In an ideal world or on a bigger lot, I’d have a huge rain barrel system to collect rainwater from a variety of sources. Since that’s not possible on my tiny lot, we’ve done what we could by diverting the water from the downspouts to various places in the yard.
We’ve done this by utilizing perforated pipe hooked to the existing downspout. The concept is simple, a chunk of non-perforated flexible pipe is hooked to the downspout (so that water isn’t seeping close to the foundation of the house) then the perforated pipe is hooked to that and snaked farther into the yard, away from the house.
In the backyard there are three downspouts. Two of them edge the back patio with about 20′ of perforated pipe which end at the Japanese Maple tree which is very happy for the extra water. Another, on the far side of the back yard, edges the path and spreads water for about 10 feet of perforated pipe.
In the front yard we did something different. We piped from the downspouts, under the courtyard patio and feed both downspouts to the dry creekbed which, in the rainy season, isn’t so dry. In this way much of the water that flows off the roof actually stays on site and benefits the garden.
One additional thing we have done is to replace the solid cement driveway with pavers. The pavers are not sealed so rainwater is allowed to soak down in-between the pavers and stay on site rather than having it all run down to the street gutters.