Installing a driveway culvert | Living the Country Life

Installing a driveway culvert

Water that insists on staying around can drain away with a pipe

Ditches and other low areas on your property may be a point of frustration when the rainwater won’t drain from your driveway. Consider installing a culvert pipe underneath it so the water has somewhere to go.

Paul Wiegand is the director of the statewide urban design and specifications program with the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University. He says the first thing to do is contact your local public works department or county engineer’s office.  

"Because they’ll have minimum sizes that they require, and they’ll also provide some guidance as to what size of pipe you should have. Most people are not going to be able to go through a serious calculation about the size of the pipe, so lean on those engineers that are available in those agencies," says Wiegand. "Plus also, chances are you’re going to have to get a permit from one of those agencies."

Don’t forget to contact your One Call system so they can contact utility companies to be sure that you won’t be disturbing any underground lines.

Once the length of the pipe is determined, core out the area where it will be laid.

"Put some granular material, generally ¾”-1” size on the bottom where the pipe will lay. It provides good support for the pipe," says Wiegand. "You install the pipe and then backfill around the pipe, generally you’re going to use that same ¾” to 1”-1.5” material around the pipe to provide good support and structural support for that pipe."

Backfill that at least to the middle of the pipe. Wiegand says for best operation you should go to the top of the pipe or even a little bit over, depending on how much elevation you’re able to add. Then, complete your driveway surfacing, whether it be soil or gravel.

Find more tips for installing a culvert pipe

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