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What is ACO Drainage?

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Stephen Charles Landscapes carry out a lot of drainage work as part of our landscaping projects. We often use ACO drains in order to resolve drain issues.


Simply put, this is a method of draining surface water from hard surfaces such as paving, using a long narrow drain covered by a grating which drains water along its entire length.


An ACO drain works by collecting rain water through the grating, which then runs along the length of the channel. This then falls into an underground drain.


This type of drainage relies on gravity to remove surface water. It must therefore be positioned at the bottom of a shallow incline.


In a domestic setting, this might be at the entrance to your driveway or the threshold of your garage door (depending on which way the ground slopes), or at the edge of or within a paved area such as a patio.


The drain is buried at a slight incline so that the water runs off into an adjacent soakaway or similar.




Channel drainage products are all given a Load Class which refers to the weight they can withstand in use. Domestic ACO drainage products have a Load Class of A15, meaning that they can withstand a load of 1.5 tonnes and are suitable for a domestic driveway drain.


How to install an ACO drain


Installing channel drainage is very straightforward, and something I am sure you can do yourself. However, it depends on where you are using it, but roughly the method is the same.

  • First of all, ensure a channel is dug where the channel drains will be going to accommodate the drain. This needs to be on a minimum 50mm bed of concrete - we often use 75mm or even 100mm to ensure the top of the ACO drain is level with the top of the paving. Often this can be done when excavating for the paving area if laying paving at the same time.

  • Mark a line with taut string 3mm below the finished surface to help you keep level.

  • We then use concrete blobs - two per drain - rather than a whole concrete base, so that we can adjust as needed to get levels accurate on long areas.

  • Vertically slot together the 1m channel lengths, continuing the concrete blobs as you do.

  • On the final length, you can cut the length to adjust to your actual garden using a hacksaw to adjust the overall length if necessary.

  • Next, we will then do the connection to the drainage system (under ground). While doing this, we will take off the grating for access, but as soon as complete will put it back on.

  • Try to keep the grating on as much as possible to ensure no deformity to the channel drain occurs when using the concrete.

  • Then end caps to the ACO are added.

  • Once levels are doubly confirmed, you have yourself an installed ACO drainage system.

  • Once you have made sure everything is level, you would fill under the ACO drain in the gaps left previously, ensuring it is then on a full concrete bed.

  • You can then check the system works as it has been planned.









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