The French Drain is a drain pipe that consists of perforated pipes or tubes that are buried in the ground and then covered by gravel, sand, or other porous material to allow water to filter through. French Drains are used for numerous reasons such as: groundwater seepage control, slope stabilization and atmospheric moisture removal. Installing French drains can be done in a variety of ways depending on your needs and project requirements. Regardless of style however, there are a few basic steps that will need to be done for any French Drain projects.

man inspecting a lawn

Geography assessment

Before breaking ground you will need to determine where installation will be most effective. French Drains are very effective in areas with heavy rain fall or an area where water is pooling. You will also need to consider the climate of your geographical area and if there’s a chance for freezing temperatures which can cause damage to French drains pipes due to expanding ice within them, especially in colder climates.

boot on a shovel about to dig

Digging starts

Once you’ve determined where French Drains will be most effective, it’s time to break ground. Depending on the size of your French Drain system(s), digging can take anywhere from a few hours up to days or even weeks. Generally though you will want your trench to be about 18 inches deep and 9 to 12 inches wide.

french drain in the ground

Placing your drain

Before you place your French drain in the trench, make sure to pre-fit it first. This means that if French drains are made of PVC or ABS plastic piping they should be fitted together before being placed within the ground for a perfect fit. Once complete, line your trench with landscaping fabric and partially fill the trench with gravel so your pipes aren’t touching the dirt. From there, insert your French Drain into your prepared trench and cover with an approved backfill material such as gravel.

view threw a drain

Finishing touches

You want your french drain to look natural in your yard so to wrap up you should add some topsoil around the edges and plant grass or any other landscaping you’d like. French Drains need to be maintained over time, so having great soil for your plants will also help prevent erosion around French drain pipes which could cause them to clog up and have water pooling again.

At Ray Lawns, we’re happy to provide a solution that allows you to implement a French Drain that will move water away from your home and areas where you need to prevent pooling. Visit us at to sign up for a free quote today!