Simple french drain question that I cannot find anywhere

Discussion in 'Lawn Care' started by garden_newbie, May 16, 2010.

  1. garden_newbie

    garden_newbie Seedling

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    Hi guys, I haven't been posting much lately as I have been busy in my garden to surprise you guys with pics on all of the work I have done with my first french drain. I have searched and searched every single day to learn everything about building a french drain, watched videos, viewed pics, etc. However all of the sites out there, it just says "let french drain run off to lower level". However none of these sites explain what to do if you do not live on a big hill.

    I dug a hole 2 feet deep at an angle facing downwards, however the land isn't very steep so with the pipe facing at a downward angle, the end of the pipe will just hit a dirt wall. To compensate I dug a hole filled with gravel for the end pipe to let the water run. However when a ton of water comes flowing through, I assume the hole will get filled with water and begin to flow back into my yard to have the same pooling effect as before? I created a quick pic to demonstrate what I mean, please excuse how ugly it is as I totally suck with graphics:

    [​IMG]

    I believe the hole will just pool up and bring the water back. I say this because I ran my waterhose for about a minute without the perforated pipe and all of the water ran down nicely but once it reached the end it began filling up quickly.
     
  2. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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  3. garden_newbie

    garden_newbie Seedling

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    Thanks, yeah I saw that site before and since it used a sump pump I kinda disregarded that info. I am only using a shovel and have little space between fences so I cannot really use anything but a hand augur if I want to create a bucket hole at the end, but as fast as the water fills up when it rains I could dig a 10 foot hole and it still probably wouldn't matter.

    The good news is that I have learned the process I am referring to is called "daylighting" the french drain. I wonder if I can make the end of the tube go upward, would it discharge OK once the tube is filled with water? Kinda like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    G_N, thiis is just ramblings, but I was wondering what type of soil you have and how well it absorbs water? An old house we rented for years (years ago) had a french drain for the washing machine water. Surprisingly it drained well even in the winter and was on the flat (actually the land went up, but the drain was dug slantly slightly down). The soil was loamy. The pourous tiles let the water out into the surrounding soil.

    The only problem was the tiles had to be cleaned every 5-7 years because of lint from the washer accumulating. Should not have that problem with run-off water.

    Our current home has a basement (more of a root cellar) and we have to use a sump pump some years if we get monsoons with repeated weeks of inch a day rains. It is small and moves a lot of water in a short amount of time. It has been handy and I even use it when tackling the fish pond for cleaning.

    Have you thought of a marsh garden at the end to help disperse the water? Like I said just ramblings.
     



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  5. garden_newbie

    garden_newbie Seedling

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    Hi Jewell, thanks for taking the time to reply. The end leads to a little decline in the soil between fences so I cannot really add a garden there. Luckily it is raining this morning so I went outside and took some pics so you guys can see what I have going on:

    http://img339.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=41449452.jpg

    The first pic is my backyard and while digging the trench 2 feet deep, it fills up with water and runs under my fence which is what I want. The second pic is hard to tell what is going on, but that is the other side of my fence where the water is flowing downward. The third pic shows how the drainage the original construction guys created that I want my backyard water to flow to.

    The house on the left has been abandoned for over a year, I have called the city to come and cut all of the weeds but they haven't done it yet. The good news is that the water does flow, however once it stops raining a lot of water remains in the first pic (my back yard). My question is that even though I have pipe at an angle, there is no way for me to "daylight" the end of the pipe so that it is above or level with the ground. If I run the pipe at a downward angle to the spot in the second pic, do you think that would be enough to drain most of the water out so it will be seen above ground in my backyard?
     
  6. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    That is a regular stream. I can see why you are so concerned. Not much room between neighbors so your options are limited. Good luck with your project, it is definitely a challenging one.
     
  7. garden_newbie

    garden_newbie Seedling

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    That was just a regular small rainstorm, you should see how it looks when it is REALLY raining, it is scary.
     
  8. KID

    KID New Seed

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    Did you get an answer on what to do with your french drain?

    Garden_newbie...did you ever get an answer to your question? I'm having the same "issue" and I too have not been able to find anything on what to do.
     
  9. garden_newbie

    garden_newbie Seedling

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    reply

    Darn I used the quick reply and it was removed due to an error. Webmaster you may want to use an if statement to remove the subject error message when using the quick reply. Well my long message was lost, so here is a shorter version of what I said... Instead of modifying my french drain output I just greatly reduced where the water flowed into my yard. I bought some soil to build a little dam but the water washed it away and it seems that home improvement stores only carry this type of potting soil. So I bought some more of this soil along with sod and made the part where the water was rushing in a few inches higher. The sod kept the soil from washing away, and I also used edging along the fence to direct the water down the side of my house and onto the street like it is supposed to. Do not do this during April showers as the rain is really strong.

    Wait until the showers go away and that will give the sod a chance to grow longer roots to hold things together. The cool thing is that it looks like I never touched it, all you see is grass there and the problem is solved.
     
  10. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Your solution may be okay where you live, but we cannot make a dam where we live to obstruct the natural water way of an area, that being said...in a development there is probably no natural waterway left from the original topography. A french drain only will work if there is somewhere for the water to drain to. Most likely the best solution is to pay someone to put a tile and drain in and tie it into the storm drain if possible.
     
  11. gkwilsongardens

    gkwilsongardens New Seed

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    The French drain system you have just explained ideally could do with a perforated pipe and being run into a surface water drain also line the trench with membrane to prevent the stone silting up!!Also French drains are next to useless on clay soils!!
     

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