Spray paint the intended path of the drainage ditch on the ground. When laying out the path, lead the ditch to an area that drains well and is not near your home or any other objects that can be damaged by flooding.
Remove the sod in the area where you're installing the ditch with a sod cutter. Carefully handle the strips of sod and keep them watered as you will replant them.
Dig a U-shaped trench 12 inches deep that is sloped towards the area to which you are draining the water.
Lay landscaping fabric in the ditch, then cover it with gravel 2 inches deep. Flatten the gravel and tamp it down.
Place drain tile into the trench. This is plastic pipe embedded with holes for drainage.
Cover the drain tile with gravel until there is 5-inch depth of gravel over it.
Place landscaping fabric over the gravel. This helps prevent soil from seeping through the gravel and clogging up the drain tile.
Cover the landscaping fabric with an inch of soil, then replant the sod. Thoroughly water the sod.