What Is A French Drain: Information On Installing French Drains In Landscapes

What Is A French Drain: Information On Installing French Drains In Landscapes

By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
Image by Stephen Barnes

For many homeowners, excess water and poor drainage can be a major issue. Pooling water after heavy periods of rain can cause serious damage to homes, as well as landscaping. Poorly draining water in yards can promote yellowing of lawns and even cause tree roots to begin to rot. With careful planning, however, there are ways to divert water away from yards and homes.

One common method is through the installation of a French drain – but what is a French drain?

What are French Drains Used For?

French drain systems are a type of drainage system that can be installed to help divert excess water away from homes or low areas in the landscape. These underground “ditches” contain a pipe and gravel which slope and allow water to freely drain away to ditches or retention ponds.

Installing French drains is relatively simple. However, professionals may be required depending upon the project or the homeowner’s level of construction expertise. Choosing a professional to install a French drain will ensure proper installation, as well as reduce the risk of damage to oneself or the property.

The general process of building a French drain begins by determining the best drainage route. Once that has been established, contractors dig a trench and begin to lay slotted piping. The size of the trench will vary, and may even require the use of specialized trenching tools.

When installing the pipe, it will be imperative that the highest point of the pipe is sloped away and towards where the water is to flow. This will allow for optimal performance. After the drainage pipe has been placed, it is then covered with a thick layer of gravel.

After the gravel, many choose to lay an additional landscape fabric barrier over top to prevent soil from blocking the drainage pipe. Lastly, the soil is replaced so that it is even with the surrounding soil.

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