Steps Involved In French Drain Installation- A Complete Guide

The French drain installation is a task that is not very easy to perform as it involves the digging process too. So, we can say that the whole process is a time-consuming process. The French drains are available in different sizes as some are very big and some are very small.

The purpose of this drain is to spread the water more evenly in the given space. You can hire a French drain installer to get this work done or you can also do it yourself if you have the proper tools and know the right techniques.

Here, we have discussed some steps that are involved in the French drain installation, let’s have a look at them:

Gather Necessary Materials

First, all the necessary materials are gathered in one place. These materials may include sand, gravel, topsoil, shovel, turf, landscape fabric, landscaping stones, striping spray paint, and drain pipe. Make sure all these materials are of high quality.

If you are installing the French drain yourself, you need to take the help of a professional to get the right tools and materials. But if this task is being performed by a professional, you do not have to worry about anything as he knows everything about the quality of good material.

Locate The Appropriate Area

After gathering all the necessary materials, the next task is to determine the best location for the drain. The best location is the one where the problem areas are located, the condition of the soil, and nearby elevation.

Make sure there is a proper slope in your selected area. The depth of that location must also be considered. When we talk about the needed soil, make sure it is sandy soil so that you could get the unique features of your property when installing the drain.

Dig The French Drain

The next task is to dig the French drain. For this purpose, you need to consider the city codes and the right techniques to be used for the drainage solution. Make sure its installation does not affect your neighbors.

To accomplish this task, you can consult any utility company for having any underground lines marked before starting the digging process. When you are done digging the drain, make sure the depth is about 8 inches to 2ft depending upon the available options and your needs and requirements.

Measure The Grading

Next, you need to measure the grading. It is a process that starts by pounding two stakes into the ground for marking the dimensions of the trench. You can use a taut string for measuring the grading. You can perform a regular measuring process throughout the whole drain installation process.

Create A Trench

When you are done measuring the grading, now you have to create a trench. For this purpose, you can take the help of the spray paint marks and use a shovel for digging a 6 inches wide trench. We can say that the creation of the trench is the most important and difficult task of the whole project.

The width of the trench should depend upon the drainage problem. If there is a smaller drainage problem, it can be handled with a trench that is 6 inches wide. But larger trench is required for larger drainage issues.

Add Fabric Lining

After creating the trench, you need to add the fabric lining to the dug trench. So, you have to add additional gravel to it. The purpose of this fabric is to prevent the dirt from getting mixed with the gravel. It also promotes water percolation.

When you are done applying the fabric, a light load of gravel is shoveled over the top. So, the fabric corners can be easily wrapped around the gravel aiming to hold it in place.

Insert Pipe

When you are done adding the fabric lining, next you have to add the pipe. Place the perforated or slotted pipe at the bottom of the trench. Make sure the pipe is directed towards the outlet to drain away from your house.

Fill The Trench

After inserting the pipe, the next step is to fill the trench with gravel. We can say that it is the last step that wraps up the whole installation process of a French drain.

In this last step, the gravel is needed to be shoveled into the drain no matter what is the size of the gravel. Place this gravel on another layer of landscape fabric and cover it using topsoil and new sod.


To sum up, we have provided you with the complete procedure for installing the French drain. All the required things have also been mentioned along with the techniques to be used. So, you can install the drain yourself or hire a professional to complete this project efficiently. 

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