Skip to Content

How To Prevent Leaves From Clogging Drains

A sound drainage system is indispensable for your garden and outdoor spaces. It prevents water logging and keeps your plants and house foundation safe.

However, drains are prone to clogging, especially when leaves keep falling into the grates.

This article will explore several easy methods to clean out clogged drains and prevent leaves from getting into them.

Lets us first learn what a rugged drainage system means for your property.


The Benefits of A Rugged Drainage System

Apart from preventing your yard from getting flooded, a well-maintained drainage system provides other advantages, including:

1. Protects Foundation And Plants

There have been so many instances of water sweeping away gardens or sturdy foundations due to the force it flows with. This force can crack up your ground, especially if it is concrete.

Without a proper drainage system that can redirect this water to a sewer, your garden plants, flowers, and crops could begin rotting at their roots.

2. Prevents Build Up Of Stagnant Water


A poor drainage system leads to areas of your yard getting accumulated with water that doesn’t seem to move or flow in any direction.

Typically, after 24 hours, this water will begin to smell, host harmful bacteria and attract mosquitoes (which will very likely lay their eggs there).

This makes your yard an inhospitable place to live or grow plants around.

3. Prevents Soil Erosion


Lack of proper drainage multiplies the damage soil erosion causes to your outdoor garden. It typically leads to the top fertile layer of the soil being swept away.

Without it, too much water enters the soil pores, clogs it, and stops the soil from receiving air. This, in turn, can cause oxygen starvation in the plants and stunt their growth.

4. Prevents Pipe Bursts And Leaks


A clogged drain can also affect your underground pipes, which can split and leak due to water pressure.

The cost of replacing or repairing them is significant.

Furthermore, you could be at loggerheads with your neighbors as their property could be adversely affected.

How To Prevent Leaves From Blocking Drains And Gutters?


The best you can do is to prevent the drainage system from getting clogged up rather than having to call professional services later. You can do this through these simple steps:

1. Invest In Drain Covers Or Guards


This is an inexpensive way to prevent leaves, twigs, and debris from clogging the drains in your yard. You can buy metal, wooden, or wire mesh covers, or you can make one yourself.

However, you should inspect the drain cover regularly because it will need cleaning and care to be effective.

You can place a few flower pots around them to make them inconspicuous.

2. Clean The Drains Regularly

However hard you try, small leaves or twigs will eventually find their way into your drain. It is important to inspect and clean them regularly.

You can use a shovel or rake to push the leaves out, then dispose of them. Another equally efficient method is using a wet-dry vacuum to suction the leaves out through the drain.

Although this is a more expensive option, it will remove a large chunk of leaves that are deep inside the drain and cannot be removed by a shovel.

3. Maintain Your Yard

Do not allow piles of twigs, fallen leaves, flowers, or fruits to build up in your yard. They are very likely to be carried by flowing water into your drainage system if left unattended.

Dispose of them in compost piles or organic waste bins as soon as possible.

How To Clean A Clogged Drain?

The best part is that you will only need equipment lying around your house to do this job efficiently.

Tools You’ll Need


● Screwdriver
● Gloves
Garden hose and water
● Hand rake
● Shop vacuum (optional)
● Power auger (optional)
● Rubber drain bladder (optional)
● A bag to put the dirt and leaves


1. Remove The Drain Cover

Remove the drain grate on each catch basin in your yard. This is the grid set (made of either metal or plastic) that’s mounted over the catch basin.

It is usual for them to be screwed firmly so that a screwdriver will come in handy. Most drainage systems have only one of those, but others could have more.

Sometimes, the drain covers might be obstructed by debris and fallen leaves, so you might need to look around to find them.

2. Clean Out The Drain

If your roof gutters are connected to your yard drain, start cleaning them before getting to the drain system.

Use your hands to take out as much debris as you can. Make sure you have your gloves on while doing this.

Also, use a hand rake to push out the rest of the debris. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum to reach areas of the drain your hands can’t.

If the drain branches out in different directions, clean each branch out. Remove everything that doesn’t belong in the drain— leaves, rocks, trash, dirt.

Do not try to flush the debris as they will accumulate at a termination point and cause blockage there.

3. Check The Termination Point

Locate the termination point of the drain— where the drain pipe empties its content. It could be somewhere in your yard where a slope can channel the water on the street curb.

Inspect it to make sure there is no debris blocking the area and preventing the free flow of water. If there are, clean the termination point as far as you can reach.

Some termination points can have grate covers, remove them, and clean them as you did with the catch basins.

4. Flush The Drain Pipes

Once you’ve cleared out all the debris, you can now flush the drain pipes with a garden hose and running water.

Insert the hose as far down the drain as it can go and flush out any debris until the water runs freely through to the termination point without any obstruction.

After this step, you can then reattach the grates over the catch basins.

How To Remove Tough Clogs?

Some clogs may prove too tough to be removed by hand. Use the below steps to tackle them:

1. Use A Rubber Drain Bladder


A drain bladder is a rubber balloon that you can attach to your garden hose and fit through the drain.

The bag becomes pressurized when the water is turned on, seals the drain pipe, and dislodges the clogs by sheer pressure. This method is excellent for tougher clogs that wouldn’t budge.

2. Use A Motorized Drain Auger

If you’ve ever used a drain snake to unclog your indoor plumbing, a drain auger works in a similar fashion.

It has a rotating cable and cutter head that cuts through tough clogs from inside the drain— making it highly effective at removing tough debris such as tree roots.

Most yard drains have a diameter of 3-4 inches (sometimes larger). When renting a drain auger, choose one that’s suitable.

You might need to use it from multiple directions (from the catch basin to the termination point and back) to be sure you get all of the clogged debris out. If you’re not sure about doing this yourself, you can hire a professional plumber to auger the drain.

3. Hydro-Jetting



Hydro-jetting (sometimes called water-jetting) involves using water at high pressure to clean out clogged drains. This method is particularly useful when the clog is made of dirt, sludge, or grease.

While you can use a drain auger to cut through the clog, it won’t flush the debris as effectively as a hydro-jet. Hydro-jetting is best done by a professional.


How does a yard drain work?

Yard drains are commonly referred to as catch basins. It is a small underground structure that is covered by a plastic or metal grate meant to ‘catch’ water and redirect it through one or more branch drain pipes that are attached to it.

These pipes are mostly made of plastic. Some may have perforations that allow some water to seep through, while others are made with rigid plastic.

The runoff water is directed to a storm drain, dry well, sewer system, or termination point.

When should you do maintenance on your drain?

This depends entirely on how much stuff goes through your drain but ideally, you want to spend more time inspecting your drain during autumn/fall. This is when the leaves start to fall and head toward your drain.

Take at least ten minutes of your day to scoop the leaves out of your drain, then properly dispose of them. If you don’t do this regularly, you will eventually have a build-up that will require more effort and time to fix.


Garden drains can be prone to clogs and blockages. The best preventive measure is to inspect and clean them regularly. This reduces stress and the amount of time spent finding a solution.

Proper maintenance doesn’t require a lot of tools or materials— all you need is time and dedication.

Use the guide above to your best advantage when required.

How To Prevent Leaves From Clogging Drains

Share to spread love!