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How to Create a Natural Downspout Extension with River Rock - 6 Steps

Most homes have downspouts that guide water off the roof and onto the ground, but when those downspouts don't push the water far away from the home, you can end up with water problems in your basement. After finding water in the basement last fall, we started extending our downspouts because many of them just ended at the base of the house. We found a similar issue with three downspouts ending at the house under the deck during our deck demolition too.

It's really important to keep water away from your house. The ground around homes naturally sinks lower as the years go by. When we bought this house, the inspector recommended building up the foundation around the house to make sure water runs away from the house. So we're workin g on that, plus extending the downspouts for extra safety.

Only problem is, downspout extensions are pretty ugly. Especially when you're adding extensions on to existing gutter systems. We just got our front landscaping in and there's a downspout right behind the bed on the side of the garage. So, I decided to create a natural downspout with river rock to help improve the look while still getting the water away from the house.

6 Steps to Creating a Natural River Rock Downspout Extension

Step 1: First, I measured how far I wanted the down spout to go. Basically, I want it long enough that it’s away from the house and going downhill.

gutter downspout converter
Forgot to get a "before" picture, this will have to do!

Step 2: I glued two plastic converter pieces together. You can get these on Amazon or at hardware stores. I clipped them together with clamps to hold while drying in addition to adding weight to it with a heavy stone..

Cut and Glue

Step 3: While that was drying, I used dirt and rocks to build up a slant under the downspout that angled away from the house. The plastic will be sitting on top of this slant.

downspout converter build up foundation
Build up a slant away from the house

Step 4: Once the glue was dry, I put the plastic down spout converter on top.

downspout converter
Set the converter

Step 5: Next, I purchased some medium size rocks from a local landscape company and placed them along the sides of the plastic converter. I intentionally did not put them perfectly straight to make it look more organic and river-like. I covered the top of the plastic converter with rocks to cover up all the plastic. I placed my two biggest rocks where the rain comes out of the down spout gutter. I placed a bigger rock over the top of it so you could only see a hole. I used a flat rock at the very bottom for the water to run off on. Having a rock at the bottom stops the water from forming a hole at the bottom.

covering downspout with river rock
Start with the biggest rocks

covering downspout with river rock
Fill with smaller rocks

Step 6: Lastly, I covered the edges up with the medium sized rocks with mulch on both sides.

downspout with river rock
Mulch up to the sides
natural river rock downspout
Mulched and patched up grass

A couple weeks later while getting rid of rocks around the house I decided to quickly collect all the blueish looking rocks to put on top of the river. I thought that this would give it amore blue water look. I got two buckets full and placed them along the top of the river.

natural rock downspout
Blue rocks on top

During the first big rain we got after making this downspout, I peeked outside the garage and it was working perfectly. I have now connected the river to the front of the landscaping and will continue landscaping along the side of the house.

natural rock downspout
Downspout done!

Need a lawn fix? Here's what we used:

*DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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