If you live in an area where it tends to rain or snow a lot, your home could be at risk for flooding. For this, you may want to consider a French drain system.

Installing French drains requires a lot of labor, which is why it’s highly recommended to hire a professional plumber to help. They’ll have all the tools on hand and can act as a consultant for where to best install this system to keep your home safe.

This blog post will go over what you need to know about French drains and how to install a French drain so you can decide whether this system is right for you.

What is a French drain?

A French drain system is an effective way to protect your home from water damage caused by flooding. It consists of a series of trenches and pipes used to divert excess water away from the foundation or other areas of your home.

This simple yet effective and affordable solution can help keep your basement and yard dry and free from standing water, preventing costly repairs in the future.

Tools needed for how to install a French drain in your yard

The tools a professional will use to install the system include the following:

  • Spray paint or flags (or any way to mark target locations)
  • A shovel or trencher
  • Filter fabric
  • Landscaping stone or gravel
  • An inlet grate
  • A drainage hose or PVC piping
  • Good quality topsoil

Steps for how to install a French drain

Here are the steps involved in installing a French drain system.

  • Plan where the French drain will be located

First, identify areas where water accumulates and determine the most desirable drainage path. It’s important to ensure water is directed away from the residence to prevent potential damage.

When selecting a destination for water flow, consider existing bodies of water near the property. Alternatively, you can utilize existing drainage systems. One convenient solution is to redirect excess water towards a road curbside.

To ensure effective drainage, it’s crucial that the system moves water at a slope from a higher elevation to a lower elevation.

Once you know where you want the system to be located, use spray paint or flags to indicate the length and direction of the trench.

  • Start digging the trench

Before doing any digging, it’s imperative to check for underground utility lines and pipes. This precautionary measure will prevent damage to any existing structures.

After ensuring it’s safe to dig, use a shovel or trencher to carve out the extended trench leading to the water outlet.

The trench should have a width of 9 to 12 inches and a depth of approximately 18 inches. It should also have a gradual slope of at least 1 inch for every 10 feet of pipe.

  • Use filter fabric to line the trench

Place a water-permeable filter fabric on top of the trench. This will help prevent dirt and tree roots from making their way into the drain and clogging it up.

Make sure you leave the fabric open, allowing an excess extension of 10 inches of fabric on either side.

  • Fill the trench with stone or gravel

Then, fill the trench with roughly 3 inches of landscaping stone or gravel. This will serve as a supportive foundation for the drain.

  • Install an inlet grate

At the location where water tends to accumulate the most, install an inlet grate for drainage. When it comes to how to properly install a French drain, this step is essential.

  • Build out the drain with hosing or piping

From the inlet grate, start to build out the drain with a drainage hose or PVC piping, laying the length in the trench on top of the stone bedding.

The hose or piping should have holes along its length, about 6 inches apart. These holes should be positioned to face downwards.

Use as many fittings as required until the drain reaches the outlet point.

  • Test the drain system

To ensure the drain will work as intended, pour water into the inlet grate and observe the flow.

  • Cover the system with gravel and filter fabric

After you’ve determined that the system works, you can then cover the hosing or piping with about 3 inches of the remaining stone or gravel and another layer of filter fabric.

Make sure to leave the end of the drain open, and don’t exceed ground level when doing this. It’s important to also ensure no stones fall into the inlet grate.

  • Re-fill the trench with topsoil

The final step is to re-fill the trench with topsoil to completely conceal the presence of the drain system. Try not to get any soil in the inlet grate.

Want a French drain system installed? Get in touch with J. Blanton

Installing a French drain system is an effective way to protect your home from water damage caused by flooding. With the information we’ve provided here regarding how to properly install a French drain, you can hopefully better decide whether this system is right for your home.

If you’ve decided that this system is right for your home and want to get it installed, consider J. Blanton for the job. We’ve been providing Chicagoland homeowners with quality service for over 30 years.

Contact J. Blanton today!