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What is a French Drain?

A French drain is a trench or hole that is filled with rock or gravel and containing a perforated pipe that helps redirect ground/surface water away from an area.

what is a french drain

These drains can be created or installed anywhere that excessive groundwater collects. What’s so great about this type of drain? It is very easy to DIY! Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Call a “before you dig” hotline or local municipal agency to ensure the area you want to construct your drain is a safe distance from underground pipes and cables.
  2. Check local zoning and runoff regulations and make sure you have approval to dig on your property.
  3. Pick an area of your yard that is downhill sloping to ensure that water drains away from the problem area. If you do not have a natural downward slope in your yard, you can create one by digging at a 1% grade.
  4. Gather your tools:
    • Water-permeable landscape fabric (helps keep drain pipe clean and free from clogs)
    • Perforated plastic drain (flexible or rigid PVC drain pipe)
    • Washed drainage gravel
    • Digging tools
  5. Dig your trench. Width and depth of your trench will depend on how severe your drainage problem is. Contact a waterproofing or drainage professional if you are unsure about what size to dig.
  6. Line the trench with landscape fabric. Temporarily nail or pin any excess fabric to the sides of the trench.
  7. Add gravel. There should be approximately 2-3” of gravel on top of the landscaping fabric along the bottom of the trench.
  8. Lay the drain pipe on top of the gravel, making sure drain holes are facing downward for optimal drainage.
  9. Cover the pipe with gravel until there is approximately 3-5” between the top of the trench and the gravel.
  10. Unpin excess landscaping fabric and fold it over the top layer of gravel.
  11. Fill in the rest of the trench with any displaced soil. Reseed the area with grass, cover with stones or sod, etc.

As always, it is best to enlist the help of a professional Maryland water drainage company if you have any questions or concerns when tackling a DIY french drain project on your property.

For more information about French drains, or to have one installed or repaired in your home, look to the experts at Basement Waterproofing Tech. We are a Baltimore waterproofing company serving Baltimore and the surrounding areas and are here to help with all your waterproofing needs. Contact us today!