Homemade drywell

Old 05-22-20, 05:14 PM
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Homemade drywell

My wife and I are first time homeowner as of 6 weeks ago and lots to do... to make a very long story short, I am wondering if a homemade drywell of this sort will do any good. Also potential problems if it will work.

Will it do me any good if I...
1. Dig a hole 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 ft and 4 - 6 ft deep.
2. Fill with 2 inches of pea stone
3. Place cinder blocks (with holes) in different directions in the hole.
4. Place flat stone pavers over the blocks on top holes
5. Cover with 2 to 4 inches of pea stone on top

During other recent projectsat our home we ended up digging up a lot of pea stone and when ripping up the old overgrown gardens. Now we have an excessive supply of cinder blocks, garden pavers, and pea stone. I was hoping to find a way to help drainage in 1 small area where water pools, while repurposing what I have. I dont want to pay to get rid of this stuff. No large vehicle to transport if easily either.

Any comments are welcome
Old 05-23-20, 06:50 AM
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First, if you've never dug a hole 6' deep. Be prepared for the amount of work this will entail. It is very doable, it's just most people not accustomed to physical work might find it "impossible". Think of it a exercise and don't be discouraged if it takes you longer than expected. And there's nothing wrong with taking breaks when needed.

I think you should fill the hole completely with pea gravel. The large voids created by CMU block could fill in eventually with your pea gravel causing the surface to sink.
Old 05-23-20, 07:57 AM
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If you want to drain pooling water away, from a small area, why not dig a 1 foot deep french drain ....and let it exit somewhere else. One quarter inch drop per running foot.... should do it.
Old 05-23-20, 09:13 AM
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A) "If I were you"...
How many downspouts you have? My first plan would be to dig out several smaller dry wells filled with pea gravel at the end of each downspout discharge; perhaps add swales or buried drain pipes at each downspout redirecting the water where I want. Then take THAT excavated dirt and use it to fill in the low spot. It is MUCH easier to dig several small dry wells than to dig a single large one. You MIGHT want to purchase a post-hole digger, and make individual post-hole sized dry wells at the ends of your downspouts, and one in the center of your puddle, THEN use the dirt excavated to make the downspout dry wells as fill dirt to get rid of the puddle.

B) A 4' deed dry well is do-able. but it will be a workout.
Wear work gloves to avoid blisters, and remember to "switch arms" as you go down each "level"; if you're right handed you'll tend to throw dirt over your left shoulder, making it a point to switch arms helps avoid muscle cramps. Expect to need some gator-aide and yoga stretches the next day, and expect sore muscles 2 days after your exercise.

You're probably going to generate a significant amount of excavated dirt, you'll need a fair amount of reserve dirt to cover the dry well as it compacts, so set aside the topsoil that you initially excavate- you can EITHER mount it up initially and wait for it to settle, or set it aside and add some each month as the dry well settles.
The deeper subsoil CAN be repurposed to create berms to reroute surface water, or to fill in low spots in other portions of the lawn, the subsoil is ALSO generally high in minerals, so it can be good to work into a garden.
However, you'll probably be shoveling out heavy wet soil/subsoil, so I'd have a blue tarp around to mound the dirt on, let it dry, then use a leaf rake to remove the dry surface dirt and then "sift" that over the grass in the low spots, if you do this over a few days or weeks, you won't smother the grass.

Last edited by Hal_S; 05-23-20 at 09:32 AM.
Old 05-23-20, 12:51 PM
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I am wondering if a homemade drywell of this sort will do any good
So what is this going to be used for? A big hole filled with pea gravel will not have a lot of volume left over for water.

Hooking up to a sump pump maybe, gutters, probably would overflow!

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