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How to Add Drainage to a Yard

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Corrugated drain pipe is used in a French drain.

A poorly drained yard can be a problem on several levels. At the surface, standing water can kill your grass. But standing water can also drain back into your basement, causing leaks and water damage to the inside of your home. One simple solution is to add a French drain to your yard. Although installing a French drain can be quite labor intensive, it is a project that can be completed by one person in just a few days.

Dig a trench for your French drain. A French drain trench should be 6 inches wide by 24 inches deep, with steep and sloping sides. The drain should slope away from parts of your yard that retain water, downhill into a drainage ditch or a sewer opening.

Fill the bottom of your trench to a depth of 3 inches with 1-inch gravel.

Select corrugated, perforated drain pipe from a hardware or home improvement store for your French drain.

Snap the ends of the drain-pipe segments together and slip them into a drain pipe sleeve. The water-permeable sleeve will prevent dirt from filling your drain pipe and clogging the drain.

Lay the drain pipe on top of the gravel bed in the bottom of your trench.

Cover the drain pipe with a 6-inch layer of 1-inch gravel.

Layer coarse sand in a 7-inch layer over the top of the gravel.

Fill the remaining 6-inch space at the top of the trench with fine topsoil.

To disguise where you added drainage, cover the trench with a layer of sod.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Gravel, 1-inch
  • French drain pipe
  • Drain-pipe sleeve
  • Coarse sand
  • Fine topsoil
  • Sod

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.