Outdoor drains can be seen in any garden or backyard. They are necessary items, but let’s face it, you would not want to look at them when relaxing on your well-earned green grass in the midst of magnificent flowerbeds.
So, how do you go about it and hide such drains? In this tutorial, we will help you to get started on the way to garden beauty and introduce you to some smart and innovative ways to solve this issue once and for all.
Table of Contents
What to consider before you start
You will first need to make sure that you have permission to make changes to the drain. This will be determined by your local district codes and local laws or perhaps your renting rules. In either case, you must be certain that you are permitted to make any modifications.
Second, the water utility company must have constant access to the drain if they, at some point, wish to check the whole drainage system in your garden.
If they need to use the hole but can’t find a permanent cover, they’ll probably dig a new one and charge you. Therefore, any drain cover modification you make should be flexible enough so that your drain can always be accessible.
How to hide drains by painting them
Some of you might have thought about it and some others not! Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Choose a hue that complements the surroundings
When you have drains, inspection chambers and ugly manhole covers that are often dark or metallic in colour, they will undoubtedly stand out from the rest of the garden structure.
Repainting the drains is an excellent way to hide them. Choose a colour that blends in with your overall garden theme. You may even paint them a different colour, but that will still look good.
This is more ornamental so you have the choice of spray paint or roll-on paint. Both will function properly, but the application is slightly different. Spray paint is obviously easier to use, but it can make a mess, so be careful when applying it. It’s also difficult to use in windy situations. Roll-on paint is more controllable, but it takes longer to apply. So, it is up to you which one you would want to choose.
Step 2: Cover your workspace using a sheet
You must keep your work area clean regardless of the sort of paint you use. To preserve the grass, drape a towel or sheet around the drain.
Tape newspapers to the building’s walls or surroundings to protect them if you’re spray painting. If there is any wind, wait for it to die down before you spray paint. Otherwise, the paint will end up all over the place.
Step 3: Clean the drain with mineral spirits
Mineral spirits are available at most hardware stores. Wet a clean rag with mineral spirits and wipe the drain clean in all directions.
This gets rid of any crud or residue that can get in the way of the paint. Mineral spirits are normally non-irritating. However, you should wear gloves if you have sensitive skin. If you come into contact with it, rinse your skin with cool water.
Step 4: Sand the drains using 220-grit sandpaper
Regardless of the type of drain you have, be it cast iron or stainless steel, they must be sanded before painting. This roughens the surface, which allows the paint to adhere more easily. Make sure to sand every drain you’re painting in all directions.
Step 5: Apply primer to the drains
Primers are available as sprays or roll-ons. Hold the can 15 cm away from the drain and spray it on if you’re using spray primer. Damp a roller and apply an even coat to the drain. Allow each to dry for 3 to 6 hours. The sort of primer you use has nothing to do with the type of paint you’ll need.
Step 6: Apply two coats of paint to the drains
Begin painting once you’ve completed all of the preparation work. Apply an even coat of paint using a roller or a spray can.
Allow 4 to 6 hours for the coat to dry after you’ve covered the entire drain. After that, apply a second layer and give it some time to dry. The exact drying time will certainly depend on the weather conditions in your area. It may take longer if it is humid.
You will know that it’s dried by lightly pressing the paint. If it feels damp or sticky, then it hasn’t dried yet.
How to use plants to hide drain covers
With plants, the possibilities are endless! You can keep it basic by adding a few plants or go all out with a more intricate arrangement.
This is entirely up to you and the amount of money you want to put into the project. These are a few options to consider when it comes to hiding your drain:
1. Simple pot plants
Use several potted or ground cover plants to lid the drain. Plants with large, drooping leaves, or even puffy shrub-like plants or trellis, are ideal for this as the drain will be obscured by these plants, while the septic tank and PVC downpipes underneath will not be affected in any way.
Also, if the utility company needs to open the drain and get into the drain pipes, potted plants will then be very easy to move. Another advantage is that you can alter the plants if you get tired of the old arrangement, which is not always possible with some other methods.
2. Grass lid
You can integrate your drain into the grass if it is surrounded by it. If you can find some artificial grass that looks like the real one, you can simply cut it to suit the drain.
However, because there are always distinctions between synthetic and real grass, some people choose to sample the actual thing. To do so, you’ll need to swap out the lid for a tray-style cover. You can place a tiny patch of lawn as a “lid” that hides the drain by adding dirt and grass.
If you don’t know how to do it, you can always check our guide on how to lay artificial grass.
How to use a birdbath to hide the drain
This is exactly what it sounds like. Choose a beautiful birdbath to set on top of the stainless steel drain cover. It’s likely that the bath’s base will not conceal all of the drains, but that should be fine.
The extra space allows you to add additional items such as pot plants or ornaments, which, when combined with the bath, will create a spectacular display in your garden.
Choose a birdbath that is heavy enough to be steady to withstand weather conditions like wind. However, it should not be so heavy that it damages the drain or causes it to sag in any way.
If you want to create your own birdbath, then we have a guide that will show you all the steps.
How to cover the drain with a mobile and small pond
You’ve probably figured out why the pond has to be moveable! Yes, so it can be relocated if a plumber has to look inside the drainage pipes. Small ponds come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
One of the most popular ponds is one that resembles a rocky outcropping that you just fill with water and place on the drain. If you happen to have a ready-made pond that you like but it doesn’t completely cover the drain, you can add some plants for an even nicer landscaping theme.
When you add plants to these ponds, they will look lovely, so don’t be afraid to go all out and be creative in your choices, whether it fully covers the drain or not. And if you like the whole pond idea, then you can build a small garden pond so you can enjoy it all of the time.
How to blend the drain with the surroundings to make it invisible
We’ve already talked about how to hide a drain that is in the midst of the grass. But what if the drain is used on a tiled or gravelled area?
Well, once you locate those tiles, gravels, and other elements that surround your drain, mix and match the materials until you find something that looks just like the drain that you have.
If your drain, for example, is situated in a white gravel-filled strip, then get some white gravels in your hands and you will have two options on how to use them.
You can either spread the new pieces over the drain in a thick, heavy-duty layer until it is entirely covered or simply cover the drain straight away with the gravels.
How to hide the drain with a mosaic
Adding a mosaic is one of the most popular options for hiding the drain while decorating it. There are numerous design and colour options, but whatever you choose, the end result will undoubtedly enhance the beauty of your garden.
A mosaic can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used as a lid (to simply replace the original) or as a larger lid that sits on top of the drain and conceals it.
Applying a mosaic directly to the drain is not recommended as it will simply look ugly because most drain covers have uneven surfaces.
The choice is now yours. Drains can be an eyesore and there are many ways to hide them and improve the overall look of your garden. Be creative and choose one that best fits your style! All of the above solutions will prevent drain covers from ruining your garden design!