How To Hide Downspout Extensions (5+ Ways)

Exposed downspout extensions can be an eyesore on the exterior of your home. They disrupt the aesthetic by drawing attention to the gutters and downspouts. Fortunately, there are several clever ways to conceal these drainage pipes to maintain your home’s curb appeal.

Hiding downspout extensions should be a priority for any homeowner. Not only are visible pipes unattractive, but they indicate that water is being dumped too close to your home’s foundation. This can lead to flooding, mold growth, basement leaks, and foundation damage over time.

Concealing the extensions helps redirect water at least 5 feet away from the house safely. It also makes the home exterior more visually appealing for you, visitors, and potential home buyers.

In this guide, we will explore different methods to hide drainage extensions while keeping water properly diverted from your home.

How To Hide Downspout Extensions (5+ Ways)

Why Hide Downspout Drainage?

Here are the top reasons to conceal exposed downspout extensions:

  1. Improves Curb Appeal: Exposed plastic or metal piping can ruin your home’s aesthetics. Hiding them helps restore a clean, orderly appearance that makes a positive impression.
  2. Increases Home Value: A well-maintained exterior with an attractive facade typically increases resale value. Hidden drainage helps achieve this goal.
  3. Reduces Foundation Damage: Allowing water to pool near foundations increases risks of flooding, mold growth, leaks, and structural issues over time.
  4. Prevents Landscape Erosion: Concealing extensions helps divert water at least 5+ feet from the home into landscaping. This reduces risks of soil erosion and flooded basements.
  5. Enhances Privacy & Security: Exposed drainage reveals pointers about the likely locations of basements, patios, and underground shelters to potential intruders.

How to Hide Downspout Extensions

There are several effective methods to conceal unsightly downspout drainage pipes. The best solution for your home depends on factors like budget, yard space, landscaping, and home exterior design.We will explore the most popular options:

Bury the Pipe Underground

Burying the drainage line underground is an effective way to completely hide the extension while directing water safely away from your home. This method may involve more physical labor but offers a seamless finished look. How It Works: First, disconnect the downspout elbow from the drainage pipe. Dig a trench at least 12 inches deep that extends at least 5 feet from your home’s foundation.

Place the drainage pipe in the trench and slope it 1 inch for every 8 feet of pipe. This allows gravity to direct water flow. Add drainage holes along the pipe to help disperse water into the soil.

Fill the trench with gravel, then top with soil and sod. The buried pipe will now catch roof runoff and divert it through the yard underground.


  • Involves extensive digging which can disrupt landscaping
  • Drainage holes must face down to prevent clogging
  • Freeze-proof piping may be needed in colder climates
  • Not suitable for tree roots or hard, rocky soil
  • Requires periodic maintenance to prevent clogging

Build a Dry Creek Bed

A decorative dry creek bed allows you to hide drainage extensions underground naturally while adding beautiful hardscaping to your landscape.

How It Works:

Dry creek beds use crushed stone, gravel, vegetation and contoured designs to form “creek” shapes that conceal and carry rain runoff from downspouts and sump pumps.

First layout the shape, slope and path the dry creek will follow using landscape paint or a garden hose. Dig a trench at least 6 inches deep and 8-12 inches wide to house the drainage pipe, which should have holes facing down.

Add a layer of crushed stone then place the drainage pipe in the trench sloping 1 inch per 8 feet of pipe. Cover with more gravel, boulders, vegetation and landscaping to create a natural “dry creek bed” design that rainwater will flow beneath. The water exits through an opening at the end of the pipe and soaks harmlessly into your yard.


  • More expensive but adds beautiful hardscaping
  • Can handle heavier water flow
  • Provides habitat for birds, butterflies and pollinators
  • Needs space for the creek bed footprint
  • Drainage pipe holes must face ground to prevent clogging

Build a Rock Trench

A decorative rock trench offers a simpler solution to hide and extend downspout drainage pipes while adding visual interest to your landscape.

How It Works:

First disconnect the elbow joint from the drainage pipe and determine the path the extension will follow at a 1 inch per 8 feet downward slope. Dig a 6 inch deep trench in that path.

Place the drainage pipe in the trench with holes facing down to allow water to exit. Add washed stone, pea gravel or decorative rocks in layers, covering the pipe completely while maintaining the downward slope.


  • Simple, fast, and inexpensive solution
  • Can be short or extend entire yard
  • Adds decorative touch with various rock colors
  • Pipe holes must face down to prevent clogging
  • May not handle heavy rainwater flow
  • More prone to erosion than dry creek bed

Use Decorative Grates & Drains

Another option is using stylish grated drains to catch and filter rain runoff. The grates hide unattractive pipes while adding eye-catching accents to your landscape.

How It Works:

Install decorative drains over drainage pipe openings. Rain chains offer a beautiful above-ground alternative, hanging from gutters and carrying water into drains stylishly.

Dry wells and seepage pits allow you to bury drainage terminals underground while filtering runoff naturally through soil, sand, and gravel layers.

For patios and walkways, use trench drains. These modern designs blend drainage functionality with sleek contemporary styles. Linear grates come in various materials like stainless steel and cast iron to match your exterior finishes.


