French Drian Installation

Those new to the concept of landscape drainage will find the following paragraphs helpful. Above all, we will describe the most commonly used landscape drainage system, especially in the Houston area. We will discuss the necessary steps of a French Drain installation primarily while also providing interesting and useful facts. Houston Landscape Pros will help you determine if you need a french drain or a catch basin drain system. In conclusion, If you are concerned with your lawn sprinkler system or landscaping. Please keep in mind that we are Texas licensed irrigator and landscapers, and we will fix the underground watering system instantly. Call us at 713-396-3320 or fill out a Free landscape drainage quote from to further assist you!

French Drain History:

Although rustic models of the French drain systems have been in existence for centuries, Henry F. French invented the official French Drain in the mid-1800s. Like many aristocrats of his time, he was an educated gentleman and landowner with his own agricultural business. Even though Henry F. French was a lawyer and also served for a time as the Assistant Secretary of Treasury in Washington, still found time to develop innovative drainage ideas to solve the problem of the heavy rainy seasons of spring and summer in Massachusetts. Wishing to impart the wealth of knowledge he gained to the farmers of America, he published Farm Drainage: The Principles, Processes, Effects of Draining Land with Stones, Wood, Plows, and Open Ditches, and Especially with Tiles. The work of this brilliant man gave us invaluable knowledge that is considered essential to landscape drainage in modern times.

The Modern French Drain Introduction:

The difference between the original french drain, invented by Henry F. French, and the modern french drain is the use of PVC pipes. Nowadays, there are two types of french drain systems, slightly different due to their placement.

The first type of French drain applies to structures, usually closer to the edifice itself. Whether it’s a residential or a commercial building, due to its construction and proximity to the building, it will be covered only with gravel. The use of this type is for when the problem area that is receiving excess water close to the building, therefore, posing a threat to the foundation.

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Modern Backyard French Drain Installation type 1.

The second type of French drain system can be used under any turf and for any problem area. In other words, this french drain can go under a lawn or a landscape bed, which is the significant difference between the two types. So say you had a flooding issue in the middle of your yard, but you do not want to see a catch basin grate, then the second type would be perfect for this situation. It goes well in that aspect because it will be hidden entirely from view.Although this type of french drain will be more expensive, it is versatile.

In the following paragraphs will outline the process of the French drain installation.

Overview of How a French Drain works:

When it rains, water will drain to the bottom of the trench. We insert gravel so that water can go straight to the bottom where the pipe is and carried out the street. Gravel is best for filling up the trench instead of dirt because dirt prevents the water from flowing to the bottom and clog the pipes. When the water goes to the bottom, it will start to fill in, rise within the trench, and enter the pipe through the perforations. Then, the perforated PVC pipe will easily divert water into the solid pipe that will take it to its final destination. Since we put a slope to the trench, all the water will flow out to the street rather than stay in your yard.

French Drain System Installation before after 77095

The Materials:

Before beginning the french drain installation process, the installer must have the proper materials. Houston landscape Pros always chooses the indicated materials that will compliant with city codes. Therefore, the best PVC pipe for a french drain is the SDR-35. It is a little more expensive than most pipes used in this kind of drainage, but at the same time it is most durable product. It protects against root systems and movements in the soil. For a french drain, a 4-in PVC perforated pipe and also solid 4-inch PVC pipes required. In addition, we use geotextile materials to prevent dirt from coming into the tube. After that comes the gravel, most natural gravel used in french drain installation is River Rock and Bull Rock. Another essential material would a bend a board edging. It is durable and made out of recycled material. However, don’t forget the shovel needed to dig the trench.

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French Drain: Type 1

Below Houston Landscape Pros will teach you the necessary steps. Also, if you have any more question after reading the below go to our drainage from. One of our professional team members would be happy to help you and visit with you on site.

