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French Drain Install Question

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ccondie, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. ccondie

    ccondie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 127

    Hello, I have been asked to install a french drain for a customer that has a low spot in there yard where water just sits and turns into a swamp. This is all caused by a sump pump that dumps into that general area. The area is about 25 - 30'L x 15- 20'W. Can any of you please explain to me what i would need to do to get this water diverted so that it will be more spread out so that the area will dry out. Any pictures would help. I know i will need to dig out the area and put a gravel bed down along with the plastic grain pipe. But how long do i need to make this so that it can dispurse with out leaving water sitting somewhere else?

    Thanks Chris
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The area doesn't seem large enough to go through all that work. I would consider renting a sod cutter, bring in a sandy loam and put the sod back down.

    If it is too deep a depression, perhaps digging straight down and inserting a 4" pipe with a drain cover in stone and a flower pot on top.
  3. ccondie

    ccondie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 127

    Yeah i dunno about the sod cutter idea. but thanks. I will post some pictures this week when i go over there so you can see what iam talking about. thanks though.
  4. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    The water might not be draining because of impermeable soil at the surface. This soil could be quite deep. It would be a good idea to do an infiltration test first. Try digging a hole with a post hole digger, 2-3' deep. Fill with water and see how long it takes to drain. If it is sitting there all day a french drain won't help.

    If the wet area is the lowest spot of that yard as well as the surrounding yards they might have to live with it.
  5. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,695

    A lot of this will boil down to your experience with the terrain. I f its just a surface depression that is holding water on the top of an otherwise suitably draining lawn, the French drain may work well. If its a sump pump continually draining a swampy yard near the house, it might not work so well. What I do, when the situation warrants is to first call miss utility, or your state's equivalent, to locate any utilities that may be in the area in question, after they have marked any underground utilities, then proceed as follows: I use an ASV RC30 with a 24 inch auger, and drill down about 3-4'(you can use whatever you want, have or can rent to accomplish the same result) (whatever the height of the plastic sump pits that the closest builder's supply store sells). Place the plastic sump pit in the hole, and backfill it partially to hold it in place so that the lid will be 6-12 inches below the surface. Either bury the sump line , and cut into the side of the pit, or preferably, let the sump line sit on the surface, and cut a 4" ADS drain line into the side of the pit, and set it up with a surface drain right next to the discharge of the sump pump. This setup will let you and your customer see what is happening as the sump drains into the pit. Of course fill the pit with clean wash gravel. put the lid on and cover up. If it solves the problem, fine. If it never empties, and keeps flooding out you have other problems that may require re-grading the surface.
  6. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    is the much simpler thing to do is get rid of the problem that is causing the water. You said its all from the sump pump....any possibility of redirecting it, then you avoid tearing out he yard and everything else.

    If its a possibility it would be MUCH easier.
  7. golfguy

    golfguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    Bingo LB1234. Connect directly to the sump line and extend it off the property. Once complete, lift the sod, level the hole and put the sod back down.
  8. Lawncop26

    Lawncop26 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Try googling National Drainage Products, good ideas at reasonable prices, their systems blend in and look decent.
  9. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    A couple guys have danced around the central issue, but no one has stated it directly. Can you reasonably run a line from the wet area to daylight? In other words (used by someone else in a different post) is the wet area the absolute lowest point in the landscape, or is it a depression? If it is a depression, a French drain will resolve the issue effectively and efficiently. The deep sump is another do-able plan. If there is a potential downhill run from the swamp to daylight, cut a trench a couple feet deep. put a 4 inch perforated pipe in the bottom, and fill with gravel. A true French drain would be gravel, uncovered all the way to grade. The Americanized version is gravel to within 6 or 8 inches of grade, then topsoil to grade. This works best with the gravel topped with landscape fabric before the topsoil is added. If your swamp is the absolute lowest point in the landscape, try the deep drilled gravel pit mentioned a post or two earlier.

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