  • Wide style and finish options
  • Less digging and disruption
  • Works well for hardscaping areas
  • May not handle heavy rainwater flow
  • More expensive than other options
  • Needs periodic cleaning to prevent clogging

Extend into Rain Barrels or Cisterns

Rain barrel and cistern systems allow you to capture, store, and reuse rainwater running off your roof. Downspouts empty directly into these containers, eliminating the need for exterior extensions.

How It Works:

First, disconnect your downspouts from any exterior drainage pipes. Attach a diverter to the downspout using flex pipe. When open, this component redirects water into the barrels for storage and later use watering plants.

Connect additional barrels in sequence to increase storage capacity. Screens keep debris out while overflow valves divert excess water away from your home’s foundation when tanks reach capacity.


  • Eliminates need for exterior drainage extensions
  • Collected water can be used to water plants
  • Can reduce water bills
  • Barrels need space on property
  • Will require frequent draining
  • Won’t handle heavy rain events

Plant Shrubs, Trees or Vines to Hide

Finally, consider using landscaping to obscure unattractive downspout extensions. Shrubs, trees, trellises, vines and other plantings can mask drainage pipes from view naturally over time.

How It Works:

Choose locations to plant greenery where they’ll mature to conceal pipe openings. This saves you from extensive digging while improving curb appeal and adding color to your exterior.

Evergreen shrubs and dense foliage offer immediate coverage while vines and trees take years to reach full size. Trellises also support climbing plant growth.


  • Saves labor of digging trenches
  • Makes extensions less visible quickly
  • Enhances aesthetics with natural elements
  • Takes years for full coverage from trees
  • Needs occasional pruning and training
  • Roots could potentially disrupt pipes

Tips for Concealing Drainage Extensions

Follow these tips to properly hide downspout extensions while maintaining effective drainage:

  • Ensure pipes slope 1 inch for every 8 feet of length. This allows gravity to direct water flow away from your home.
  • Extend 4-6 feet from foundation before making 90-degree bends. Never bend immediately off the home.
  • Use solid drainage pipe instead of corrugated flex hose for buried applications.
  • Ensure drainage holes or seams face down to prevent clogging and backflow.
  • Consider freeze-proof, perforated drainage pipe for cold climates.
  • Use pop-up emitters to hide pipe openings while allowing excess water to drain.
  • Inspect and clean pipes routinely to prevent clogs and backups leading to flooding.
  • Work with qualified landscapers if unfamiliar with drainage grades and local codes.

Common Problems Hiding Downspout Extensions

While concealing drainage extensions has clear aesthetic benefits, several problems can arise if pipes are installed incorrectly:


When drainage holes or perforations face upwards, they’ll quickly clog with soil, leaves, and other debris. This prevents water from exiting the pipe and can lead to backups and flooding. Ensure openings always face downwards.

Settling & Erosion

Improper burial, lack of gravel backfill or compacting can cause trenches to erode and pipes to settle over time. This leads to puddles, interrupted flow, and foundation flooding.


Low quality, unsealed pipe joints and punctured lines will create leaks. Tree roots or rocks can also penetrate and disrupt flow. Inspect for pooling water and saturated soil indicating flow issues.


In cold climates, water inside exposed drainage pipes can freeze and crack lines in winter. Use freeze-proof, perforated drainage tubing instead with proper gravel and soil coverage.

Poor Drainage

Insufficient downward slope or improper drainage grading will prevent adequate water flow away from your home. This allows flooding adjacent to your foundation. Carefully measure and inspect grades throughout the run.

Preventing Downspout Extension Problems

Here are key ways to avoid common drainage pipe issues when hiding extensions:

  • Use solid, non-perforated elbows and piping near foundations before transitioning to perforated pipe.
  • Create a consistent 1 inch drop for every 8 feet of run.
  • Extend a minimum of 5 feet from foundation before bending.
  • Ensure drainage holes or perforations always face downwards.
  • Backfill trenches with washed gravel before burying with soil.
  • Compact soil and add more gravel to prevent erosion and settling over time.
  • Inspect piping routinely for proper drainage flow.
  • Consider hiring a professional landscaper for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far should downspout extensions drain from my home?

At minimum, 5 feet from your foundation. Greater distances up to 20 feet are ideal for diverting water completely away from your home depending on yard space.

How much slope should drainage pipes have?

Maintain a 1 inch drop for every 8 feet of pipe length. The grade should slope continuously downhill to allow roof runoff to gravity drain away from your home.

Can I connect extensions to underground lawn drainage?

Yes, you can tie gutters and downspouts into larger yard drainage systems. Ensure you maintain proper slope and capacity for peak rain events.

What material should I use to conceal downspout drainage?

Non-perforated PVC or ABS plastic piping works well for buried applications, transitioning to perforated drainage tubing with holes facing down to allow water to exit.

Will burying pipes damage my landscaping?

If done improperly, extensive digging can disrupt roots and irrigation. Carefully assess the path and use narrow, shallow trenches to reduce impact. Some surface disruption is inevitable.

How often should drainage systems be maintained?

Inspect pipes routinely for proper flow, leaks, clogs, and slope. Flush debris from openings and clean gutters in fall and spring. Trim any intrusive plant roots or vegetation.

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