Water runs downhill. That basic fact accounts for most of the reasons why an otherwise pristine yard may flood or become contaminated. Good drainage will redirect water so that it does not gather in a single location. This ensures a longer, healthier lifespan for the grass and vegetation on your property.

A French drain is one way to gather and carry water from one location to another. A ditch runs from the area where water tends to pool and is filled with rocks and a perforated pipe. The pipe slopes gradually downward as it moves away from the pooling location, helping to redirect the accumulated water.

French drains can vary greatly in complexity, as each property has a unique set of circumstances. Some may be simple pipe runs designed to move water away from a low-lying or moisture-prone basement, or they may be sophisticated catchment systems designed to collect rainwater. Regardless of the project, it is always best to call a licensed landscaper to install a French drain.





french drain installation sacramento


Yard – Soggy yards are a sign of bad or ineffective drainage. Hilly yards with shallow dells are especially prone to flooding, which can kill grass. A washed-out driveway is another sign of improper draining, as it indicates rainwater has nowhere to go. Over time this will erode the pavement and flood the vegetation around it.

Retaining Wall – If your property has a retaining wall on a hill or if you are planning to build one, you will most likely need a French drain. A retaining wall dams up soil but not the water flowing through it. This causes water to flood around the base of the wall.

Crawl Space – If the crawl space beneath your home collects a lot of water, or if the existing drainage system cannot keep up with the overflow, then you may need a French drain. Standing water in a crawl space is a serious problem that can lead to mold, wood rot, pests, and higher energy bills from having to heat or cool damp air.


01. Assessment – Every French drain installation begins with an assessment and estimate. This is when we survey the property, analyze the drainage problems, and propose a solution. Property owners can take this time to ask questions, learn about the process, and make special requests for the design of the drain.

02. Excavation – We will begin by excavating a trench. This is a simple process of digging out a space for the pipe. It may run the perimeter of the property or just from a small area where water is pooling.

03. Installation – To install the drainage system we first lay down a bed of gravel in the trench. Perforated piping is installed along the length of the bed, and an inlet grate is placed at the lowest point in the yard, or wherever the most water is pooling.

04. Backfilling – Finally, we fill in the trench, covering the pipe and drainage system with either gravel or grass sod. Either way, the trench can be landscaped seamlessly into the surrounding property.

trench excavation
soggy lawn


Neglected drains will fall into disrepair. You will need to occasionally flush the system to clear it of any dirt or debris that has built up. This involves running a hose to the inlet grate or cleanout and running water through it. The entire system will also need to be periodically inspected for root intrusion, and for the outlet to be cleared of debris and buildup.

Some signs of a faulty French drain are easily recognizable. If the drain originates in a crawl space or basement, then excessive moisture in that area may be a sign of a problem. It may also be that the system is not designed to handle the amount of water it is receiving, in which case the catchment area or the size of the pipes will need to be reassessed.

In any case, you should call a licensed landscaper to repair the system. With so many variables and conditions that are unique to each property, it is critical that an expert with the right knowledge and skill set is available to assess the problem and recommend a solution.