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Category: Irrigation System

French Drain

French Drain
French Drain Installation

If you suffer from poor lawn drainage, then perhaps your yard needs a French Drain.  We will discuss what a french drain is and how to install one. If at the end of this you find it too difficult then Tyler Sprinkler will be more than happy to rid your yard of water with one of these awesome french drains.   

What is it?

Before going into any detail about the planning and construction of a French drain system, there should be a definition of what a French drain system is. A French drain once installed will be on a downward sloping ditch.  The ditch is filled with rocks or gravel and a PVC pipe that channels water from a location where you don’t want it to go anywhere else.

The drain includes:

  • A 12-inch long trench and 18-inch to 24-inch deep trench.
  • A rubber drainpipe perforated 4 inches in diameter.
  • Drainage gravel cleaned.
  • The porous structure of the landscape.

There are websites that provide a calculator to help you determine how much gravel should be used in your local drain. To collect the extra water, the drainpipe is needed. In order to prevent silt and roots from entering the drainpipe, the landscape fabric is present.

Planning a French drain 

Although it’s not a difficult undertaking to create a French drain, you need to plan the project before you begin.

The first thing you need to do is consult with local authorities and find out if you need a permit on your property to carry out excavation work. Ask the local utility company to send a representative on your property to identify the path of their facilities.

Tyler Drainage System

First, identify the best spot for the drain. 

The idea of a French drain is to trap and funnel the excess water at a high point. And find an area that fits this topography in your lawn. Experts say the drain needs a 1% downward slope.

Some calculations may have to be done to ensure that a 1 percent slope is the position you pick. Use two wooden stakes, a line level, and twine, you can employ a surveyor to verify this or you can do it yourself and conduct the calculation as follows: 

  • 1. Drive one stake into your lawn and tie it to the top end of the drain.
  • 2. Place a stake where the drain’s bottom end will be and attach the string to it loosely.
  • 3. Use the string level to scale it. To achieve the correct level, change the string as needed. Once the level is reached, firmly tie the thread.

4. Measure the pendulum. For every 100 feet of its length, the drain must slope one foot. When set, push the string the correct amount on the slower stake and then act as a reference to the correct level.

Experts who have constructed these ditches advise you to also consider placing the trench along the edge of your property where it would be fairly easy to dig. Make sure the trench route does not run through a lawn area frequently used by family members or where it may affect a planned home improvement.

Building with gravel the French drain system French Drain.

French gravel drain.  Then comes the project’s most challenging aspect–constructing the drain. A gap should certainly be dug. Using a shovel, you can dig it yourself; lease a trenching tool that is a walk-behind trenching device that can be used to cut up to 18-inch deep and24-inch long, or you can employ a backhoe and operator that can easily dig a deep and wide trench. It costs between $125 to $200 a day to lease a trenching machine. Backhoe and driver recruitment costs range from $300 to $1,500.

Here are the drain building instructions:· 

  • Dig the trench.
  • Fill the trench to the surface of the landscape. The fabric must be sufficiently large to stretch on both sides beyond the edge of the trench around one foot. Pin the extra fabric temporarily in place with nails or pins of landscape material.
  • Pour into the trench two to three inches of gravel.
  • Lay the drain pipe facing down the drain holes.
  • Fill the drainpipe up to the top of the trench with dirt.
  • Fold the extra gravel fabric in the landscape.
  • Spread the soil over the cloth and spread the seeds of grass or sod.

Winterize Sprinkler System

If you’re a homeowner like me, you’ve probably heard that your irrigation system, including your backflow device, is a good idea to winter up. But what does that mean exactly? And how much is it necessary?  I always weigh the needed aspect as someone that likes to do it themselves on a tight budget. The answer depends, of course, on who you ask, and more importantly, where you live.

When you live in an environment where temperatures regularly fall below freezing during the winter months, taking steps to winter your irrigation system can help prevent pollution of your water supply and avoid expensive bills of repair from a burst pipe.

Winterize Sprinkler System-what is it?

Winterization can mean many things when it comes to your irrigation system:

  •  Turning off your automatic sprinklers
  •  Turning off your internal water supply 
  • Insulating your backflow prevention
  •  Blowing out your irrigation system 

Here in Texas, we generally only have to think about the first two items. But if you live in the Northeast, all four topics will be discussed.

What’s a blow-out?

The blow-out method uses an air compressor in your irrigation system to simply “blow out” any residual water. Failure to do so could freeze any remaining water in your system and cause burst pipes. Even if you can ruin your own irrigation system, I wouldn’t suggest it. If your compressor does not blast all the water out, and if you use too much or too little energy, you are at risk of damaging your system. Contact Conroe Sprinkler or your company to do a backflow check. Then see what they are suggesting you to do to Winterize Sprinkler System. Most sell a winterization package that includes a blow-out that is much cheaper than costly repairs in the end.

How do you do it yourself?

If you don’t have to blow your system, you’re likely to be able to do everything else on your own. Many automatic sprinkler systems have a switch that can be turned off easily. You should have access to your existing water supply, irrespective of whether it is above or below ground. It is a few feet below ground and is a little difficult to reach, so I’m using a lever to help turn the main valve off.

If your system is above ground to prevent backflow, it is probably a good idea to isolate it. At home improvement stores or online, there are many options available. Most of them look like isolated pillows or sleeves you can just slide across the unit.

If unsure when to winterize, inquire around. I asked my neighbors during my first year as a homeowner. All of them seemed to do it around the same time, so I kept using it as a thumb rule. When your winter cycle is shut down, you can comfortably relax and you won’t have to think about your sprinkler system until the fall. It gives you the opportunity to work inside the house on projects, which is a completely different kind of fun!

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