Being in Australia we are subject to some seriously hot sunny days and we all love to find that bit of cool shade when the temps. reach upwards of 35 degrees.

We love a good shade tree, especially around our houses where shade is thrown over lawns and entertainment areas for cool relaxing afternoon activities like playing backyard cricket.

These trees and shrubs can be fantastic in summer but become a bit of a nuisance in winter.

Let’s face it most of us don’t even think about the effects of these trees on storm water drainage systems at the time of planting.

As the seasons change large amounts of leaves drop from these trees clogging gutters, down pipes and storm water grates. Throughout the year debris, sand and other materials may wash into runoff channels, grates or sumps.

It’s recommended that after autumn when your trees have shed most of their leaves, you do a bit of maintenance on your storm water systems to prevent flooding during heavy downpours.

Grab the ladder that you have stored away, usually right at the back of the shed or some hard to reach place. We are going to do a simple gutter clean. Now because you’ll be working at heights you must make sure care is taken when setting up the ladder against the gutters. If you aren’t confident enough in these exercise’s I suggest you don’t try it and call a pro like us.

You’ll need a pair of tough gloves to prevent cutting your hands on any sharp bits of the gutter.

Climb up your ladder so you have a view inside the top of the gutters so you know what you’re doing.  Starting at one end of the gutter, run your hands along (with gloves on) the internals of the gutter cleaning out any leaves and muck. Once one side is done get the garden hose and let it run in the gutter pushing the remaining debris down the downpipes. Repeat this all the way round the house if safe to do so.

Next is checking the pipes in the ground. If the downpipes aren’t direct connected to the storm water pipes then just remove the finishing grate under the down pipe and feed your garden hose in a little way. Turn the hose on full, if water starts bubbling out of the pipe jiggle the hose around trying to push or loosen any material blocking the pipe. If direct connected just run the garden hose in the top of the downpipe in the gutter.


Storm water direct connected.

Down pipe spilling into storm water grate.


Storm water spoon drain, usually in front of garage areas.

Next step is grates in the front of garages or other highwater volume areas. Remove the grate usually via a screw driver or shifter and clear any debris in the channel.

Once this is done you have done all you can to prepare for the upcoming winter. By doing this it should prevent or limit any flooding when we do get that first heavy shower of the winter.

If this all sounds like a bit too much to handle, to reduce maintenance in gutter cleaning I would suggest getting gutter guards installed. They are a good investment in preventing leaf build up in gutters.

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