If you have a low spot in your lawn or your property slopes down to your house instead of away from it, you may have a drainage problem. Lawn drainage problems can lead to a leaky basement or a spot in your yard where grass, flowers, shrubs or trees will not grow. Installing a French drain will solve the drainage problems in your lawn without forcing you to regrade your yard, and the project can be completed in a few days.
Contact your city utilities to make sure that you will not be digging into buried water, sewer or electrical lines when you dig a trench for your drainage system.
Lay out the course that your French drain will take by pouring baker's flour over the ground where you will place your drain. Since French drains operate on the principle of gravity to move water away from the problem area, your drain should begin in the problem area and end downhill, in an area that can drain water more easily.
Excavate soil for your French drain by digging a trench that is 6 inches wide and 10 inches deep with your shovel.
Place a layer of pea gravel over the bottom of the trench to a depth of 2 inches.
Lay the drain pipe in the trench with the holes facing down.
Cover the drain pipe with another 2 inches of pea gravel.
Fill the trench the rest of the way with angular gravel.
Cover the trench with a layer of dirt from your excavation and lay landscaping sod over this to hide your trench.