WATER: Dry Well


A dry well is a covered hole filled with gravel or similar material. It serves as an endpoint for your drainage system. Water is directed to the dry well, where it filters down through the gravel and is distributed deep into the soil.


A dry well is designed to receive water from a drainage system and disperse it below ground. All drainage systems have to end somewhere. If you can’t drain your water into a storm drain or don’t want to direct runoff into a pond or water garden, a dry well is the perfect choice. Think of it as a method for taking runoff water and filtering it into the soil deep beneath the surface of your yard.


  • A dry well receives water from a drainage system, such as gutter downspouts, drainage ditches, or a French drain.

  • Dry wells receive runoff water from a drainage system and distribute the water underground.

  • Dry wells do not do well at collecting runoff on their own—a drainage pipe or system must direct water to the dry well.

  • A dry well eliminates the need for terminating a drain aboveground, where drain water can cause flooding and erosion.


Dry wells have been a tried and tested technology for hundreds of years. An adequately sized dry well in soil that percolates well can get rid of a large volume of water below ground without

causing any soggy areas in your yard.