Tuesday 2 April 2024

How We Built a Proper French Drain

We have a natural spring that runs through our yard and creates a terrible amount of water that gets in the way of our daycare play space. Over the years we had created some simple French drain systems and every couple years they would fail. The water would begin to backup and slowly flood the yard again. So what is the trick to a proper French drain that won’t fail and backup? 

Big rocks

The first time we created a French drain we used simple crushed rock from the gravel pit and it had actually turned into quite an issue because the way the rock is made it all fits together like a puzzle. The small sharp rock is not the way to go. For a proper French drain you want round large river rocks. The large round rocks create spaces in the trench that allow air and water to flow. 

We rented a U-Haul trailer to haul our loads of rocks to ensure our truck didn’t get any scratches on it. The convenience of ordering a trailer online for these jobs is fantastic, and super affordable it only cost us $50 for the day. 

Lots of pipes

Rather than use just a single pipe we used a double perforated pipe with the sleeve over top. 

Proper wrapping

We also lined the ground with root guard on the top and the bottom was triple wrapped to ensure roots cannot grow through. 

Digging deep enough

We dug a hole that was 2 feet deep and 50 feet long to ensure it would flow underground and not back up easily.

Be aware of your surroundings

Check with all the utility companies before you dig to ensure you don’t end up ripping up their property and create a huge bill for yourself. A proper French drain has to be deep so just  check to make sure you are safe to dig. 

After the last few times we learned what we did wrong and how we can make it better to last for years. I am hoping this time around it lasts forever but we have lots of trees surrounding the area that create roots that clogged out pipes last time. 

Now that we redid the French drain all we need to do is plant some grass and maintain the look overtop and you shouldn’t be able to even see that there was a huge hole there. 

Landscaping is a lot of work but can end up saving you a fortune if you do it yourself. 

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