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French Drain

From standing water in lawns to water intrusion into buildings, we at HighGrove Partners have been helping our clients solve these issues using a variety of secondary drainage systems.

In an ideal world, the engineers who design the grading plans that contractors build would have enough space to direct water away from buildings and outdoor spaces. Still, unfortunately, as sites become tighter, water can become trapped and flow where you don’t want it to.

This is when secondary drainage systems become critically important on your property.

What does code say?

From a developer’s standpoint, if the engineer and grading contractor follow local building codes, he would not need to spend the additional dollars on secondary drainage systems.

Depending on the municipality, the grade outside a building should be six inches below the finish floor. If space allows, the grade should fall an additional six inches in the first ten feet. In this scenario, water would have a hard time getting back up into a structure.

But what happens when the building’s elevation is below the curb elevation? Or a sidewalk traps water from flowing into the landscape?

Downspouts & roof water

One of the most effective ways to move water away from the building and into the landscape or stormwater system is to collect the roof water using gutters and downspouts and directly connect them to a drainage pipe.

The most cost-effective time to do this is at the time of construction when there is no existing landscape to remove or workaround, but it can easily be installed at any time. As with all drainage, it is important to verify the pipe has positive drainage away from the structure.

The french drain

The French Drain is a sub-surface drain that is typically used along the foundation of a building to collect water before saturating the soil and enter a building.

A typical French Drain is constructed by excavating a trench eighteen inches deep by twelve inches wide, lining it with a filter fabric, installing a perforated pipe, and backing filling with drainage gravel. Water will travel through the gravel to the bottom of the trench, start to build up, and once in the pipe, the pipe allows it to flow freely in the direction intended.

The French Drain can also be used in landscape areas — typically lawns — and are referred to as a Tile Drainage. Most golf greens have this system, which is why greens can dry out much faster than the rest of the course.

Area drains

Area drains are structures that collect water from the surface and into a system of pipes.

The size of the drain depends on the area and amount of water entering the system. Typical sizes range from four-inch circle drains to eighteen inch square drains. Properly grading the area around each drain to form a shallow “bowl” with the drain at the bottom ensures that the water will flow to that spot and spill into the drain.

Area drains can be used in lawns and landscape beds. Be sure to use the correct grate for each area: Lawns should have an area drain with a flat grate, while area drains in landscape beds should have an atrium grate.

Channel drains are linear area drains, typically used in hardscape applications, such as sidewalks and entry doors.

Understanding where the water is coming from, proper drain choice for the application, and correct installation of the system, can usually solve any water issues you may have on your property. But sometimes, there is not enough fall or no place for the water to flow, and that is when sump pumps and dry wells are needed, but we can save that for another day.

If you’re having water and drainage issues on your metro-Atlanta property, give our experts at HighGrove a call at (678) 298-0550 or use our simple contact form. We can recommend the secondary drainage system that will be most effective for your unique situation.

Last modified: June 2, 2021

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