How To Install A French Drain

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Drainage problems in the yards are a common cause of all the mess. Stagnating water pools are unsightly and not to mention the health hazards they cause because of mould growth. Fortunate for us, it is very easy to get rid of the runoff water with a French drain and channel it into an appropriate outlet.

What is French drainage?

A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock with a perforated pipe that allows the water to drain naturally. It might seem like too much of a task to install a French drain but you will be surprised by how easy it is. You will not need any fancy tools or professional help, all you will need is a shovel, perforated pipe and gravel or rock to fill the trench.

However, before we proceed with installation instructions it is important to understand that French drain is only for outdoors; if there is indoor water drainage you will need emergency plumber London.

Let’s start.

  • Determine the location

First is to find out at what all places excess water is pooling and where do you want it to go. Most appropriate drainage locations are retention ponds, rainwater harvesting drainage and other bodies of water.

Using a spray paint, mark the direction and length of the trench. Make sure you are not zoning into your neighbours’ property. If required, get necessary permissions. 

  • Dig a trench

This is a no brainer; you start excavating a trench from the place where water pools to the chosen drainage outlet. Dig a 9-12 inches wide and at least 18 inches deep trench that will run horizontally across a slope. It is important to maintain the slope in a French drain as gravity works to take runoff water to the drainage. You need to maintain at least 1% grade of the slope, i.e. a slope of 1 inch every 10 feet.

Depending on the size and length of the trench you can either use shovels or rent a trencher. Also, when digging, you will have to be careful of the underground utility pipes.

  • Line trench with fabric

One of the most common problems with French drainage is the silt and tree roots growing and blocking the water drain. The water-permeable filter fabric acts as a protector to keep the dirt, silt and weed growth away. Secure the ends of the fabric with staples using a hammer.

  • Lay gravel bedding

Now it is the time to create bedding for drainage pipe using landscaping stone or gravel. Prepare compact 3 inches gravel bedding along the bottom of the trench.

  • Prepare Pipe Connections

Now that the bedding is ready, it is time to install the grates for the pipe system that will run water to the drainage. Put inlet grates at locations where water pools the most. The choice of pipe depends on what kind of pipe system you want. If there are more curves in the trench then a flexible drainage hose will be appropriate. However, it won’t last long, which is why if the trench is straight, use perforated PVC pipes for a more durable system.

  • Set the pipe system in the trench

Once the pipe structure is prepared, it is time to put it into the trench. Make sure that the holes in the perforated pipe are pointing downwards. Test the alignment of the system by pouring water into the inlet grate.

  • Put gravel

Then, go ahead and cover the pipe system with at least 3 inches of gravel. Make sure you are not crossing above the ground level. Once done, fill the trench with topsoil and compact to secure the drainage system in place. Make sure you are covering the grate before filling the area around it so that the soil or stones do not fall into French drainage.

These are the 7 steps you need to follow to install French drain. Once you are done, make sure to maintain the drainage system by regularly inspecting for any debris. If water clogging or pooling problem is too severe, it’s better to hire an emergency plumber London to look into the matter.


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Leif Price
Spot Color Marketing - Portland, OR
Content Marketing Specialist

This is a great post for home DIY persons. For me, I live it to the professionals. Thanks for the information.

Aug 01, 2019 07:00 PM #1
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