whats difference between trench and french drains..

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by woodlawnservice, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    I keep reading about trench drains... basically dig a trench 24" deep, 18" wide, compact bottom, add 4" of clean rock, lay pipe, cover remaining depthwith clean rock, then cover with 2-4" of soil and.or sod...this sounds basically like a French drain??? I got a call today to do an estimate in a neighborhood where this lady's house is below grade of all her neighbors... house is below grade of street as well... her Downspouts, neighbors on both sides all drain down to beside her house into back yard causing a river so she says.... looking for ways to help move this water along so it will quite eroding her back yard and help keep this thing dryer. Its caused her yard to be nothing but weeds over the years and dirt... floods to often for any grass to survive.
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  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,174

    It's a matter of aesthetics. Trench drains collect ground water and carry them to another location and can even be T-ed together and of course empty into a culvert or pond, ditch etc. French drains do the same thing but are often used to move perimeter water from downspouts or finer homes without downspouts. Oftentimes they daylight away from the home or have a settling tank (poly barrel filled with 3" rock) buried for the soil to absorb. Don't trust that!
    A little difference but basically the same. I use 6-8mil plastic in the bottom of trench with good fall and remember that holes of pipe do down. The plastic keeps the soil from absorbing water and carries it quicker. There's another PVC product that has slits that resembles well points that is supposed to work better than the thin wall PVC drainpipe.
     
  3. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    You use corrugated or hard schedule 40 pipe... I've herd of people using both... and how do u feel about covering top 3" of gravel with sod... id like this to be hidden for the customer. Its going down both fence rows on boths sides of her house...
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  4. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,541

    The difference is all in the pipe... You use perforated pipe in a French drain to catch water (the corrugated pipe with the slits)

    The trench drain uses what we call leech field pipe. We use 4in corrugated (although they make sch 40 pvc) with half inch round holes all in it. It's job to release the water.. The only time you see those around here is on septic systems.

    If I were you I'd try to see if I could get a swale cut in because it sounds more like you've got water running across the ground than in the ground..
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  5. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    Yes its def across rhw ground but that's what the client wants to eliminate. Its eroding her privacy fence out and few raised beds she has... id like to capture the water at very minimum from her Downspouts and direct them to back of property...if I could capture her neighbors as well I'm sure this would fix the whole issue... BTW she had foundation problem and just had to get her whole house jacked up.... I'm assumming possibly because of the water???
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  6. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    [I know a swale would fix or help the issue but it wouldnt be very eye appealing... so to speak... how to u thibk this would work... run two trench drains parallel to each side of house the full length from front of house to end.of property...tie the downspouts into them as well and daylight them at back of property... fill trench with was stone, pipe, and fabric, and would it still capture the water if i sodded over the top of it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  7. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,541

    I'd install a French drain... Trench drains don't catch water.

    But yes, it would capture some water.
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  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Where is the Lowest Point in the yard???

    I've always thought od a French Drain as having a collection point,,, and a Trench Drain functioning similar to a septic drainfield...
     
  9. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    Lowest point is in back yard right in the middle... the whole property slopes towards the back.. no water puddles up so to speak. It funnels down sides of house then to middle of back yard... her neighbors Downspouts points towards her house and so does the terrain so she catches all there water as well... its not that it hold water its that its a river as she describes it to me...
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  10. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,541

    It's gonna be hard to catch a river of water in a French drain. I understand your reasoning for wanting to run the downspouts in pipe but I don't think a French drain is gonna solve your problem here. It sounds like you need a swale.

    Also. You can make a swale aesthetically pleasing if you do it right.
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