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Old 07-20-2015, 12:52 PM   #1
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French drain trench questions


I have finally come to a solution on my backyard drainage issues. My neighbor has decided to get on board and let me run drain pipe through her back yard. This solution helps us both, as our side yard in-between our houses is soggy all the time in the winter.

Now I have a few questions regarding the trench. I plan to rent a mini-x (CAT 300.9D) with a 10" bucket as I have around 300ft to dig. Not all this trench will be French drain as about 100ft will just be a discharge pipe to a storm drain. I've never used one so hopefully the learning curve isn't too bad.

Should I start at the discharge and work my way back or start at the high end and work towards the discharge?

Also should I use geotex fabric or not for heavy clay soil?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 07-20-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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You need to know the elevations of both ends, because water will not run uphill.

Then figure the grade down to the discharge, and guesstimate a downhill slope to know how deep the needs are everywhere,

And begin wherever is convenient, remembering that you need to have room at the end to move the excavator away, not over the trench. to start filling after the drain pipes are all installed.

Yes filter fabric over the pipes with the drain holes always. Keeps the fine silt out, and there will be silt even in clay soil.

Good for your neighbor in allowing you to dig up her yard, it benefits you both.


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Old 07-21-2015, 09:36 AM   #3
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dont use perforated pipe at all, hence no fabric needed. if it dumps into a storm drain then why would you want perforated drain pipes?

i would work machine from french to storm drain. a 1/8-1/4 bubble on a 4ft level should be plenty for water to run down. you can check the grade before you dig. i always dig a tad deeper than whats needed, pile dirt in the trench in various spots to support pipes at correct pitch, slowly backfill. compacting some on the fill is recommended. its important to backfill and compact evenly so you dont get any dips in the pipe where pitch would be wrong way.

i use Kabota-008 many times, the 12" bucket is preferred if you need to get in the trench for any reason, otherwise the 10" bucket should be ok. just be sure to dbl check for any hazards that may be in the ground, etc. i suspect 300ft with something like a K008 will take you most of the day to dig. i also recommend you pull a rope/line from A to B an offset from bucket center to perhaps 1-2ft away from side of machine, this way as you drive you have a sight-line to follow to make straight trench. if it gets to curvy plastic pipes wont play nice, etc.

Last edited by concrete_joe; 07-21-2015 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:58 AM   #4
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I am putting a french drain in some problem areas, then the discharge will be to the storm drain which will be solid pipe. My initial questions were regarding the french drain portion of the trench.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:57 PM   #5
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so 200ft of french drain? same pitch principle applies. if you use solid pipe then why would you need fabric?
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:31 AM   #6
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An underground pipe for a French drain needs to be perforated. A smooth pipe should have a layer of gravel all the way around inside the fabric covring. Otherwise the fabric will cling to the pipe and only the 3/8 inch diameter patches of fabric directly over the holes in the pipe will conduct water and soon become clogged and no longer conduct water.

Does the existing side yard have any slope? You might simply regrade it to have a proper slope, as a swale with no buried pipe. The low point then has a grille to collect the water into the solid pipe portion of the drain system (not the French drain proper) which begins there.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-25-2015 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:37 AM   #7
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There is plenty of slope across the backyard. About 10" over 60'. However the yard is soggy from the high end to the low end during the winter months. This leads me to believe it is a ground water problem what the table raising during the winter. This is why I'm leaning toward a french drain.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:12 PM   #8
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Before you start digging, make sure there are no utilities underground. You can call "dig safe" and have them confirm it's safe to dig after an inspection.
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