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!