is supported by readers and may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Dig a French Drain

Master the Art of Digging a French Drain with These Simple Steps

A French drain is an effective way to redirect water away from your home, garden or other areas. It is a trench filled with gravel and a perforated pipe that allows water to flow through and away from the area. Here are the steps to dig a French drain.

Step 1: Determine the Location
The first step is to determine where you want to install the French drain. Choose an area that has a slope or where water tends to accumulate. Also, make sure that the area is at least 10 feet away from your home's foundation.

Step 2: Mark the Trench
Use spray paint or flags to mark the trench's location. The trench should be about 6 inches wide and 18 inches deep. The length of the trench will depend on the area you want to drain.

Step 3: Dig the Trench
Using a shovel, start digging the trench along the marked line. Make sure that the trench is straight and level. If you encounter any rocks or roots, remove them from the trench.

Step 4: Create a Slope
The trench should have a slight slope to ensure that water flows away from the area. For every 10 feet of trench, there should be a 1-inch slope. Use a level to ensure that the slope is consistent throughout the trench.

Step 5: Add Gravel
Once the trench is dug, add a layer of gravel at the bottom of the trench. The gravel should be about 2-3 inches deep. Make sure that the gravel is level.

Step 6: Install the Perforated Pipe
Place the perforated pipe on top of the gravel. The pipe should be centered in the trench. Make sure that the perforations are facing downwards.

Step 7: Cover the Pipe with Gravel
Cover the perforated pipe with another layer of gravel. The gravel should be about 2-3 inches deep. Make sure that the gravel is level and covers the pipe completely.

Step 8: Cover the Trench
Once the pipe is covered with gravel, use the soil that was removed from the trench to cover the gravel. Make sure that the soil is level and compacted.

Step 9: Test the Drain
After the trench is covered, test the drain by pouring water into the trench. Make sure that the water flows through the pipe and away from the area.

In conclusion, digging a French drain is a straightforward process that can help prevent water damage to your home or garden. With these steps, you can successfully install a French drain and redirect water away from the area.