Determining If a French Drain Is Suitable for Your Yard

Ideally, water from rain would easily drain away from your house, eliminating any worries about water damage, flooded basements, problems with the foundation, and mud-covered lawns.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in most properties, forcing homeowners to look for a different drainage solution. This is where the French drain enters.

Continue reading to find out the advantages of having a French drain.

Overview of the French Drain

French drains bear the name Henry French after the Massachusetts judge and farmer who originally described them in 1859.

The concept was straightforward: by creating an accessible path for the water, get it away from the areas where it tends to collect. This drainage path is entirely subterranean, unlike a ditch.

A perforated pipe is tucked away in a ditch that serves as a French drain. Gravity draws water that collects on the surface above through the gravel and into the pipe, where it drains out the other end.

How French Drains Operate

Water always chooses the route with the least amount of resistance. While a steep hill is the best place to drain water, drainage issues arise in flatter places.

French drains get around these problems by establishing a conduit that directs the water to an area where it is no longer an issue, such as a storm drain or rainwater collection system.

By adding layers of gravel, the French drain encourages groundwater to seep into the drain. Once the water has soaked into the earth, it immediately enters the pipe because water moves through gravel more quickly than soil.

A permeable fabric keeps debris out of the pipe, allowing for optimal drainage capability and preventing gravel or other unwanted materials from entering.

When to Think about Putting in a French Drain

Consider a French drain as the ideal remedy for your water problems. Here are some typical issues that a French drain can help with.

? Foundation Damage because of Bad Drainage

A French drain might permanently solve the issue if flooding or fundamental damage occurs in your home because of rain, snowmelt, or groundwater.

To drain the water away from the house, an outside French drain that has been constructed properly will go around the entire base of your house.

This requires installing the entire drain at an angle that encourages drainage. This particular style of French drain, often known as a weeping tile system, is used to release hydrostatic pressure from the foundation walls.

Installing an inside weeping tile might be more advantageous if water becomes a problem. In order to divert water into a French drain that surrounds the internal perimeter of the foundation, it is necessary to place drainage boards along the external walls.

The drain then directs the water toward an outdoor drain or sump pump to exit the house.

? Water Pressure on Retaining Walls

Hydrostatic pressure can damage retaining walls, much like it affects foundation walls. Hydrostatic pressure is relieved by installing a French drain on the upper side of a retaining wall and routing it to drain away from the wall.

? Overflowing Surface Water or Flooding

After rainy weather, does your lawn or garden retain an excessive amount of surface water? Perhaps installing a French drain will help you restore your yard.

You can place drains in the ground anywhere water tends to accumulate, even though French drains are intended to extract groundwater from along the pipe via perforations.

In this manner, both water that is currently in the ground and any water that may enter it are swiftly removed by the drains.


The French drain can be advantageous for many people. Some benefits of having a French drain include improved drainage, reduced flooding, and reduced soil erosion.

If you’re considering a French drain for your home, be sure to consult with a professional to ensure it’s the best option for your specific needs.

You can trust Todd Heldt Excavating, Inc. for construction needs like French drain and asphalt driveway in Granite Bay. We’re a successful paving contractor and asphalt company offering asphalt driveways, paving, grading, and road construction.

Contact us now to receive quality work and customer service!

Why You Should Install French Drains Today

A French drain is a slanted ditch that conducts water away from your yard or the foundation of your home or building. French drains are typically created by digging a trench that is filled with gravel and has a perforated pipe at the bottom. It is covered with ground soil and fabric. 

The trench and gravel acts as a channel for rainwater to run to either a rain barrel or a storm drain. The use of landscape fabric reduces the possibility of roots impeding pipes. Installing a French drain may be the most efficient approach to keep your yard from flooding or basement preventing significant structural damage to your property.

You might want to consider installing a French drain to protect your yard from standing water. Read on to discover more.

French Drains Prevent Pooling and Flooding

After it has rained or been irrigated, your lawn should not have puddles of standing water. When water is allowed to pool, problems emerge. Standing water is also dangerous. Installing a French drain will reduce puddles in your yard by directing water away from low spots.

French drains also avoid water risks. Water that runs down the side of your property exerts pressure on the foundation. During the dry seasons, evaporation causes a decrease in pressure. Your house sways, putting strain on the foundation on which it was built. Drainage issues must be addressed before they can cause foundation issues.

When there is standing water on the grass, lawn issues such as dollar spot, red thread, and fairy ring are more likely to develop. Meanwhile, pests that are hazardous to people and other animals thrive in wet conditions, and itchy bug bites may wreak havoc on an outdoor dinner gathering in the summer.

Basements that are not sufficiently drained can be remedied by adding French drains to the building’s interior.

French Drains Offer Aesthetic Appeal

Unlike grates or storm drains, French drains can be built to blend in with the surrounding vegetation. Because the gravel in a French drain may be any color you like, it’s a fantastic choice for use as a border for a lawn or garden. French drains enhance rock gardens.

You can plant over the gravel in your French drain. For your ground cover, choose from creeping phlox, creeping thyme, or amethyst in snow. The shoots should grow over the rocks.

French Drains Make Erosion Management Easy

Soil erosion can be caused by a number of causes such as wind, water, ice, and even gravity. If erosion persists, your landscape may suffer irreversible damage. Plant nourishment is depleted when topsoil is removed. It can cause structural damage to your home.

Hazards of French Drains Self-Installation

While installing a French Drain is possible to do yourself there are some hazards to avoid and precautions to take. If you do not install it properly, you can make the situation worse. 

Before attempting to install a French drain, make sure you consider the following.

Make sure to call your local utility companies. Finding underground utilities is possible with the help of city planning organizations. It is critical that you do not hit any power or gas lines when digging.

Make sure you pay attention to the water flow. If you put the drain in the wrong location water could end up pooling and causing damage.

Using the wrong type of gravel. You must use the correct size of gravel in your French Drain to ensure proper draining and realize the benefits of the drainage system.

Other things to consider are lining your trench properly, ensuring you have the correct slope angle, using the proper drainpipe and pointing it correctly for draining so it doesn’t overwhelm your system. 

If you do not have experience in this field, you probably should consider contacting a professional.


French drains give you the entire package – fewer water risks, better management of erosion and an aesthetic appeal.

Are you interested in getting a French drain installed or professional assistance with another landscape grading  project such as gravel driveways, grading for house pads, culvert installation, or grading for concrete for your home or business? Todd Heldt Excavating, Inc. offers professional paving and grading services. They service the greater Sacramento area including Granite Bay, Roseville and Loomis. Contact us today to learn more about our work!

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