1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Video:How to Install a French Drain

with David Beaulieu

Learn to install a french drain, which can prevent water from spilling into unwanted areas.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Home Videos
  • Landscaping Videos

Transcript:How to Install a French Drain

If your neighbor's land stands at a higher elevation than yours, water from your neighbor's property may be running down the slope and spilling onto your property. You need better yard drainage. One option in such cases is installing French drains.

What Is a French Drain?

"French drain," refers to a trench in which a drain pipe is laid. But the traditional French drain is basically a trench filled with gravel.

Things You'll Need to Install French Drains Are:

  • spade
  • landscape fabric
  • gravel or small pieces of rock
  • sand
  • sod
  • tape measure

Steps to Install a French Drain

The following steps can help you install French drains rather easily.

1. Determine a spot on your property where the excess water coming off the slope could be re-routed. The ideal French drain leach field would be an out-of-the-way area with sandy soil.

2. Check with your local utilities concerning the whereabouts of underground cables and the like, so that you'll know where not to excavate for a French drain.

3. Find an area along the slope on your side of the boundary where excavation would be easiest for your French drain. Remember, trench lines should be plotted out before you begin digging French drains.

4. You also need to create your own mini-slope to carry the water down to its destination. A grade of 1 percent is often recommended for French drains. For instance, if the trench is to be 100 feet long, then by the time your trench is 50 feet long, it should be 6 inches deeper than where you began excavating.

5. Start digging a horizontal trench across the length of the slope. Small trenches are often dug to a width of 5 to 6 inches.

6. Line the trench with landscape fabric and shovel in a coarse layer of gravel onto the fabric. Wrap the ends of the landscape fabric over the top of the gravel layer.

7. To fill in the rest of the trench, shovel in a layer of coarse sand, cover it with more landscape fabric, add 4 inches of topsoil, and lay sod on top. Your French Drain is complete.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit About.com.
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.