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Old 03-11-2011, 02:45 PM   #1
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


[IMG]file:///C:/Users/ANDREW%7E1.KOE/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot.png[/IMG]Hi Everyone,

(see attached image for a rough sketch of what I am describing)

My house sits on a lot with a gentle and consistent downward slope from back to front. Rainwater runs from my backyard towards the deck and then around the house to a drainbox that drains to the street. The problem is that as the water runs past the deck and towards the drainbox it inevitably cuts a ravine into the yard leaving a mess and an unusable soggy section of grass and mud. I am trying to find the right solution to capture this water and properly direct it to the drainbox before it can ruin my yard.

In the attached image I have drawn my idea of a french drain (in orange) running across the yard to capture rainwater as it approaches the house and channel it to the drainbox. From what I've read it sounds like I may need to use an "open" design, that is leave the stone exposed in order to catch all the water vs. covering it with dirt and grass.

Looking for your guys thoughts... think this could work to stop my problem?


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Last edited by andrewhkoehler; 03-11-2011 at 02:54 PM. Reason: picture
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:46 PM   #2
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


In my 20 years in the paving business I never really had a lot of luck with a French drain. Now. the definition of a "French drain" around here is just a trench of x depth and width filled with clear stone. It was always the last resort we would use if there was nothing else that could be done. That was why I guess that we really didn't use it much. For it to work you need some good positive slope to drain a large volume of water and I would put a 4 inch perforated drainage tile with a sock on it in the trench. I would also build a little berm parallel to your proposed drain line. In fact your entire problem might be just poor grading on the property. You could build a birm first and see if that alone would redirect the water to the catchbasin. Of course it sure wouldn't hurt to put the French drain in and use the excavated material to build the berm. What type of soil do you have on your lot? If you are on clay maybe you should put a 6inch line in. If you are on fairly sandy loam you should be able to grow grass over the drain. Good luck with it. Sometimes with really bad situations I would call this civil engineer I knew, and he would figure out all the flow rates vs area,how much fall I needed and the size of pipe etc. That was always my last resort though because I had to pay him $500 for a little drainage plan.

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Last edited by lucknow; 03-12-2011 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:59 PM   #3
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewhkoehler View Post
[IMG]file:///C:/Users/ANDREW%7E1.KOE/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot.png[/IMG]Hi Everyone,

(see attached image for a rough sketch of what I am describing)

My house sits on a lot with a gentle and consistent downward slope from back to front. Rainwater runs from my backyard towards the deck and then around the house to a drainbox that drains to the street. The problem is that as the water runs past the deck and towards the drainbox it inevitably cuts a ravine into the yard leaving a mess and an unusable soggy section of grass and mud. I am trying to find the right solution to capture this water and properly direct it to the drainbox before it can ruin my yard.

In the attached image I have drawn my idea of a french drain (in orange) running across the yard to capture rainwater as it approaches the house and channel it to the drainbox. From what I've read it sounds like I may need to use an "open" design, that is leave the stone exposed in order to catch all the water vs. covering it with dirt and grass.

Looking for your guys thoughts... think this could work to stop my problem?


You could instead add a few catch basins (drain boxes) along where you plan to grade a swale.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:44 AM   #4
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


lucknow is spot on! You have a problem with surface water and a french drain is the last thing you should consider. I have never understood why homeowners think a french drain is the solution for surface water. And there is always a contractor willing to give him what he wants and take his money.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:22 AM   #5
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


French drains have been commonly use on golf courses for decades to eliminate wet, soft areas because they are proven and unobtrusive.

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Old 03-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #6
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


You may need to regrade the land so there is a swale (a gentle inverse berm) following the route of the French drain you have drawn but further from the deck and house.

A French drain close to the surface (above the frost line) will freeze up and then cease to function in winter.

I question the working of a perforated drain pipe covered with a sock. Should the sock cling to the pipe, only the half inch circles of cloth over the pipe perforations willl admit water and also clog with soil rapidly resulting in greatly retarded water collection by the pipe. Instead I suggest putting down porous cloth in the bare trench or a trench partially filled with gravel, then add more gravel and lay the pipe so the cloth does not touch the pipe.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:13 PM   #7
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


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French drains have been commonly use on golf courses for decades to eliminate wet, soft areas because they are proven and unobtrusive.

Dick
Over the last 20 years I have been associated with the construction of 5 championship golf courses. All of them were built by people who do nothing but golf courses. On each course there was a huge amount of french drains. But never, not once, was a french drain used to deal with surface water.

Excess surface water should be disposed of with grading first, surface inlets and solid pipe second, and collected to a pump third.

The proper use of french drains is to de-water saturated soil where the saturation can't be prevented by some other means.
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:03 PM   #8
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


I think the OP was looking for the minimal solution. I don't think he wants to regrade his entire backyard, which as he says, has a slope from backyard to front. Regrading his entire backyard would obviously be the best solution.

Given that it's not likely possible, I do recommend raising the grade along the foundation, if possible and creating a swale along the the house. Swales are sometimes not possible on small strips of property because they render the area unusable, and in those cases, catch basis are necessary.

I have to take my hat off to those homeowners who are brave enough to buy homes with backyards that slope up, driveways/front yards that slope down towards their homes, or those with in low lying areas near creeks or streams.

For the latter, those people right now in Northern NJ and South Dakota are suffering through flooded basements and they can't even buy flood insurance because they live on a flood plain.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:40 PM   #9
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


The problem I had was after a hard rain, water would stand in the yard. I dug a trench from the lowest spot to an existing drain and installed a drain and piping.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:46 PM   #10
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French drain to stop yard drainage issue?


If the water your talking about is flowing on top of the ground, then your best bet is a small burm to turn the water away from your house. On your map, it looks like the best bet is from the upper right to the lower left. Hopefully the slope of the yard will work with that. However, this will be quite visible, and may not work in your yard. If that is not a problem, and the slope is right, a berm right where you proposed the french drain looks like it would work well.

Like others have said, the french drain is usually used for ground water removal around a house, or to remove water from perpetually wet spots.

If you want some more info, throw up a few pictures of the yadr in question so the people here can get a better idea of the problem and offer a clear solution.

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