digging a trench to drain water

The Truth about Digging a Trench to Drain Water

Digging a trench to drain water is crucial so that the heavy rains don’t end up backing into your basement or crawl space. Most people aren’t familiar with them all that much, but they know when they stop working.

This article will help you decide if you want a French drain or a trench for your drainage system. Keep reading!

Why You Don’t Use a French Drain Design

Though the French drain is quite popular, they’re not the same as a trench drain. French drains deal with groundwater, and the trench handles heavy rain. You may use both of them, but the French drainage trenches are underground, which is useful when groundwater comes into the foundation or the basement.

What’s a Drainage Trench (Trench Drain)

A drainage ditch is a gutter that collects the rainwater to slow it down and move it away from your home to prevent erosion and flooding. Depending on how much water should be diverted, it’s possible to dig a trench that’s heavy-duty with pipes or a large well.

Sometimes, people use landscape fabric to line the hole they’ve built. Generally, water-permeable landscaping fabric is put in before the washed gravel to protect it and ensure that the water moves freely.

You can lay landscaping fabric to handle excess water and reduce the risk of poor drainage. It works wonders in a rain garden! In general, you cover the hole with the landscape fabric so that water goes through but the silt doesn’t. Then, you bury everything to become drainage ditches, plant grass (or flowers) over it, and get a better drainage system.

How deep should a trench drain be?

digging a drainage trench

For a trench drain, 8 to 2 feet should suffice. However, systems such as those built around foundations or sub-ground living spaces as well as the bases for retaining walls may require more depth.

To allow gravel and pipes to be installed, a french drain must be at least 18 inches in depth. This allows you to protect and modify the pipe in the future.

Poor drainage can result from a narrow trench. Make it as wide as you can.

[For a complete guide on how to dig a trench for drainage, read: Digging A Drainage Trench 101: An Expert’s Guide]

Why Choose a Perforated Drain Pipe

Typically, gravel is used as a base over the landscape fabric liner. Then, you must install the drain pipe. Water goes through the drain, rushing through it to exit. You may choose to use a perforated pipe in your storm drain to let the water soak into the soil.

It’s a good idea to do that if you find no surface water collecting in the yard. You may want to promote healthy plant roots in the garden and can water them directly from the underground pipes.

However, if you do have a lot of surface water, a solid pipe might be best. We can help you decide which one you need when digging a trench!

Digging a trench to Drain Water? Work With Specialty Grading!

Most people don’t have the tools needed to dig their trenches. You need a trench shovel, pick mattock or a walk-behind trencher. We’ve got the right equipment for the job and can even supply the fabric and coarse gravel.

Whether you’re using a dry well to move water from the gutter downspout or something else, we can advise you on the right choice. That way, you know that the drain system works for your needs and prevents water from seeping into the crawlspace or basement.

Please give us a call for more information!

Do you have any questions about the drainage trench? Ask us in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you!

About the Author
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Specialty Grading

We are a family-owned and operated business in different areas of Yavapai County such as Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey, and Chino Valley for over 20 years since 1995. With the help of our certified and licensed excavating and grading contractors, we take pride in providing our customers with efficient services and excellent value.

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