Making a Hypertufta Trough to Divert Rainwater

This is a post I have been wanting to write for some time, but I just kept forgetting! Hope it helps just one person 😉

Here’s the scoop… four years ago I spent HOURS UPON HOURS looking for an “acceptable” solution to diverting rainwater from the house. When our house was built they installed those black plastic ribbed hoses on the downspout’s in order to divert the water away from the foundation. These 4” black hoses snaked through our front boarders, sunning themselves on top of the mulch! So some of you may be thinking “so what?” and I hear you, but for me I hated looking at those things… they drove me CRAZY (which may have been a short trip)! Like I said, I looked for several month’s for a solution, I thought that there was no way I was the only one that was bothered by this… well apparently I was (which I did’t understand)… I guess I’ll just have to make something work!

During one of my numerous searches I ran across a tutorial for Hypertufta troughs, as I was searching “troughs” at this point, now the trough that they were referring to was for plants, but same concept right? Well the Hubby and I made two of them and I am happy to say that over 4 years later they still work perfectly!

Here is one…

 diverting rainwater using hypertufta trough

We had an azalea on the right originally, but it bit the dust last year which is why the newly planted Heather is so small. The picture below is of the Sweet Woodruff we have planted in the back, it can get about 3’” tall and does spread, but slowly… it has very pretty petite white flowers on it in the spring. I’m going to plant some along the sides of the trough which will help disguise it as well.


Won’t the Sweet Woodruff look pretty in this space?

diverting rainwater using hypertufta trough

There are quite a few recipes and tutorials out there to make the planter versions of what we made… same concept you just need a mold. So if you are interested this is how we did ours.

Hypertufta recipe:

1 part vermiculite

1 part sphagnum peat moss

1 part Portland cement

1 part water (roughly)

1 Sheet of plastic or plastic bag to cover the trough

Bricks or something to weigh down the plastic

Our process…

We scoped out the mulch and dirt in a 8-10” wide 3-4” deep trough making sure to slope the trough away from the house… very important! We ensured that all of the remaining dirt was compacted tightly, using our hands and then we started to make the Hypertufta mix. You will need to work rather quickly with the mix, it dries fast…

Combine the dry materials in a large container (we used our wheelbarrow) and mix thoroughly. Add the water in small increments and mix until the material is the consistency of thick oatmeal.

Use rubber gloves and a shovel to press the mixture into the trough, again ensuring that the trough slopes away from the house. Take the plastic sheeting or bag and place it over the trough, weighting it down, this will allow the trough to dry slowly which will result in a stronger finished product.

Wait at least 24 hours before you remove the plastic. You should now have a ready to use trough!

We did experience some mild chipping of the edges, but that was because we installed the mixture too thin there.  Additionally, we added black concrete colorant to our mix, that HAS faded over the years, so it is up to you if you want to add color. You could also press rocks, marbles etc. along the edges to jazz it up a bit, but we just wanted ours to be camouflaged Winking smile

The trough near the front door is far less noticeable as the plants have matured around it…

diverting rainwater using hypertufta trough

Yes, some mulch gets in the troughs, but I just blow them out with the blower when I blow off the sidewalks… no big deal.

diverting rainwater using hypertufta trough

Making these troughs really was SUPER easy, and took very little time once we gathered all of the ingredients together… maybe an hour max… I know I totally could have cleaned the troughs out to give you better pictures, but I’m just keepin’ it real ya’ll!

OK, now I have to go back to work on furniture…

Until next time!

My Signature


  1. Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial about the hypertufta trough. We need to have better drainage away from our house as well, so this looks like a great idea!

    And it doesn’t look like it takes long, which is good, as I paint furniture, too!

    Best, Geri


  2. Hi Susan, I am sooo jealous that you can grow Sweet Woodruff in your yard. Our nurseries out here in southern California sell it in little pots but it is too dry here for it to survive for very long. Did you know that Sweet Woodruff is used to flavor May Wine and, that in the Middle Ages, it was one of the “strewing herbs”? Home and castles smelled so horribly in those days that people threw sweet herbs onto the rushes that covered the floors to help mask the smell. think “Man Cave” on a very large scale. So glad I live in a time when Fabreeze is available!


    1. Wow Charlotte I didn’t know that about Sweet Woodruff! I knew it was an herb, but I have never used it as such… Maybe I should be making potpourri? The large patch we have in the back is around our water fountain, so that must be why it does so well… I’m hoping it will thrive up front around the trough as well… Also a plus the deer nor rabbits eat it… voracious little critters around here 😉 thanks so much for the cool background on the plant 🙂


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