Installing a French drain

A French drain will help you with your rainwater problems, especially if your home is placed somewhere downhill from other properties. A faulty French drain will clog and over-saturate. To avoid this and other problems, you must follow some simple steps.

Materials and tools need:

  • Trench shovel
  • Pick-axe
  • Grub hoe
  • Level
  • Washed gravel
  • Porous landscape fabric
  • Perforated PVC drain pipe (rigid)
  • Drainpipe sleeve

Digging the trench

First of all you must dig a trench for the drain. The wider the better, because narrow trenches will clog up much faster. The wider the trench the faster will the water drain.

Sloping the trench

A French drain must be sloped downwards because that is the natural flowing way of water. For a drain 100 feet long, slope the trench 1% every foot. Use a level to set up the right slope angle.

Laying landscape fabric

Landscape fabric is used to prevent silting soil from clogging the gravel and pipe of the French drain. The fabric must envelop the whole trench.

Laying the gravel

You must set up a layer of gravel about 2 inches tall and then smooth it. Some French drains have a pipe with holes in it that is set in the trench and covered with gravel. The pipe must also slope downwards and its end should lead to an area away from the house foundation, where the water can flow without disturbing anything. Place at least 2 inches of gravel over and around the pipe, although 4 inches are much better.

Wrapping the fabric

The loose edges of the landscape fabric must be covered with gravel. After that, the trench can be covered with sod.

The French drain should be efficient against rainwater issues, helping you keep your property free of water and the damage that may come with it.

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