Lay the path for the drainage pipes with a rope. Begin at the highest point of the yard and run the rope through the center of problem areas. End the path at a street gutter or other outlet.
Unearth dirt along the trench to create a 6-inch-wide canal about 18 inches deep. With a shovel, curve the sides and dig down about an additional inch for every 8 feet of length. Use a bubble level to maintain a continuous slope; a quarter of the bubble should sit past the center mark.
Pour a 6-inch layer of clean 3/4-inch aggregate over the bottom.
Set 4-inch perforated drain pipes on top of the gravel. Attach lengths of pipe with T connectors in straight sections and elbow connections on curves. Bring a sock, or filter cloth, over the pipe as you lay it. The sock lets water drain through while preventing debris particles from clogging the passageway.
Add another 6 inches of 3/4-inch aggregate over the top of the pipes to block sticks, dried leaves and other debris.
Dump soil into the remaining trench to conceal it or use mulch over garden areas. Lay grass seed over exposed soil to slow running water so it seeps into the drain pipe. If your soil is heavy clay, mix it with equal parts sand so water drains more easily.