Concrete Spoon Drains: The Complete Guide to Installation and Design in Australia

If your backyard or property doesn’t drain well, installing a concrete spoon drain could be the solution. Spoon drains are a type of open channel drainage system made of concrete. This guide will cover everything you need to know about concrete spoon drains, including how to install them and design considerations for your landscape.

What is a Concrete Spoon Drain?

A concrete spoon drain is an open concrete channel that collects and diverts surface water away from an area. It consists of a u-shaped concrete channel with a grate cover. The spoon shape allows water to flow efficiently down the center of the drain.

Spoon drains act as part of a water drainage system by collecting rainwater runoff and transporting it somewhere else on your property. The concrete construction makes them sturdy and long-lasting.

Spoon Drain Design: When is a Concrete Spoon Drain the Right Choice?

Spoon drains are ideal when you need an open drain rather than buried pipes. They work well to:

  • Direct water away from foundations or soggy areas
  • Drain driveways, gardens, and other landscaping
  • Move water from saturating certain zones to alternate discharge areas
  • Provide drainage in areas with rocky soil or obstructed underground installation

The shallow open channel design collects and conveys water away faster than it can soak into the ground. Spoon drains are a drainage solution suitable for many landscaping applications.

How Are Concrete Spoon Drains Installed?

Proper installation is important for spoon drains to work effectively. Here are the basic steps:

  • Layout the design and dig a trench 12-24 inches deep following the planned drainage path.
  • Compact gravel in the trench to stabilize the base.
  • Form the concrete channel so the drain invert lines up with the ground surface height.
  • Pour or place concrete in the trench, forming the u-shaped spoon drain. Allow to cure.
  • Position the metal grate covers over the channel opening.
  • Backfill soil on the sides of the drain, packing it firmly in place.
  • Connect ends of the drain to discharge outlets as needed.
  • Seal all concrete joints using cement or flexible waterproof material.
  • Test water flow and make any adjustments to alignment or slope.

Proper slope and drainage calculations are crucial for the system to work right. Contact a professional for assistance designing and installing more complex spoon drain systems.

Design Considerations for Spoon Drains

Good planning and design makes all the difference in how well your concrete spoon drain will perform. Be sure to:

  • Survey the property and identify problem areas that collect water.
  • Determine the best path to convey water to discharge locations.
  • Calculate the drainage capacity and pipe/channel sizing needed.
  • Maintain a 2-4% slope for optimum water flow and velocity.
  • Use catch basins, junction boxes, and cleanouts to control flow.
  • Check local regulations for proper materials, disposal, permits, and codes.
  • Choose durable, frost-resistant materials suited to the climate and soil conditions.
  • Plan access points for maintenance and drain cleaning.

Considering all the variables will ensure your spoon drain system functions properly and lasts over time.

Can You Install a Concrete Spoon Drain as a DIY Project?

In many cases, installing a small spoon drain on your property can certainly be a DIY project. However, it helps to have some construction experience with excavating, concrete, and grading. Be sure to:

  • Research local drainage regulations and secure permits if needed.
  • Rent any equipment needed for digging, concrete work, etc.
  • Study proper drainage design principles and channel sizing.
  • Buy the right materials including drainage gravel, concrete, and grates.
  • Follow building codes and safety precautions when trenching.
  • Get help maneuvering heavy materials and pouring concrete.

For largescale drainage issues or complex installations, the expertise of a landscaping contractor is recommended. They have the right tools, materials, and training.

Alternatives to Concrete Spoon Drains

Concrete offers durability, but other materials can work too. Some alternatives include:

  • Plastic trench drains – lightweight and easier to install than concrete. More prone to damage.
  • Gravel waterways – simple crushed stone channels to move water. Requires maintenance.
  • Dry creek beds – works well in gardens and landscaping for drainage.
  • French drains – perforated pipes filled with gravel; good for dispersing water.
  • Rain gardens – channels and ponds designed to absorb excess stormwater.

Each option has pros and cons to weigh based on your specific needs. A combination of methods is often most effective.

