Homeowner’s Guide to French Drains

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Eliminating standing water from your lawn is one of the important parts of keeping a healthy landscape. Standing water can attract mosquitoes that carry viruses, therefore risking both your and your family’s health. The most cost-effective and efficient way to eliminate standing water is by installing a French drain. In this article, we are going to discuss how homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery Counties can use a French drain to keep their lawn in good and safe condition.


What is a French drain?

A French drain is a gravel-filled trench. It includes a perforated or slotted pipe that directs surface water or groundwater away from a home’s foundation. It directs water towards the lowest point and allows the water to seep through the gravel into the drain. This way, excess debris is blocked as well. The water is collected in the perforated pipe and directed to an area for daylighting or infiltration. The main difference between a French drain and a regular surface drain is the French drain fills with water, as opposed to collecting water in one spot.


How does a French drain work?

A French drain creates a sunken channel, allowing liquid to reach the lowest possible point so it can smoothly move into loose soil. It pushes water down from the surface first and out of the soil, then pulls it down the sloping pipe to the area where it is discharged. This is why the key to a well-functioning French drain is leveraging gravity.


Where should I install a French drain?

The best place would be in an area where water settles for hours or days after it rains. For example, if your outdoor patio was damaged or backyard was flooded, it would ruin the pavers and create a breeding ground for mosquitoes. A French drain would divert water away from your patio and eliminate standing water. It can even be helpful in preventing damage to your home’s foundation and basement.

The best way to assess if you need a French drain is to check for musty smells or a wet floor in your basement. It would stop water from reaching your home, saving you from unnecessary repairs.


What do I need to know before installing a French drain?

The first factor to take into consideration is the slope of your lawn. A French drain should drop at least one percent per 100 feet of length. Inquire about the depth, length, and aggregate of the drain. It should be approximately 8 inches to 2 feet deep; if aggregate of varying sizes is used, smaller bits of gravel will go closer to the pipe and larger pieces will stay at the surface. A French drain should always be long enough to carry water from the collection point to where it discharges the water.

Keeping a beautiful and healthy lawn is a priority for many Bucks and Montgomery County homeowners, so it’s important to look into how you can do this easily and affordably. Talk to Modern Landscapes today about how we can help you with your landscaping needs!