How to install a French drain

Garden maintenance

Last week, we showed you how to improve your garden drainage by installing an underground drain pipe. This week, we’re going to show you another garden drainage solution you can install yourself, which is a little more versatile – a French Drain.

Unlike an underground drain pipe that takes water from one spot in your garden and delivers it to another, a French drain is capable of dispersing water over a large area.

This effective drainage solution is great for dealing with all kinds of garden water issues and it’s something most people can install themselves.

Unlike an underground drain pipe, a French drain does not usually require an inlet or an outlet. The perforated holes in the pipe will allow water to seep in and out along its length.











Here’s what you will need to install a French drain:

  • Tools – a spade or digging hoe
  • Perforated plastic drain pipe
  • Water-permeable landscape fabric
  • Washed drainage gravel

The first step is to dig your drainage trench along the area where you want to drain the water from. It wants to be approx. 6″ wide and 18-24″ deep.

Once the trench has been dug, fill it along its entire course with approx. 3″ of gravel. Next, lay your water-permeable fabric along the length of the trench. This prevents the holes in your pipe from clogging with mud and debris.

Now lay your perforated drain pipe in your trench and wrap the remaining fabric around it. You now need to add more gravel around the pipe to act as a barrier between it and the soil. Now it’s just a case of filling in your trench again with the soil you removed when you dug it.

All being well, your new French drain should help disperse water that would otherwise be accumulating in your soil.

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