Maintaining and Protecting Your Spoon Drain

Regular maintenance keeps your spoon drain working properly. Be sure to:

  • Check for debris clogging the grate or channel. Remove leaves, sediment, etc.
  • Repair any concrete cracks or damage immediately to prevent worsening.
  • Clean the drain channel periodically using a pressure hose or vacuum truck.
  • Realign the grate if it shifts and impedes water flow.
  • Seal any new cracks and refresh waterproofing sealants.
  • Inspect the system after heavy rains and make adjustments as needed.
  • Trim back vegetation and roots that may impair the drain over time.

With simple periodic care, a well-installed concrete spoon drain will provide years of reliable service. Protect your landscape investment with proper maintenance.


Q: What are concrete spoon drains?

A: Concrete spoon drains are drainage channels made of concrete that are designed to collect and channel water away from the ground surface to prevent water accumulation and potential flooding.

Q: How do I install concrete spoon drains?

A: To install concrete spoon drains, you will need to first dig a trench in the ground where you want the drain to be. Then, position the drain in the trench, ensuring that it is level and in line with the ground surface. Finally, backfill the trench around the drain with soil or concrete, making sure to leave the grate exposed.

Q: Are concrete spoon drains the best option for drainage?

A: Concrete spoon drains are a popular choice for drainage due to their durability and ability to effectively channel water away from the ground surface. However, the best drainage option for your specific needs may depend on various factors, such as the amount of water flow, the terrain, and the intended use of the area.

Q: Can I install concrete spoon drains myself?

A: While it is possible to install concrete spoon drains yourself, it is recommended to seek professional assistance, particularly if you have little to no experience with drainage installation. Professional installers are knowledgeable about the best practices and can ensure that the drains are properly installed to effectively manage water flow.

Q: What is a grate in the context of concrete spoon drains?

A: The grate is a component of the concrete spoon drain that covers the top of the channel and helps to prevent debris from entering the drain. It also provides a surface for water to enter the drain while allowing it to flow freely.

Q: What is AG steel?

A: AG steel, also known as agricultural steel, is a type of steel commonly used in the construction and manufacturing of products for agricultural purposes. In the context of concrete spoon drains, AG steel may refer to the material used for the spoon drain channels or grates.

Q: Can I use concrete spoon drains for storm water drainage?

A: Concrete spoon drains can be used for storm water drainage, as they are designed to effectively channel and divert water away from the ground surface. However, it is important to consult with your local authorities or a professional installer to ensure compliance with any specific regulations or requirements.

Q: Spoon Drain Concrete Construction: Can concrete spoon drains be installed around my home?

A: Concrete spoon drains can be installed around your home to manage water runoff and prevent potential damage. However, the specific placement and design of the drains should be based on the terrain, existing drainage systems, and the overall layout and needs of your property. Seeking professional guidance is advised to ensure the most effective installation.

Q: How do concrete spoon drains help with water drainage?

A: Concrete spoon drains help with water drainage by providing a channel for water to flow away from the ground surface. The slope of the drain, along with the shape and design of the channel, helps to direct water towards an outlet, preventing water accumulation and potential flooding around your property.

Q: Are there any additional steps I should take when installing concrete spoon drains?

A: When installing concrete spoon drains, it is important to check with your local authorities or a professional installer for any specific requirements or guidelines. Additionally, it may be necessary to prepare the surrounding area by leveling the ground, removing any obstacles, and ensuring proper grading to ensure efficient water flow.

Key Takeaways on Concrete Spoon Drains

To recap, key tips on installing spoon drains include:

  • Spoon drains efficiently move surface water away from soggy areas.
  • They work well when an open channel design is preferred.
  • Proper slope and construction techniques are crucial for performance.
  • Consider all design factors carefully before installation.
  • DIY is possible for simple projects with appropriate help.
  • Alternatives like gravel and plastic may also suit your needs.
  • Regular maintenance keeps spoon drains working as intended.

Don’t tolerate yard drainage issues – a properly designed concrete spoon drain system can provide an effective remedy. With thoughtful planning and design, it can divert nuisance water and protect your landscape for years to come.

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