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What is a French Drain and How Does it Work?

If you are unsure of what a French drain is then you have come to the right place. There is a lot of misunderstanding around French drains, and we are here to set the record straight. In a nutshell, if you have a wet basement or a drenched back yard for example, then you need a French drain. This article is designed to tell you the details about French drains and describe to you how they work.

So, let’s take a deeper look at what a French drain is and how it helps in home landscaping systems.

So what is a French drain?

A French drain is a drainage system where a small trench is created and filled with aggregate, like small stones, so you cannot see the water flowing. The system is designed to pull any surface water off of the walls and stop it from damaging the property. It is a popular system in driveways, gardens, and any area that is prone to floods. Surface water does not always drain away properly dues to many factors, and French drains can resolve them by channeling the water in the right direction. 

When to use a French drain at home

If you have any sort of flooding on your property after a period of rain, like an extra-soaked garden or a wet basement after a period of rain, then you should consider a French drain. French drains are great in areas that sustain flash flooding. 

How do French drains work in landscaping?

French drains are designed to catch water and help it flow away from the property. The water flows through the aggregate in the trench and downwards and onto a pipe at the end of the drain. The water then gets transferred away from the property and emptied somewhere else. To ensure that your French drain works effectively and does not overflow, you need to ensure that the trench slopes away from the property at least one inch for every two feet. In some cases, the water will drain out to an area of the property that is low-lying, or possibly a drainage ditch, or even straight onto the street.  

How to drain surface water at home?

If surface water is an issue for your property, then you should install the shallow version of a French drain. This will make sure that the water is guided away from your home. Dif the drain in a diagonal fashion across your property and use the power of gravity to do all the hard work. The trench will protect your brickwork and stop it from getting damaged. It will also have the effect of preventing mold and other nasties from building up at the bottom of the brickwork. Generally speaking, you do not need to make a French durian any deeper than two feet and one and a half across. If you are installing the drain through plants and bushes, then it may be a good idea to use pipework in those areas.  

If you have any questions or queries in regards to having a French drain installed, then please contact us at 503.856.2886. We will be more than happy to assist you.


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