Anyone no anything about French Drains?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Zachary McCollum, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Zachary McCollum

    Zachary McCollum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks I'll check it out!

    Zachary McCollum
  2. Zachary McCollum

    Zachary McCollum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks Sprinkus!

    Zachary McCollum
  3. fireman1173005

    fireman1173005 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

  4. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    About 75% of landscapers are rookies when it comes to whether French drains should be installed. Note that I'm not even saying "rookies" about the installation, but the emphasis is on the "whether" part.

    I continually tweak a Portland drainage page that tries to convey a few aspects about this stuff in case home owners plan to tackle some on their own, but its surprising how many consultation calls come my way.

    And in many cases, promises can't be made 100%. Because so many things can be hidden from view under the ground. I'd say that compacted surface soil, including sod soil compaction, ranks among the most frequent problem.

  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I have never done a true french drain. I put in collection boxes and run them to the low area where they will drain.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    I agree subsoil compaction (and surface compaction) is generally the most likely cause for problems related to standing water and soggy type soils, assuming there isn't a high or perched water table or mismanaged irrigation.

    I read through your page, and I am in general agreement with most of what you said, with one notable exception .... your micro drainage of lawns. While this might work to some extent, it changes the soil conditions drastically in these channels. This will have a major impact on irrigation management, and IMO what you effectively have done is created a new problem with water logging.

    You also might want to add a section on bioswales.
  7. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    This is what i have been saying for years Chief.

    Saturated lawns are often miss-diagnosed and mitigated by reducing system run times.

    French drains and other methods of water conveyance are a waste of time and resources until the source has been identified.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Being a low spot in the summer with the typical irrigation, like that yard, I could hardly even see them three years later, even though they were there. That was during a warm season pruning.

    But they still worked good from what I heard.

    And that solution does not fit every yard.

    That tip may get culled from the page at some point, because the average person may not implement the idea in the right yard in the right fashion.

  9. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    All depends upon why the area is flooding in the first place.
    Without site specific data there is no conceivable answer available.
    Personally I would recommend you contact a Civil Engineer to inspect the site then determine how comfortable you are following their advice.
    The link provided discussing drain tips is generally accurate however I disagree with any sort of filter device/fabric covering the drain pipe. Proper backfill material and the provision for access points along the drain pathway allow for routine maintenance which eliminate drain blinding common to filter/wrapped piping.
    Same with intake basin location/necessity. Site condition(s) dictate specific recommendations with resultant design criteria.
  10. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Bump to say that I'm glad drainage knowledge does not slip-away from memory easily.

    Because this was a very slow winter ... almost no drainage work due to the lack of rain on the west coast.

    Rain is picking up speed with a vengeance though lately. Maybe we will hear from a few folks about wet yards now.


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