French Drain

Old 08-27-17, 08:29 AM
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French Drain

I recently installed a French drain in my back yard. The soil has a heavy amount of clay in it. I put down my 4" corrugated pipe and 2A rock in the trench that slowly grads downhill and ties into the pipe that feeds the gutter water away from the house.

I haven't leveled the yard completely and was waiting to get new top soil. The last rain was two days ago and I have standing water in the low spots. The water in my basement is a little worse than before the ditch was installed. Issues are still there and its been over a week since the project. Here are my thoughts and I hope someone can weigh in and give me some guidance.

My main concern is that the soil I covered the ditch with has clay in it and I've sealed off the top of my drainage ditch with a layer of clay that doesn't allow the water to drain. Should I remove the top layer of clay soil and fill it with more rock or some non-clay soil?

Maybe the ground hasn't settled enough for the French drain do its work. Should I get good top soil, reseed with grass, and wait for things to take their course? I hate to put all that work into the yard and dig it back up in 6-8 months.

Thanks for your help!
Old 08-28-17, 09:54 AM
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Are you seeing water being moved by the new drain?
Old 08-28-17, 12:21 PM
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Are you trying to catch surface water or underground water with your drain? Since you covered your drain with soil I assume you mostly want to intercept water traveling underground. If you wanted to get surface water I'd have clean gravel all the way to the surface so water can easily get through to the drain pipe.

Settling doesn't help so if your drain doesn't work now it won't get better with time. Use a garden hose if needed to confirm that you have your elevations and slopes correct so water will flow where you want.
Old 08-28-17, 04:52 PM
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If you wanted to get surface water I'd have clean gravel all the way to the surface so water can easily get through to the drain pipe.
Unless you want a stone path in your yard you want 3-4" of soil on top of the rock. Even with that on hot periods the grass over the stone will turn brown much faster than the rest of the yard since all the water has been removed.

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