There are roughly four parts to a French drain installation type 1:

1. Digging the trench, laying the geotextile
2.laying the perforated PVC pipe correctly
3.Covering the pipe with gravel on all sides
4.Inserting the edging

First Step:

Digging the trench, is the most labor-intensive part of the process. The channels are hand dug because often there are utility lines that the installer must be mindful. The beginning of the trench will be approximately six inches deep. Then, the channel will have to dig at a slope, one inch deeper for every ten feet of piping, to force the water to its final destination. Sloping the trench in this way accounts for friction loss and flow velocities caused by the moving water.

french drain installation type 1 diagram Houston Landscape Pros

French Drain: Type 1 Diagram

Second Step:

Digging the trench is the most labor-intensive part of the process. The channels are hand dug because often there are utility lines that the installer must be mindful. The beginning of the trench will be approximately six inches deep. Then, the channel will have to dig at a slope, one inch deeper for every ten feet of piping, to force the water to its final destination. Sloping the trench in this way accounts for friction loss and flow velocities caused by the moving water.

Three Step:

Finally, the french drain installation is the edging that will be the barrier between the gravel and the grass or the gravel and the landscaping bed. Otherwise, the grass will try to grow over the French drain, which does not look good. When it comes it a french drain, installed only in the problem area. Eventually, it connects to a pipe that is completely solid all around with no perforations that will take the water to its deposit area. The solid pipes with no holes, covered with dirt, and grass will be laid on top of it since these pipes cut straight through the grass area of the lawn.

French Drain: Type 2

As previously stated, the difference between type one and type two of the French drain is that type two can be installed under any turf. It will use all the same materials with a few differences in the installation process.

The six steps for the French Drain installation under any turf:

1. Dig the trench
2. Lay the geotextile
3. Connect the perforated pipe with the solid pipes
4. Put in the gravel
5. Wrap both the gravel and the perforated PVC pipes
completely with the geotextile material
6. Cover it with dirt and the preferred turf

French Drain Type 2 Diagram Houston Landscape Pros

French Drain: Type 2 Diagram

Installation on Exsting Grass

Since installed under a grass turf, the trenches will have to dig deeper. The channel needs to be about 1 foot deep at the start to install grass on top. The gravel and the pipes will each take up 4 inches. The lawn will need the remaining 4 inches of soil, to grow correctly. Then, the trench will slope 1 inch for every 10 feet of piping. This one will be more expensive because of the labor involved in digging deeper trenches. It will also be more costly because there will be a lot more dirt that needs to be hauled out and stored somewhere until the channels completely dug and the piping installed.

Geotextile Installation

Next, the geotextile material will be laid on the trench, making sure to put enough down to be able to cover the gravel and the pipes completely. Then, the perforated pipes will connect with the solid pipes that will take the excess water to the exit area since the French drain only used in the problem area. Since soil and sod will installed on top of the French drain, the gravel along with the perforated PVC pipe must be completely wrapped around with the geotextile material to protect the drainage system from debris. Lastly, the soil and the grass will lay on top.

Other Considerations for French Drain:

French drains cannot be connected directly to any other type of landscape drainage system; there needs to be at least 5 feet of solid piping separating it from another landscape drainage system, such as a catch basin. Putting one any closer would effect the opposite of what the French drain is meant to do. A French drain cannot be connected to another landscape drainage system on the higher side of the slope because a French drain is not meant to have more water flow into it from another system, it is only meant to deal with a problem area. Having another system higher on the slope of the trench will cause the French drain to overflow or even to be clogged.

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French drain installation and catch basin system side-by-side but separate lines.

French Drain Cost:

A French drain costs anywhere from $1600 to $4500. The French drain installation cost will vary depending on the following factors. For instance, some are pool equipment, utility lines, lawn sprinkler systems, trees and shrubbery, and fences. They are factors that impact prices because they will be time-consuming obstacles. The most expensive element of a French drain installation is labor. The more time consuming the labor is, then the higher the price of the job. When our landscape drainage specialist provides an estimate for a customer, he has to inspect the property for obstacles things during the installation. However, it includes it in the proposed price for the French drain installation. The size of the property will also be a factor because a more significant property will require more piping; therefore, more labor will be needed to dig longer trenches. Contact us! (713) 396-3320 Check out our limited area service map.

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