Irrigation with Gutter Downspouts

Using a Rain Downspout to Protect your Slab and Irrigate the Garden

© Kelly Smith

This article explains the benefits of using gutter downspouts to protect the home's slab or foundation. The rainwater can be channeled off to use irrigating the garden.

Garden Irrigation with Gutter Downspouts

Do you have gutters mounted on the fascia board on your roof? Most likely you do. Their purpose is to prevent the rain from falling where you don't want it. One common place is over the walkway to your front door. But they're misused all too often, usually recommended by over-zealous gutter salesmen. So we know gutters make life a bit more comfortable. In this article we will take a look at the benefit of gutter downspouts.


Gutter Downspouts can Protect your Slab

The gutter system's purpose is to contain rainwater flowing down the shingles and then channel it to the gutter downspout. The downspout then directs the water down to the ground. You really don't need gutters on your entire roof. You actually want the water to fall off the roof with an even distribution so that the ground at all edges of the slab or foundation gets the same amount of water. This reduces your chances of the slab cracking due to saturated ground in one area, and dry, shrunken ground elsewhere.

So now you've chosen the spots where a gutter would aid you and not jeopardize the slab or foundation. You’ve got all this rain water collected in the gutter downspout - what to do with it? You probably have a flower bed or garden near by; this is a perfect place to send the rain water.


Build your Irrigation System

Your home improvement store sells flexible plastic tubing that's designed to slide over the base of your downspout. Use this to guide the water away from the base of your house to keep from super-saturating one area.

At the terminal end of your tubing cut a piece of Plexiglas that will just fit into the end of the tube. Now drill a hole into the Plexiglas and insert the end of a soaker hose. Seal it all with silicone. Now bury the soaker hose in your flowerbed or garden. The excess rainwater from your roof will now benefit your plants!

When installing a gutter downspout, keep these tips in mind. Attach it to the base of the gutter with pop rivets or self-tapping screws. Put some form of mesh strainer at the opening. Use high quality silicone caulk to seal all connections.


The Alternative of Garden Irrigation

If you decide not to use the flowerbed watering system described above, you still need a way to get rainwater away from your slab. As we mentioned, too much water at any one spot is bad for your slab's health.

Your home improvement store stocks water “diverters” made of concrete or use downspout extinctions. They just sit on the ground under the downspout and funnel the rainwater away from your house.

So as you can see, the unacknowledged gutter downspout benefits the health of your slab or foundation and can be a major asset in keeping your garden or flowerbed properly irrigated.