What is a French Drain and How is it installed?

Perhaps you’ve noticed some oversaturated areas in your yard. These area with pooling water can prevent flowers and grass from growing. If this is the case in your yard, it is recommended to contact a waterproofing expert, like Schmitt Waterproofing, to come out and inspect your yard. Schmitt Waterproofing will investigate any areas in your yard that have water issues, they will then determine what needs to be done, and provide you with a free estimate.

What Is French Drain?

For areas in your yard staying soggy and swampy, installing a French drain can be an ideal fix. This type of drain is commonly used in most parts of the world. The French drain was named after Henry F. French, a farmer from Massachusetts. He constructed the first ever French drain in 1859. A French drain is built underground, has a trench that slopes at an angle that contains gravel and uses a perforated drain pipe.

This perforated drain pipe, when building a French drain, is covered with filter fabric. This filter fabric allows water to flow through the perforated drain, but not various debris. A French drain works by draining water away from areas in your yard that you don’t want water in. The, then collected water flows through the perforated pipe to an area where it can be absorbed by the soil.

Yard Drainage Issues

Do you have areas in your yard that have large sinkholes, or an area where water isn’t absorbed into the ground easily? If so, you might have some drainage issues in your yard that need to be addressed. Standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and prevent vegetation from growing.

A French drain can help pull the over-saturation to other areas of the yard, or to a nearby street. French drains are also known as curtain drains, or shallow French drains. A shallow French drain has a trench with a width that is about 12 inches and a depth that is between 12 to 24 inches. Since a French drain needs a slope to help funnel the water to another area, it is ideal that the minimum slope be 1 inch for every 8 feet towards the area where the water is being relocated.

Once the trench is dug, it is lined with filter fabric and the bottom of the trench is filled with gravel. Then a 4-inch perforated drain pipe is set on top of the gravel and refilled with drainage rock. The filter fabric is then folded over the drainage rock and then either covered with top soil or sod.

Shallow French drains are typically built in an area that is higher in elevation than where the water pools. This allows the water in the pooling area to flow into the French drain rather than staying in the depressed area of the yard.

Tips for Installing a French Drain

  • The drainage pipe is the most important aspect of building a French drain. You can use a flexible drainage pipe with slits, or rigid PVC piping with holes. If using rigid piping it is essential to position the holes towards the direction the water is flowing from. For groundwater issues, it is a good idea to make sure the holes are facing downward.
  • If a French drain is being installed near trees or shrubs, the best option to use for a drainage pipe would be a rigid one. It is important to make sure the pipe isn’t perforated within 10-20 feet of a tree or bush. If you do put a pipe that is perforated within 10-20 feet of a tree or bush, the roots that grow could end up penetrating the drain pipe and clogging your French drain. If roots eventually grow through the pipes, you can always introduce some salt into the drain through the cleanout, or a catch basin, to kill the roots.

Call Schmitt Waterproofing today at 404-268-1040, or fill out an online form to set up a free estimate. It’s never too early to address issues in your yard. We have a trained team that can help you find the right solution to your drainage needs at a great price.

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