What is a French Drain, and what is its history? The answer to that question is pretty simple. A French Drain is essentially a hand-dug ditch filled with gravel, rock, or even perforated pipe that is intended to redirect water away from an area of your property.
Typically, French Drains are used to protect a home’s foundation and basement (if you have one) from water damage. So “What is a French drain?” you ask? Simple prevention from damage to your home! The history of a French drain dates back to the late 1800’s. The first French drain is assumed to have been created by a Concord farmer by the name of Henry French. In 1859, he published a book entirely about Farm drainage, with extensive instruction and information on French drains.
What is a French drain made of?
Typically, a French drain is filled with gravel. Some people prefer to use crushed rock, or line their drain with perforated pipe. Gravel is usually the top choice for traditional French drains as it tends to allow water to run more freely than other options. Gravel is easily accessible, inexpensive, and highly effective when used with a French drain.
Crushed rock may be used because of its cost efficiency, and some people prefer to use perforated pipe for many reasons. French drains constructed with perforated pipe are often referred to as the most modern of French drains. This option is often used in conjunction with sand and gravel to form a drainage system that resists clogging more effectively than other types of drains.
The perforation also allows the water to flow more freely, as it allows gravity to assist it. This type of drain is also more easily concealed than other drains. Choosing the type of drain you construct will depend on your use for the drain, the amount of water you’re attempting to redirect, and how important the aesthetic of your drain has.
What is a French drain used for?
A French drain is an effective tool against water damage; either regarding your home, or your property. It is an inexpensive, efficient way to protect your home from water damage. It is also a remarkable way to redirect water to an area of your property that is actually beneficial.
One might consider redirecting their unwanted to water to a dry well; an underground structure that houses unwanted water. This water is eventually reabsorbed into the ground, where it makes its way to the local groundwater.
Another option is directing your runoff to a rain garden, or bio retention area’s. Such gardens are always planted at the base of drainage, and typically house plants such as sedges and ferns, or various shrubs and trees. The redirection of unwanted water is a great way to encourage the life of other plants on your property all-the-while protecting your home from water damage.
If installed properly, a French drain will benefit your property, nurture the plant life around you, and protect your pocketbook from unwanted water damage repairs.