A Beginner’s Guide to Digging a Drainage Trench

August 19, 2021 2:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Proper drainage is a key part of maintaining your yard. Allowing water to collect in any one area can lead to problems with your basement and foundation. But implementing a drainage trench (which is also called a French drain) can ensure that water flows safely away from your home without pooling.

If you’re wondering, “Can I dig a drainage trench myself?” the answer is yes, you can. This article will outline some basics on how to build a trench for yard drainage:

  • Plan your trench: Before you begin, consult with a trenching professional about where you want to build your trench. Be sure to mention where the water is pooling in your yard and where you want to divert it to.
  • Draft a sloping plan: For the water to drain adequately, you’ll need a downward slope of at least 1 inch for every 10 feet of length. You can use a series of strings and stakes to plot out your yard and determine whether you need to create a slope or not. There needs to be enough slope to ensure that the water drains.
  • Dig the trench: See if you can get friends, family or neighbors to help you dig the trench, as it’s a laborious process. Make sure it’s big enough to comfortably fit a drainage pipe. It should be 9 to 12 inches wide and 18 inches deep, sloping away from your home.
  • Line the trench: Once it’s finished, use landscaping fabric to line your trench. This should prevent grass, roots and other plants from sprouting into the trench. Be sure to use water-permeable fabric.
  • Lay down some gravel: Pour a 3-inch layer of gravel onto the landscaping fabric. This will help with drainage, and it serves as a filtration system for any additional water to trickle down into the soil.
  • Put in your drain grate: The water needs a way to get into your drainpipe, and installing a drain grate allows it to enter. The two most common areas to place your drain grate are near a gutter downspout or in a low area of your yard that excessively collects water.
  • Lay your drainpipe: Place your drainpipe on top of the gravel bed you’ve installed, and connect it to the drain grate. You can use either perforated pipe or solid pipe to carry the water, but perforated pipe has the added benefit of evenly distributing water all throughout the pipeline while avoiding a sloppy and overflowing downspout at the end.
  • Put a layer of gravel over the pipe: A nice 3-inch layer of gravel on top of the pipe should protect it and help with additional drainage.
  • Cover the trench: The last step to create your own drainage ditch is to cover the trench. You can use an additional layer of gravel to do this, line it with stones and bricks or put soil on top, giving you the option of growing grass if you want.

Call for underground contracting today

Now that you know how to install a trench in your yard for drainage, you’ll never again ask the question, “Can I dig a drainage trench myself?” For other underground contracting work, give us a call at Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. We’re well-versed in pothole filling and directional drilling in addition to many other services, so call now.

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