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What is a French Drain and How Does it Work?

Have you ever wondered how to keep your basement from flooding? Or perhaps you have a yard that is constantly soggy and a nuisance after heavy rain? If so, then the French drain may be just what you need. It’s an effective way of keeping water out of your house or yard, but how does it work? In this article, we’ll explain what a French drain is and how it works.


A French drain is a type of drainage system that helps divert water away from an area. It consists of perforated piping or a trench filled with gravel and other materials. The goal of the French drain is to allow water to flow freely away from the area, thereby preventing flooding and other moisture-related problems.

The design of the French drain works by allowing water to enter the perforated pipes or gravel-filled trench through small holes in the sides. The water then travels through the pipe or trench until it reaches a lower area where it can be safely collected and discharged. This allows for efficient drainage, as it prevents flooding and other water-related issues in areas that may otherwise be prone to them.

Benefits Of Installing A French Drain

A French drain is a great way to protect your home from flooding and other water-related damage. It works by diverting water away from the house, helping to prevent any kind of water-related damage. Installing a French drain comes with many benefits, including:

First, a French drain can help protect your foundation from erosion. As the water is diverted away from the house, it helps to keep the soil surrounding your foundation from being washed away or weakened. This can help extend the life of your home’s foundation and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Second, a French drain can also help reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth in your basement or crawl space. By diverting water away from these areas, you can help ensure they stay dry and free of mold and mildew which can cause health problems for those living in the home.

All in all, installing a French drain is an effective way to protect your home from flooding and other forms of water damage while also helping to promote healthier air quality in your home. With this type of protection, you can be sure that your family and property are safe for years to come.

How To Install A French Drain

Installing a French drain is relatively easy to do, but it does require some preparation. First, you need to determine where the drain will be located. You’ll want to make sure there is adequate drainage away from the area being drained.

water protection drainage

Once the location has been determined, you need to dig a trench that is wide enough and deep enough for the drainpipe. The depth of the trench should be at least 6 inches deeper than the pipe itself.

Next, you’ll need to line the trench with either gravel or crushed stone and add a perforated pipe on top of it. Make sure to leave at least 3 inches between the top of the pipe and ground level when finished.

Cover this with more gravel or crushed stone, and then use a fabric filter cloth to cover it all up. Lastly, add soil back over everything and pack it down firmly until only an inch or two of soil is above ground level.

Types Of Materials Used In French Drains

A French drain is an effective way to divert water away from unwanted areas. Now that you understand how a French drain works, it’s also important to know what type of materials can be used when installing one. There are numerous materials available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

The most popular material for a French drain is PVC pipe, as it’s relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and durable. Perforated pipes are often used in conjunction with gravel or rock to form a channel that will allow water to flow through the pipe and away from the affected area.

Other materials such as corrugated metal or flexible plastic can be used in place of PVC, but they tend to be more expensive and require additional preparation before installation.

No matter what material you decide to use for your French drain installation, make sure it is strong enough and properly installed so that it will last long-term without needing maintenance.

With careful planning and proper installation techniques, you can ensure your French drain is ready to divert water away from your home or property for years to come.

Maintenance And Troubleshooting Tips

A French drain is a water drainage system designed to protect areas from flooding. It consists of a trench filled with gravel, and pipe, and covered with soil.

The purpose of the system is to allow water to flow away from the affected area by directing it into the pipe. This prevents water from pooling in or around the house and reduces the risk of flooding.

To keep your French drain in good working condition, it’s important to check it regularly for any clogs or debris that may have built up. If you notice any blockages, remove them as soon as possible. Additionally, examine the area around the French drain for any signs of erosion or silt buildup.

If either is present, add more gravel or soil to build up the sides of the trench so that water can flow freely again. Regularly cleaning out your French drain will help ensure its effectiveness for many years to come.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your French drain system functioning properly and help prevent costly damage due to flooding.

Alternatives To French Drains

Moving on, there are other alternatives to French drains that can be used for similar purposes. One method is a dry well, which involves digging a hole and filling it with gravel or other large rocks.

This allows water to slowly seep into the ground and collect in the well, preventing it from flooding the surrounding area. This can be an effective way to manage excess water without having to install a complicated drain system.

Another option is a sump pump, which pumps out any excess water that accumulates in a specific area. These pumps are installed below the surface of the ground and can be connected to a hose or pipe for easy drainage of the water away from the home.

Although these don’t provide the same level of protection as a French Drain, they are still an effective way to keep your property dry and safe from potential flooding.


A well-functioning French Drain is an excellent way to protect your foundation, landscape, and basement from water damage. Not only can it channel away excess water, but it will also improve the aesthetic values of any yard or property because of its strategic positioning.

Whether you are building or renovating residential or commercial space, having a French Drain installed can save you time and money in the long run. If you’re looking for an experienced landscaping and drainage company that can install a French Drain for you, contact Big Easy Landscaping to get started! We have years of experience working with clients throughout the Greater New Orleans Area on projects both big and small. Make sure that your project is done right with a call to Big Easy Landscaping today!

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