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The French drain is a simple, yet very versatile construction which can be used to drain run-off & standing water from problem areas in your garden or basement areas. The process is fairly simple; it just requires a little preparation and planning, the right tools, materials and know-how.
1. Look at underground safety. Before building a French drain in a specific area, you must locate all underground cables, pipes or other installations that could make digging dangerous in that particular spot. Other things you must take into account: the source of the water you will be draining, the greatest amount of flow you can expect to get, and if it is a hazardous or contaminated source.
2. Check. Check. And check again. You will also need to establish whether or not your French drain would cause hardship for neighbours in terms of groundwater runoff. Running excess water onto someone else's land could lead to issues. Ideally the French drain should runoff in a relatively unused section of land, away from any buildings, into sandy soil which allows water to pass through easily.
3. Find a downhill slope. In order to work well, your French drain needs to be constructed on a slight downhill grade. This allows water to drain away from the problem area through the force of gravity. If no natural downward slope exists, you can create a slope by digging progressively deeper as you work your way along the trench.
4. Gather your tools and materials. You'll need to stock up on a few basic tools and materials. You will need: A roll of water-permeable landscape fabric, A perforated plastic drain, Washed drainage gravel, digging tools or call in diggers4hire.com to dig your trench.
5. Dig the trench. Digging the trench is the least complicated step in building a French drain. The width and depth of the drain you dig will depend on the severity of the drainage problem and the digging tool you're using. However, most standard French drains are approximately 6" wide and 18" to 24" deep. Periodically check the depth of the trench as you dig, to ensure it is consistently sloping downwards.
6. Line the trench with landscape fabric. Once you have finished digging the trench, you will need to line it with the water-permeable landscape fabric.
7. Add the gravel. Shovel approximately 2 or 3 inches (5.1 or 7.6 cm) of gravel along the bottom of the trench, on top of the landscaping fabric.
8. Lay the pipe. Place the perforated drain pipe into the trench, on top of the gravel. Make sure the drain holes are facing down, as this will ensure the greatest drainage.
9. Cover the pipe. Shovel more gravel over the pipe, until there is 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) between the gravel and the top of the trench.
10. Fill in the trench. Fill in the rest of the trench with the displaced soil. At this point you can finish the trench in whatever way you like: You can lay soil on top, reseed with grass or even cover with a layer of large, decorative stones.
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