Grading lawn French drain installation

Published on August 4th, 2017 | by Henri

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Draining a wet back yard

Our back yard is constantly wet. One landscaper recommended a dry well to remove the surface water. The other said French drains should solve the problem. The ground is made of clay. What would you suggest. We are talking about half an acre.

A. I assume that your back yard is flat since water does not drain.

For a drywell to work, your back yard would have to be sloped to the drywell, and the drywell would only work until it gets fully silted. That’s not the best answer.

A French drain would be a better solution, but it needs to be at the lowest point of the yard, so you would need to do some regrading to obtain drainage. Where to build the French drain should be determined on site. It may be that it should be built half way between the house and the end lot line to minimize the amount of grading needed for effective drainage.

It will require an outlet to the front or the back of the house. Is there enough change in the grade between the front and the back of your land to allow for the French drain to daylight near the street or is there a ditch or a drop in grade at the far end of your property to do so?

A French drain without an outlet is no longer a French drain and the trench would only store water until the soil can absorb it. That could work if it were a large and deep trench filled with egg-sized stones or larger similar to those installed for a septic absorption field.

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