Manage Drainage Around Your Property

Water is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can cause problems. In developed areas such as the City of Kirkland, there are many hard surfaces such as roadways and rooftops that do not allow water to soak into the ground. Too much water running over hard surfaces can lead to drainage and flooding problems, as well as stream channel damage and water quality problems.

Manage Drainage Issues on Your Property


Before starting any drainage improvements, identify all parts of your current drainage system. Create a detailed map of your property, showing all impervious surfaces and drainage features. Use the City's online mapping system to create a map of your property. 

If necessary, Kirkland Public Works can provide plans of the City storm drainage system in your area. This can help determine how your current system connects to the City’s system and aide the installation of new features.

Contact Public Works City Hall by calling 425-587-3800.


  • Gutters and Downspouts
    • Inspect your gutters and downspouts for damage or leaks.
    • Add screens on gutters to help keep debris out of your drainage system. Clear leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
    • Install a removable connection between your downspouts and roof drains. Disconnecting downspouts(PDF, 4MB) during cleaning will help keep debris out of your drainage system.
    • Direct the water from your downspouts away from your foundation and property lines.
    • Slow and spread the flow from downspouts with a splash block, rock, or perforated pipe.
    • Install a cistern or rain barrel to collect rain water.
  • Reduce Paved Areas and Improve Your Landscaping
    • Consider concrete alternatives when planning new patios, paths or driveways. Use gravel, paving blocks, porous asphalt or other permeable materials to reduce runoff from impervious surfaces.
    • Build a rain garden or plant a tree(PDF, 8MB) in your yard.
      • Use caution when placing trees or shrubs. The roots may grow into underground drainage pipes disrupting your drainage system.
    • Convert unused paved areas or lawn into native landscaping(PDF, 6MB) to absorb more rainwater.
  • Manage Debris
    • Sweep your driveway instead of using a hose. This saves water and keeps dirt out of your drainage system. 
    • Avoid the use of wood chip mulch around yard inlets or swales. The wood chips float and are easily moved by runoff water. Otherwise, wood chip mulch is a great addition to garden beds to keep soil health, prevent erosion, and absorb rainwater. 


There are many ways to reduce drainage problems on your property. A drainage system can divert water flow around and away from your home. You won’t need every item below, but installing one or several of them can make a big difference.

Drainage Solutions(PDF, 120KB) 

Property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of drainage structures on your property. If your drainage problems seem too big for you to correct, professional help is available.

There are many contractors and engineering firms that specialize in drainage problems. Search the phone book or internet under Drainage Contractors and Engineers – Drainage.

Homeowners must get building or grading permits before certain drainage projects begin. To learn more about permit requirements, contact the City of Kirkland’s Building Division at 425-587-3600.

Private Stormwater Maintenance

The City works with property owners to ensure routine inspection and maintenance of all private stormwater systems. Proper maintenance ensures the system continues to function as designed. It also helps keep our creeks and lakes clean, and helps prevent flooding and erosion.

Visit the Private Stormwater Maintenance Program to learn more about the inspection process for your property. 

Private Stormwater Inspection



Prevent Flooding

Kirkland’s street drains are designed to prevent flooding. City crews work to keep storm drains clear, but with over 15,000 drains in Kirkland, we could use your help! 


Visit Kirkland Emergency Management's Floods page for tips on flood prevention and staying safe during a flood.