The greater Los Angeles area is a beautiful part of the country to reside in, but the area is not without its specific challenges. The unique landscape of Los Angeles often leads to the construction of many homes on hillside properties, which can pose drainage issues.

Whether your yard is suffering from standing water or soggy vegetation, learn what you need to know about hillside drainage installation.

Related: Drainage Solutions

Introduction to Hillside Drainage

Yard drainage systems are mandatory for preventing a variety of property and residential damage. Drainage systems are needed when water fails to properly drain away from the property and instead starts to pool, oversaturate, or invade the home.

Water damage can lead to serious structural issues, as well as mold, mildew, rotting floorboards, and other interior problems. It can also kill vegetation, ruin landscaping, and lead to pest infestation in the yard.

retaining wall

While all yards should be fitted with proper drainage solutions, hillside drainage sometimes requires a specialized approach. Many homes built on sloped properties turn to retaining wall construction to expand their usable outdoor space.

Though this is an excellent solution, homeowners will then have to contend with water gathering around the retaining wall. Sloped homes that contain basements run an even higher risk of water intrusion entering the home and damaging the structure. Sloped drainage solutions are therefore needed to ensure safety.

Hillside Drainage Requirements

Los Angele area hillside drainage systems are subject to specific rules and regulations, making it important to have a professional attend to your yard drainage needs. Drainage systems need to be properly sloped and provide a clear channel for the water to be redirected to an appropriate outlet, such as a sewer system or reservoir.

Improperly installed drainage systems can lead to poorly distributed water that could enter the home or interfere with neighboring yards. Additionally, yard drainage solutions need to handle more than just drainage. They must manage erosion, settlement, and soil stability. These factors are particularly pertinent in sloped yards.


Since there are so many variables that come into play, the cost for hillside drainage solutions can vary greatly. Factors that affect the ultimate cost include what drainage system is needed, the extent of drainage issues, how difficult it is to get to the project site, possible machinery required, and the condition of the soil. Some hillside homes present challenges for getting to the construction site and require more extensive yard solutions, such as retaining wall installation, which can ultimately affect the cost.

Available Drainage Solutions

At California Foundation Works, we can customize any yard drainage solution to meet your hillside drainage needs. Since drainage systems should be installed based on the specific needs of the yard, customizing them creates maximum drainage system efficiency.

Top drainage solutions on the market include French drains, sump pumps, catch basins, and channel or trench drains. Other solutions include Flo-Wells, atrium grates, rounded grates, pop-up emitters, terracing, crawl space vapor barriers, and soil grading.

Related: Waterproofing Solutions

french drains

French Drains

Many install French drains because they favor this effective and appealing drainage system. French drains consist of a PVC pipe buried in a dugout trench so that no parts stick out, allowing the yard to retain its landscaping. French drains are an excellent garden drainage solution that will handle pooling water and direct it away from the home.

French drains are effective hillside drainage solutions because they are especially adept at keeping water out of basements.

Since French drains use gravity to facilitate water drainage, they work well on sloped yards. Typically they are installed at lower points of the foundation and are most effective at attending to basement, crawl space, and foundation drainage problems.

Sump Pumps

Sloped homes and houses with basements benefit greatly from a sump pump installation. Damp basements are susceptible to mold, fungi, mildew, and bacteria growth.

Additionally, they run the risk of flooding, which can lead to mold growth, structural damage, and property loss. Sump pumps provide a highly effective solution for rapidly removing large quantities of water and pumping it away from the property. Since sump pumps are most effective on properties with a lower lot than street level, they are a recommended sloped yard drainage solution.

Catch Basins

Catch basins and drain boxes are another backyard drainage solution for hillside drainage. These plastic or metal structures are installed in the ground and connected to storm drains for easy water removal.

The drainage pipe in the catch basin is sloped away from the basin to allow water to channel away from the property on a slope. Catch basins serve as both independent drainage systems and an accompaniment to existing drainage systems.  

Channel or Trench Drains

Channel and trench drains operate with a simple trench design to facilitate yard drainage. Water collects in the drain, with a grated covering preventing debris from clogging the drainage system.

This type of drain works well at removing large amounts of water quickly and is easy to incorporate into the property design. They are installed typically on paved surfaces, such as around driveways. Many incorporate channel or trench drains in their overall yard drainage system design.

Benefits of Acting Now

When it comes to installing your yard drainage system, there is no reason to delay. Putting off a backyard drainage installation could lead to the death of vegetation and potentially irreversible damage to the home’s structure.

While landscape damage due to excess water can pose an eyesore for curb appeal, the real danger of faulty drainage systems is foundation damage. Installing a drainage solution for your hillside home will offer a foundation protection advantage that will ensure the health of your building for many years to come.
Installing a yard drainage system is a necessary choice for protecting both building residents and the property value of the home. With the many drainage system solutions available on the market, there are diverse drainage system combinations that you can explore to create maximum moisture protection.
Connect with a professional today to discover which drainage system is best for your hillside home.

Related: Sump Pump

Why Us?

At California Foundation Works, we want you to love where you live. From necessary home repairs and stabilization to backyard and yard expansion, we’re committed to bringing you your dream home without compromising on safety. We collaborate closely with homeowners to achieve their dream homes without breaking the bank while following all codes and requirements of your local building codes…

Are you considering any yard or property expansion? Call today to start the discussion! We’re happy to answer all questions.

Are you tired of dealing with soggy yards and standing water?

Is your property suffering from the effects of excess water?

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