is a big plus for many homeowners. Source

3. Simplicity Works: Cast Some Stones

While we’re on the topic of DIY creek beds, here’s another example — probably the simplest one to make. All you need is just a small pile of stones — and you could probably complete this DIY project during your lunch break.

gutter drain ideas simple stones
Note that the downspout here is extended, as the stones won’t provide much protection for the soil — so draining the water right next to the house would probably not be the best idea. Source: Kris DuBrasky via Pinterest

4. Hidden Away: Put Everything Underground

Putting a catch basin for your gutter drain underground is a little bit more complicated than just gathering the water into a stream to divert it away. One of the advantages of this approach, however, is that such an underground construction looks very tidy and can be placed in any kind of garden.

gutter drain ideas catchbasin grate
The outflow pipe here is short, but you can actually drain water far away from the downspout, depending on your needs. Source

5. The Chain You Shouldn’t Break: Feel Creative

Many trendy gutter drainage ideas nowadays include hanging rain chains instead of traditional downspouts. Such chains come in many styles and can be a great addition to any garden’s design. You can even DIY your rain chain, like the one in this picture which is made out of old colanders.

gutter drain ideas rain chain
This may not be an option if you live somewhere where it rains heavily, though. Source

6. Creating the Mood: Choose Your Style

If you want to opt for a traditional downspout but add a twist to it, there are gutter downspout extension ideas you can try! This alligator head, for example, is menacing but stylish. A fun decoration for your garden!

gutter drain ideas crocodile spout
It’s a functional detail, too, helping to focus a stream away from the house. Source

7. The Shape of Water: Build a Cascade

There are different ways to shape the water streaming from the gutter. This leafy downspout decoration not only turns a simple drain into a waterfall but is a worthy addition on its own. 

gutter drain ideas leaves cascade
Such a decoration can direct the flow of water into a creek bed, for example. Source

8. A Ray of Light in the Rain: Have Some Fun

Some obvious (but nevertheless cute) rain gutter drain ideas on how to decorate this part of the house include using watering cans as downspout extensions. This bright yellow ensemble brings memories of childhood when the rain was a magical event, fun and playful.

gutter drain ideas repurposed watering can
Something like this can be a great project for DIY enthusiasts. Source

9. Arts and Crafts: Find New Angles

Even a drain pipe can be turned into a beautiful object with just a little bit of creativity. This gutter drain installation is more of an art installation, honestly! A little bit of paint has transformed it into something to admire.

gutter drain ideas added art
It’s proof that art is everywhere you can imagine. Source

10. Perpetuum (or Not) Mobile: Invent More Uses for Things

Some gutter downspout ideas are very intricate. This one is not only functional and quite nice to look at — it also contains a wheel that can be turned into an actual power source which would start working every time it rains. Win-win!

gutter drain ideas moving parts
An impeccably stylish invention. Source

11. How to Drain Gutters Underground: A Simple Answer

One of the simplest solutions to the problem of how to drain gutters away from the house is something like this: a small underground ditch covered by a grate. The grate allows the draining of the water from the surrounding area and not only from the roof gutters, which is a great added bonus.

gutter drain ideas long grate
A classic solution often works best. Source: crina crina via Pinterest

12. Paving the Way: Take Cues from the Environment

Another tried, and true way to drain the water away from the house that’s suitable for paver patios is to install a shallow trough. Styled in the same way as the rest of the patio, it doesn’t distract but looks organic — as a design element.

gutter drain ideas paver drainage
This is a perfect way to avoid installing a complicated drain system. Source 

13. Bottom of the Barrel: Conserve the Resources

If you want to be an eco-conscious homeowner, pay attention to gutter downspout diverter ideas that utilize rain barrels. Gathering water for further use in irrigation and other gardening needs is an amazing example of solving two problems at once.

gutter drain ideas rain barrel
A cheap, easy, and eco-friendly solution: what’s not to like? Source

14. Improbable Ceramics: Class It Up

A rain barrel is not necessarily the most visually pleasing way to deal with the rain, but there are also more attractive variations of them, such as rain urns. This way, you don’t have to think about covering or hiding the reservoir: it becomes a part of the landscape. Be prepared to pay a bit more, though.

gutter drain ideas barrel urn
This simple example is quite beautiful, even if you don’t know how useful it is. Source 

15. Blending Right In: Select the Right Look

You can go even further and make the reservoir part of another trendy landscaping solution — a zen garden. Stones and succulents provide an amazing backdrop for an urn or a vase: an example is shown in the picture.

See Also
Ficus Lyrata Fiddle Leaf Fig Outdoors
gutter drain ideas zen garden
A colorful way to solve your problems. Source

16. Overflowing Pot: Water the Plants

If you don’t have much use for all that rainwater but still want to collect it in one place, another thing to try is to turn the water receptacle into a planter. Choose some thirsty plants so that they don’t drown — and make a beautiful flower bed!

gutter drain ideas rain planter
Interestingly, it doesn’t even matter how the downspout looks — the planter draws all the attention to itself. Source

17. Reinventing the Drain: Build a Whole System

This is another example of an irrigation system that’s built around the gutter drain. Rainwater is carefully drained into the plants, and the way that the planter is constructed keeps the soil sufficiently moist and rich and prevents erosion.

gutter drain ideas planter system
This system is tricky but kinda genius! Source


Below you can find the answers to some popular questions about gutter drainage.

Where to Drain Gutter Water?

To avoid water damage to your basement, you should aim to drain your gutters at least 4 feet from your house — preferably 10 or more feet. The shorter end of this range can be right for you if there are additional factors working in your favor, such as the yard that slopes away from the house, good (and expensive) basement insulation, and dense soil around the house. But generally, the further away from the buildings you drain your gutters, the better.

Are Underground Gutters Good?

Underground gutters and gutter drains have various advantages compared to above-ground ones. For example, this way you don’t have to either search extensively for the right decorations for your downspout or make your peace with the fact that it may look ugly or out of place. Also, an underground system allows you more control over the direction the water goes; you can even drain your pipes into a street gutter if you want. However, there are also some issues that may arise with underground gutters, such as complicated installation and maintenance.

Which Gutter Guard Is Best?

A gutter guard’s purpose is to prevent your gutters from clogging. There are several types of gutter guards:
Screen — basically a grate with large holes;
Brush — a bristly guard that filters out large debris; 
Reverse curve — makes use of surface tension, filters well but is expensive and difficult to install;
Foam — a cheap solution that requires regular cleaning;
Mesh and micro-mesh — a screen with small holes filtering out most debris.
Overall, mesh and micro-mesh are considered the best if you take into consideration the ratio of effectiveness to price. However, to choose what’s best for your particular house, you also need to consider its surroundings. For example, if your house sits on open terrain, you could probably get away with a screen guard. On the other hand, if there are trees all around it — especially if they are pines or similar species — you might need a reverse curve guard.

For more tips on what to do with your gutter drains, watch this video:


Draining your gutters is just something you have to do to avoid flooding your basement. But there’s no reason for your waterproofing solutions not to fit into your beautiful yard’s landscape! Hopefully, gutter drain ideas in this article can help you create a harmonious design. Come back for more inspiration!


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