5 Commercial Hardscape Drainage Ideas

No landscaping design is complete without some hardscaping, the elements that help tie everything together. Whether it is a simple stone pathway or an intricate patio design, hardscaping can help transform a space. 

Hardscaping isn’t cheap, though, which makes protecting it essential. Excess water runoff can harm, if not destroy, a hardscape design–and the surrounding landscaping. Excess water can erode soil, oversaturate grass, cause mold and mildew on wooden structures, flood the lower levels of buildings, and cause structural damage to buildings.

Commercial Hardscape Drainage Options

To prevent damage, you need a reliable drainage system. Here are some of the common commercial hardscape drainage options to help ensure hardscaping stays free from water damage.

1. Trench Drains


Whenever you see a slotted metal grate on the ground, you’re looking at a trench drain. They are some of the most common commercial hardscape drainage systems. Trench drain systems can run over large expanses, redirecting water runoff from the surface and into a drain channel covered by a heavy metal grate. 

Effective in managing water, trench drains are not without their faults. Trench drains can be bulky and unattractive, taking away from the overall design of the hardscape. The grate covers can also pose a serious safety risk, as they can erode and break easily, leading to potentially serious injuries. To prevent injuries, you would have to replace the grates every time they break, which creates additional expense. Trench drains are also more difficult to maintain.

2. Spot Drains


Spot drains are another drainage option that is typically used around pool decks and similar areas. They consist of multiple single drains connected through underground PVC pipes that take water runoff away from the surface. 

Spot drains take up less surface area, making them less obtrusive, but they require the ground to slope in four directions to work properly. Sloping the ground in this manner can create an unlevel surface, making it feel more unstable.

3. Permeable Pavers



Permeable pavers are a newer form of commercial hardscape drainage. They help manage water runoff by directing the runoff back into the ground in a slower manner, reducing your dependence on storm sewers. They also help to reduce the number of pollutants in water runoff since it travels through various layers of gravel or stone to reach the water table.

Permeable pavers are an attractive option that can be environmentally friendly, however, they are more expensive than traditional pavers. Permeable pavers still require maintenance; so you need to ensure that the pavers do not get clogged with sand or fine particles that can prevent water from draining properly. Unfortunately, they also are weaker than other options like asphalt, and heavy objects or vehicles can lead the pores to collapse, rendering them ineffective. 

4. French Drains



French drains are a drainage system with a long history, originally created as a form of “farm drainage.” It is a subsurface structure that diverts water runoff from the drain and designated areas. The system consists of a gravel bed that covers a perforated pipe that takes water to an outlet, like a storm sewer, sump, irrigation cistern, or swale. 

French drains aren’t the most attractive of systems and can require excavation of the landscaping to install. They also require a great deal of manual labor and require a specific design to function properly, so you need to know what to do or hire a professional for the job. 

5. Slot Drain – A Step Above the Rest


For a sleeker commercial hardscape drainage option, there is the Slot Drain system. Slot Drain is a modern take on the trench drain with a unique design. It is embedded into concrete, with only the stainless steel surface angles exposed. It makes the Slot Drain extremely durable and capable of supporting a heavy duty load class. Unlike the traditional trench drain, Slot Drain does not require a grate cover. This makes it safer, less obtrusive, and easier to maintain, particularly with a Flush Flo system installed. 

The 6,000 and 7,000 Series Slot Drains both work for commercial hardscapes and can handle large amounts of water runoff with ease. In addition, the 7,000 Series is compatible with the stainless steel catch basin and strainer basket, which can catch small items in the drain.

Choosing Your System

Hardscape drainage is essential to protecting the hardscape, landscaping, and any structures on the property from the detrimental effects of water runoff. There are many options, from trench drains to French drains, to consider. Slot Drain is a modern alternative that is more attractive and efficient at managing water runoff. With Slot Drain in place, you can rest assured that you have a commercial hardscape drainage system that will never fail.

Contact the drainage experts at Slot Drain today for more information about a sleek and effective hardscape drainage solution.