18+ Best Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Last Updated on December 24, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Water puddling in the yard can become a big mess especially when the rainy season arrives. With this, you must be creative in positioning your drainage so that it would not cause more yard mess. The good news is that you can actually incorporate your drainage ditch in your landscape design seamlessly. 

To have a head start of what you can do, here are some drainage ditch landscaping ideas for you to refer from. 

best drainage ditch landscaping designs

Related: 12+ Creative Downspout Landscaping Ideas

18 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

So, how do you make drainage ditch landscaping? Here are 18 simple ideas to draw inspiration from. 

Related: 30 Low-water Landscaping Ideas For Your Garden

1-4. Rock ditch landscaping

This is the easiest and most cost-efficient drainage ditch landscaping idea. If it is a dry creek bed, you can use river rocks. If you are making one that flows in between flower beds, you can use smoother pebbles or stones. Here are some ideas of a rock drainage ditch landscaping for you. 

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Smooth pebbles flowing towards a streambank. 

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Or a more ornate and dense arrangement like this one. 

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Build a dry creek bed that takes the water from the gutter to the turf and gravel bed landscape. 

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Or something that can cover the entire yard where rocks, pebbles, mulches, and wood elements are used. 

5-6. French drain

For a more formal look on the landscape, you can install a French drain. They are more elaborate looking because they often come with edging using bricks, concrete pavers and more. 

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This one makes use of neutral toned quartz and edged with brick stones. It serves as a boundary for the turf and the lush vegetation. 

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For a more polished look, say for modern or contemporary design homes, you can use concrete edging for your drainage ditch and cover it with white quartz. 

7. Rock wall

7 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

This one would really work for drainage ditches that are at the end of the driveway. Rocks are simply impenetrable, and you need them for stronger outdoor water currents especially during storms. 

This rock wall generally houses the main pipes from the road to someone’s property line. To give it an accent, a stone bed is installed. 

8-11. Water feature

8 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

You can become more inventive and turn your drainage ditch into a water feature for your landscape. 

You can set up one in that part of the landscape which collects the most water. The excess water can be recycled over and over to supply a central fountain. 

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You can also encase it in wooden retractable covers, throw in light colored pebbles in the water puddle and turn it into a zen drainage ditch with a concrete frame like this one. 

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You can also create a fountain out of it by placing the drainage ditch using a stack of rough-edged concrete pavers at the end of the gutter pipe. 

11 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

Or what about strategically positioning a rain barrel just below the gutter. This one seamlessly connects with the vibe of the landscape. 

12-15. Drainage grates

12 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

To collect water runoff all around the property or even in the house, you can install a drainage grate system along the house. It could be as simple as the typical slatted ones, or you can install decorative drainage grates. 

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This is the typical drainage grate that you would want to install for a clean, symmetrical look. 

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You may also install more decorative trench grates like this one…

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Or this one…

Or maybe push for a dome like drainage grate that swoops in the water at a one-time big-time basis. 

16-17. Using paving materials 

16 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

You can also incorporate drainage ditching by simply designing your landscape with small gaps in between the pavers. Adding grass can also help in more water absorption like this one. 

17 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

This paving can be impervious to water puddling too and as such, makes a practical choice for a drainage ditch. It also adds to your curb appeal

18. Rain gardens

18 drainage ditch landscaping ideas

You can also make a raised rain garden to act as a shallow catch basin for rainwater especially for sloped terrains. It only requires fast draining soils and then just install a pipe or a swale for the water runoff. Here is what a simple rain garden looks like. 


More than these drainage ditch landscaping ideas, here are some FAQs that you should also be aware of. 

What should I line a drainage ditch with?

There are various types of drainage liners out there and some of the most common ones would be the following: 

  • Natural clay liner
  • Spray and rock liner
  • Pre-formed concrete
  • Pre-formed plastic liner
  • Flexible polymer liner

How do you keep a drainage ditch from washing out?

To maintain the drainage from erosion, here are the tips and methods that you can do: 

  • Use rock weirs or dam-like structures to slow down water flow. 
  • Install grade stabilization structures to re-route water flows.
  • Start revegetation through seeding, streamside fencing and rootstock planting. 

How much does it cost to put drainage in a yard?

Depending on the lawn size, the average cost of installing a drainage ditch in the yard would be in between $1200-8000 or $8-15 per linear foot. The cost of a drainage ditch also depends on the materials used for installing them. 

What is the best rock for drainage?

It would be coarse washed rock with a size of ½ to ¾ inch stone size. Pea gravels tend to crumple together and as such, may not move with water flow. On the other hand, smaller rocks would have greater tendencies to clog the drainage. 

How deep does a drainage ditch need to be?

The recommended depth for a drainage ditch would be 18-inches. This gives you enough space to spread a gravel bed and to over the pipe that covers it. This also allows your landscape to be more manageable. 


Installing a drainage ditch landscaping is not just a practical solution to water puddling and erosion but it also impacts the overall look of your lawn because you are creating a stream where water can re-incorporate in a nearby pond or stream. So, whether you are working on a dry creek bed or a more upscale one, a drainage ditch landscaping can do the job.