What is a French Drain?

Originally created in France, the French Drain system was popularized by Henry Flagg French of Concord, Massachusetts, in the 1859 publication of Farm Drainage. 

Traditionally, a French Drainage system is used to divert groundwater away from structural foundations, and retaining walls through a gravel-filled trench. This system is typically placed near the perimeter of the foundation of a home, or at the back of a retaining wall to relieve the pressure of groundwater build-up.
Some systems drain directly to the side of the street, and into the storm drains, but other systems can be used to conserve water for gardening or fill a dry well. 

French Drain Purposes
The French Drain is referred to by several names, such as weeping tile, trench drain, blind drain, rubble drain, rock drain, subsurface drain, among others. The French Drain system is created through the layering of different materials to sift out debris and direct water away from pooling at the foundation walls of a home or other building. 

They can be made with a focus to compliment the aesthetics of your landscaping or to hold to the more practical purpose of water conservation. Sometimes, you can find a way to do both. In hot and arid climates, it’s important to get the most out of your short rainy seasons. 

Utilizing water conservation resources will also help your wallet because you will spend less on having water pumped into your yard. If you strategically place your French Drains, you can divert any excess water from higher watering zones to drain into the lower zones, instead of paying for extra water to keep those spaces healthy too. 

When your irrigation system or natural rainfall pool up and flood your landscaping, it can seep into the concrete foundations of your home. Over time, and through repeated freeze and thaw cycles, you can begin to see cracks and settling in your home’s structure.

Path of Least Resistance
Water is a lazy element. It will run in the path of least resistance. By giving it a dedicated space to travel, it will flow where you direct it to go. Much like a river changing course to follow a newly eroded path, a French Drain creates that path. 

Most French Drains are created from a sloped trench lined with clay or perforated plastic. The pipe is wrapped in landscaping textiles, typically a non-woven fabric, to prevent debris from clogging the drainage holes. The pipe is then surrounded by various grits and levels of gravel and rock to filter out larger debris. As water flows across the surface, it is absorbed into the piping and diverted to a garden, storm drain, or a dry well. 

What is a dry well? A dry well is a large receptacle that allows the water to flow into and slowly re-disburse into the ground away from the foundation that is in danger of flooding. This is often used for septic systems, where French Drains are common. 

Call Texas Rainmakers today to discuss how a French Drain could help your garden stay healthy, and your help your landscaping budget. 

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