The basic concept of a French drain is simple, and it is a great solution for anyone who needs to keep water away from the foundation of their home. Many people could probably not identify a French drain by name alone, but chances are you have seen these drainage systems on multiple occasions. Do you ever notice the opening of a tube or PVC pipe peeking up from underneath a lawn? Have you seen a trail of gravel or stones leading away from someone’s house and out to the street? If so, you were likely seeing highly beneficial French drains!
Both French drains and other types of drains work to disperse water, but French drains have a unique focus on water accumulated under the surface of your lawn. French drains are subsurface drainage systems that focus on diverting water away from a building or structure. This is accomplished by laying a perforated pipe or tube under the soil surface and encasing it in a permeable substance, such as gravel.
The pipe or tube allows groundwater to enter through the perforations and leads the water out to a city sewer system or disperses the water evenly throughout your lawn. The gravel works to collect water that gets introduced to your lawn, which helps optimize the water flow to the underground drainage pipe.
Accumulated groundwater can cause mold to form around your home’s foundation, invite termites, result in flooding of your yard and house, and a host of other detrimental effects to your property. Standing or pooling water frequently occupying space in your yard is an indication of poor drainage, but there are less obvious signs to look out for that also suggest drainage problems on your property. If your lawn constantly feels damp, or if the foundation/ground floor of your home is experiencing mildew and excess moisture, then your yard may benefit greatly from installing a French drain.
The individual parts that make up a French drain system are simple tools, but the system as a whole is one of the more complex drainage systems offered by Oliviers. However, if you do need the advantages of a French drain, the benefits your property will receive are invaluable! Below is a list of the basic components of a French drain system.
Once a trench is dug, landscape fabric is the first part of the system to install. The fabric lines the bottom of the trench, and its main purpose is to prevent dirt and particles from clogging your drain pipe. For this reason, a permeable, non-woven geotextile fabric is the best choice for optimal filtration and water flow.
Some people or companies may use sand as backfill material, but sand absorbs moisture and is less effective for draining water. At Oliviers, we use a clean, round gravel that will provide the best water collection and drainage for your new French drain system. The gravel is placed on top of the landscape filter fabric, as well as all around the pipe that runs through the trench.
Also known as “weeping tile,” perforated pipes are the main component of French drain systems. Water that collects and trickles down through the gravel will flow into a slotted pipe at the bottom of the trench. As groundwater rises, it will fall into the holes in the pipe and be carried away from areas of standing water or excess moisture.
If you are about to install a French drain in your yard, there are several factors to consider before a shovel ever touches your turf. For example, it is important to know where gas lines, sprinkler systems, and other subterranean utility lines are located on your property. Luckily, the pros at Oliviers are experienced and know how to make this identification process as simple as possible.
Another important factor to consider is where the greatest need is for your drainage system. Whether you are concerned about groundwater damaging your home’s foundation or if you have pools of water on your lawn after rainfall, we will help you make sure that your French drain runs along the most beneficial path in order to keep your home safe and dry. French drains are very helpful and commonly used for the following situations:
Once you have determined where you want to start your French drain, the following steps will be taken to install your new drainage system.