When water pools and collects it can threaten buildings, landscapes, and create many drainage dilemmas. A properly installed French drain may be the answer. In some cases a modest drain can be installed with hand tools, but when bigger drains are needed it would be more efficient to use equipment such as a compact excavator. Once you have determined your drainage needs, and figured out the drain size needed. Check for potential obstacles underground (also call 811 before you dig hotline to find out if any underground utilities lie in the planned path of your drain). Estimate the materials needed such as drainage pipe, crushed stone, and landscape fabric. Don't forget connectors if needed as well as seed, and straw, or sod if you are trenching through a lawn. Set up a laser transmitter to measure depth and slope.
Dig entire trench. Stop periodically to check your depth and slope or place a laser transmitter on the arm of the excavator. Level bottom of drain and roll out landscape fabric.
After the fabric is in place add approximately 2 inches of stone evenly on top of the fabric along the base of the trench. Cap the beginning of the system. Lay the drain pipe. Fill the trench with stone keeping the pipe in the center of the ditch. Keep adding stone until you have filled the ditch to within 4 inches of the top.
Fold the landscape fabric over the top. This helps keep soil from mixing into the stone and eventually clogging the drain. Backfill the trench with topsoil soil, and allow the materials to settle reestablishing the previous grade. The French drain can then be covered with Turf, mulch, or previous materials making it virtually invisible.
If you have a wet basement, or water pooling and collecting in unwanted areas you may be able to fix your water problems once and for all by installing a French drain. One final note: the French drain did not originate in France, but was invented by Henry Flagg French who lived in Concord, Massachusetts.