Yard drains are an essential part of keeping your lawn nice and pretty, and the yard drain does its job by keeping any excess water to a minimum and reducing flooding in your property to almost nothing, most of the time. The yard drain cannot do its job if one end becomes clogged or even worse, the pipe leading between the two ends gets clogged somewhere. This clogged mess now becomes your problem, as the caretaker of your lawn. First, you need to understand how a yard drain works. A yard drain will almost always be placed at the lowest part of your property, allowing gravity to do all the heavy lifting of keeping your lawn water-free. This first entrance of the yard drain will have a grate covering it to stop things from getting stuck inside the yard drain. The opening will then have one of three different pipes leading to the exit, which will let the water drain either onto the street or into a storm drain. Now that you understand how a yard drain works, you can begin.
Unclogging Your Drain
There are a few steps you always take, no matter the lawn drain. This first step you only take if your gutters connect to your yard drain. Clean out your gutters. This is to prevent the blockage in your gutters from entering the yard drain as rain falls or as you clean them. Gutter crud is the biggest culprit to the clog somewhere between the two ends.
After cleaning the gutters, remove the drain gates on both the yard drain entrance and exit. This gives you easy access to move onto phase two, which is to clear as much debris as possible with your hands or a small gardening shovel. This debris can be causing the clog, and you should remove as much as you can with your hands, and if it branches off in multiple directions, clear those branches as much as you can alongside the main branch. After this, stick a hose in as far as it can go, and flush out the pipes with water.
Warning: Depending on the type of pipe and the amount of pressure coming from the water hose, you could burst, break or crack your pipe. None of these sound like a fun thing to do. If you are unsure, call a professional. You don't want to create a mess that may cause you to dig up your yard if you didn't have to prior to the pipe's flushing.
In the end, flushing the pipe will give you two scenarios, where your drain is either unclogged or not. If the line is opened, you have succeeded! If not, continue on.
Now, these steps are where things can get interesting. Because your drain is not yet clear, you have to start using other tools to clear it. One thing that seems like a good idea is cleaning chemicals but do not use them. Just like they erode the debris away for a clean pipe, they can also erode the pipe itself, causing higher costs in the future to repair it. One tool that does work is a blow bag. This bag you attach to a hose, shove it deep inside the drain, turn on the water to build up pressure, and "shoot" the debris out, effectively clearing the drain.
Warning: While shooting the debris out the opposite end of the drain sounds fun; it can cause pipes to crack, tree roots to collapse, and many more not so fun scenarios. Call a professional to prevent other messes and adding expenses to this problem.
The final method you can use to clear out your drain without a professional is using a motorized auger. You have to know which type of pipe your drain is as this tool will damage or destroy your lines, especially corrugated or perforated plumbing.
Suggestion: Head to the warnings and call a professional if you can't reach the clog to clear up your drain pipes.
Preserving Your Clean Pipes
Now that your yard drain is cleaned out, there are some measures you can take to maintain this cleanliness. The most important thing you can do is routinely check both ends of the yard drain and keep them clear of leaves and other such things. You can also install a bigger grate with smaller openings, or you can dig back around the yard drain slightly, but not too much as that will defeat the whole purpose. Also, keep your gutters cleaned, especially in the fall, when the leaves are changing.