How To Install A French Drain | Video

  • Transcript

    How to Install a French Drain

    Standing water in your yard can cause a laundry list of problems in and around your home, including wood rot and mold. In many cases, a simple French drain can help solve the issue by redirecting runoff away from your home to keep it dry, even during heavy rainfall.

    Installing a French drain can be accomplished in just a few simple steps. Here’s what you’ll need to take on this intermediate-level project.


    • Shovel
    • Rake
    • String
    • Top Soil (Optional)
    • Perforated Drain Pipe
    • Landscape Fabric
    • Gravel
    • Landscaping Stones


    We also recommend having a few friends on hand to help dig your trench.

    When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.


    Determine drain path. Before starting this project, call your local utility company to identify any buried lines or hazards. Taking into account neighboring properties and any underground hazards, locate the best area of your yard for excess water to be redirected.

    The drain path should slope downward slightly, be at least three feet from walls or fencing, and clear of any obstructions such as posts, trees, and shrubs. If your drain path falls along a property line, mark it with string to avoid digging in your neighbor’s yard. A line of string will also be helpful as a reference to indicate the path of your trench.


    Dig. Rake away any debris from the area where you’ll be installing the drain. Now comes the most challenging part of the job, digging a trench. We recommend asking a few friends to help speed up the process. Perforated drain pipe that is four inches in diameter will need a trench that is at least six inches deep.


    Add lining and pipe. Cut strips of landscaping fabric and line the entire span of your trench. Connect the perforated drain pipe and position it over the landscaping fabric. Once the pipe is in the trench, lay another strip of landscaping fabric over it. Wrap the fabric around the pipe and tuck it underneath. This will help keep the pipe clear of debris. Some stores offer pre-wrapped perforated pipe to save you time.


    Fill. Pull the landscaping fabric lining the trench taut against the edges while a helper pours in gravel or stone over the pipe, covering it completely. Once the pipe is covered, fill with landscaping stones or topsoil.

    Add a bed of stones around the open end of the drainpipe, and your installation is complete.


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