Installing French drains in your yard is an outstanding way to address your home drainage problems. This is especially so in the case of yards experiencing a large amount of moisture in the ground which does not seem to be able to pour off anywhere. This occurs because water is running to your yard from a higher elevation. The goal with the French drain is to dig a trench to let the water run off where you want it to go, and not where it wants to go!
Begin to dig a trench in the spot where you want the water to begin to flow. This trench that will direct the water away should have a resulting grade of 1%, with the beginning of the trench being 1% higher than the end of it. That difference in grade will allow for a gentle slope which, when filled with rocks, will enable the water to run off through the rocks and away from where it could do damage to your lot.
Here are some tips for installing a French drains:
• Choose a location to divert the water to where it will not create any damage. That may be difficult; you may simply have to choose a location or you may need to install a Dry Well.
• Before beginning to dig your trench, check with the local utility authorities to be sure that you will not be digging near any of their pipes or easements.
• Plant a clean stick at the beginning of your trench and a second at the proposed end of the trench. Tie a string which is the length of the proposed trench firmly to the first stick at its ground level, wrapping the other end around the second. Use a string level to be sure that the string remains level. Firmly tie the second end to the second stick; these lengths will be compared to view the progress of your digging. You ultimately want your trench to be 100 feet long with the shallower end being six inches higher than the deep end.
• Fill the trench with rocks to provide a guide for the water as it runs off through the drain.
• Some experts on French drains advocate a narrow drain; others advise a wider drain with a width of 8-10 inches for water conduction purposes.
• Be sure that the new drain does not cause problem for any of your neighbors with lower-lying lots near yours!