Mosquitoes and How to Use Drainage Solutions to Get Rid of Them

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Here’s advice from Dr. Drainage, civil engineer Ryan Larsen, at NDS, Inc. with suggestions for homeowners to prevent mosquitoes from ruining outdoor spaces. These budget-friendly ideas will spare you the nuisance and discomfort of pesky mosquitoes outside your home.

1. Eliminate standing water wherever it occurs

Keep gutters clear of debris and check for any discarded cans, buckets, pots, overturned children’s toys and anything that can hold water. Cover trash containers. And change water in outdoor pet dishes daily and change water in bird baths several times a week.

2. Place herbs and scented oils around your backyard

Certain plants, herbs and essential oils can naturally repel mosquitoes like the scents of citronella, lemongrass and chrysanthemum are non-toxic and keep mosquitoes at bay. Scented oils and candles placed on your outdoor tables will keep any bugs away from food.

3. Scatter coffee grounds

Yes, coffee grounds are a mosquito repellent when you sprinkle the grounds wherever you discover standing water in your yard. It will kill any mosquitoes before they hatch and prevent them from breeding further.

4. Grow insect-repellent plants

Discourage pesky flies with plants like lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and more.

5. Install a drain in planter boxes

Consider using a drainage solution in planter boxes like a catch basin connected to a drainage pipe. Excess water enters the basin through a raised atrium grate, which prevents leaves, mulch and other debris from entering the system, and connects to a drain pipe where the water can drain to a safe location.

6. Install insect-repelling lights around your yard

Consider installing mosquito repelling lights, such as yellow bug lights or LED lights, in your backyard to deter those irritating bugs away from your barbeque.

7. Spray your yard with an organic treatment

Nontoxic bug control solutions can work wonders and will kill off fleas, ticks and other insects, while not harming the family pet. Choose products labeled natural or organic and pet friendly, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely.

8. Install a French drain

A French drain consists of a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel surrounding a perforated pipe. It provides an easy channel for water to flow through, collecting water over the entire length of the drain instead of one particular spot and redirecting the surface and groundwater away from your home.

For more information about how to spot and fix common homeowner drainage problems, visit NDS’s Home Drainage Center.

Ryan Larsen is a civil engineer at NDS, Inc., which manufactures a wide range of stormwater and drainage products. He known as Dr. Drainage, host of NDS’s YouTube video series about how to correctly use drainage and stormwater management products.

Visit to compare the cost of doing a home improvement job or repair yourself with hiring a pro.


Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.
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