How to Install a French Drain

Such a fancy name for such a simple project. When contemplating how to install a French drain, one must ask how something so simple obtained such an intimidating name. If your home is at a lower elevation than your neighbors, and you are experiencing difficulties with excess water around your property, chances are, you are in need of a French drain; a very simple resolution to a troublesome issue!

Do you want to know how to install a French drain? Look no further! Here are three easy steps that will assist you in installing a French drain of you very own. With careful planning and a little manual labor, this rewarding project can be accomplished in a single day's work.

    1.) How to install a French drain responsibly:

    Choose your French drain spot carefully. Start at the point of your yard where the drain will end. Ideally, you will have a spot out of sight and with adequate drainage for the run-off that is currently pooling around your home. Take your neighbors into consideration!

    Choosing a spot that puts your neighbor's home at risk for run-off could end up getting you in legal trouble. No one wants a lawsuit! Check with your city officials and make sure you are meeting all codes and regulations for your drain installation. Make sure that you are aware of all pipes and cables so you know where to (and where no to!) dig before starting your project.

    2.) How to install a French drain effectively:

    In order to have a functional French drain, you must have (at least) a 1% grade. This means using your carpenter's level to measure a 1 inch drop for every 100 feet of land. Without this grade, you simply have a pooling mess of water in a man-made ditch on your property! If you are unable to obtain the grade desired, contact a contractor to assist you in this task. The grade is of utter importance and must be executed properly.

    3.) How to install a French drain that will last:

    Once you have trenched out your drain, you must dig a horizontal trench along the length of your drain. Once a 5-6 inch trench has been dug, you must line it with landscaping fabric to protect the gravel that will essentially make your drain not only function, but last as well. Without the gravel, you simply have a muddy mess. Wrap the ends of the landscaping fabric over the top of your gravel layer, creating a tube effect. If you'd like to hide your French drain, try shoveling a layer of sand over the top of your newly created drain and lay down a layer of sod. Voila! You're set!

Now that you know how to install a French drain, get out there and tackle your own. Protect your home, prevent water damage, and get a great work-out while you're at it! With only four necessary items; a shovel, landscaping fabric, carpenter's level, and gravel, you too can have an efficient and simple method for water damage prevention, in exchange for one day of work.

See Also:

Basement Water Problems