Tag: diy

Repairing the Patio Drainage System

Unsurprisingly, our patio drainage system (built last spring) did not survive a Wisconsin winter without damage.  We ended up with cracks in two of the fittings and one segment of pipe. I thought this might happen, but I was too lazy to disassemble the system and bring it in over the winter.

Drainage system damageToday’s heavy rain prompted me to make repairs sooner rather than later.  Plus, I figured repairing the system while it was actively raining meant I didn’t need to be super concerned about spilling water from the system onto our downstairs neighbor’s balcony, since their balcony was already wet from the rain.

To make the repairs, I cut from the pipe from the very edge of the first damage connector to the very edge of the second damaged connector.  The two damanged connectors and cracked pipe segment were all together, meaning I only needed to make two cuts and repair one contiguous section.

Drainage system repairs

After the damaged section had been removed, I cut a piece of replacement pipe to be the same length as the damaged piece.  Then, I glued the new connectors and pipe into place.  Luckily, we had space connectors and pipe leftover from the construction process last spring, so I didn’t need to buy any new parts.

As I was reconnecting the pots to the system, I noticed that the adapter one of the pots spun freely.  After everything dries out from the rain, I’ll add a new bead of caulk around this adapter to make sure it doesn’t leak.

Now our system is ready for another season of planting and watering.

Patio pots in May 2014

Balcony Pots Drainage System

Last summer we had significant drainage problems with the pots on our balcony.  Some pots did not drain,  filling up with water and killing the plants–a boxwood, in particular–that were in them.  Other pots drained so well they drained right onto the furniture–and one time a person–on the balcony beneath us.

In both cases the problem was too much water.  You might say we were over watering (and maybe in the case of the boxwood we were), but it was a very dry summer and we wanted to make sure the plants did not die due to lack of water.

To solve the problem of too much water–in the pots and on our neighbors–we have now implemented a pot drainage system.  We removed the drainage trays from pots that have plants and placed these pots in larger pots.  Any holes in the bottom of these larger pots have been sealed, and a drainage spout has been added to each.  The drainage spouts are connected to pieces of PVC pipe that run along the edges of the balcony.  This PVC pipe has one open end that points off the back corner of our balcony so water can drain into the landscape bed that is three stories below.

To prepare the larger pots (that would hold the smaller pots), I added a “spout” to the bottom of each.  Part of the spout is a threaded 1/2″ PVC female adapter, visible in the bottom of the photo below.  I drilled a 1″ hole in the pot using a spade bit, which was just right for the adapter to fit snuggly in the hole.

Drilling Pots for Drainage System

Once the spout was in place, I caulked around the edges (with silicone caulk) to make sure it was sealed and water would not leak at the seam between the adapter and the pot.  I also screwed a threaded 1/2″ male barb into the adapter so I could connect the pot to the main drainage pipe using a short piece of flexible PVC tubing.  Finally, I caulked any drainage holes that were in the pot so water would only drain out of the spout and not out of the bottom of the pot.

Finishing Pots for Drainage SystemNext, I put together the main PVC drainage pipe.  The drainage pipe runs along two sides of the balcony, with a valve on the end that hangs off the edge so we can stop the flow of water if need be.  I figured out where on the patio each pot would go, and put a 1/2″ threaded female T at that point.  I screwed a threaded 1/2″ male barb into each T so I could connect the other end of a piece of flexible PVC tubing that was connected to the male barb on each pot.

Assembling Pipe for Drainage System

Finally, I put everything on the balcony and connected each pot to the main drainage pipe using about a 6″ piece of PVC tubing connected to the male barb on the pot and the male barb on the drainage pipe.

Connecting Pots to Drainage System