Prep Your French Drain Trench

Once you cut the sod off, and you want the sod cutter to be set at the deepest notch so you have a nice thick piece of turf and all its root, then you go ahead and you can start digging. I know that homeowners do a lot of hand dig for DIY. It’s super easy to do hand dig in the spring. That’s when the soil is saturated and clay just cuts like butter. So I really recommend a hand dig in the spring. Once you have your trench, then you have to go ahead and now line it with your non-woven geo-textile filter fabric.

Notice how we take the fabric pins and we pin the fabric back. That’s so when you dump the stone in with your wheelbarrow, it doesn’t pull the fabric down to the bottom of the trench. Because that is exactly what will happen. So you go ahead and take your fabric staples, just punch them right through. The guys got a technique where they just kind of do a quick strike and they go right through the four ounce especially. The eight ounce is a little heavier, so you’re going to have to work at that. So this is how you prep your trench. Now, remember how we do things. We’re going to put the French drain pipe at the bottom. That means it goes in before the stone. And if you have a sprinkler system, you want your French drain pipe underneath the sprinkler lines. So when you pull it, you want to pull it under all your sprinkler lines.

Pick the Best French Drain Pipe

All right, your next step, you want to pick a really good yard drain pipe. And there’s only one purpose-built yard drain pipe out there. And it happens to be the High Octane. It is the blue pipe. It has more inlet than any other pipe in the world, and it’s the strongest single wall corrugated pipe in the world. High Octane was purpose-built just for yard drains and French drains. So you want to make sure that you use the very best pipe out there after you’ve spent all that time digging out all that clay. You want to make sure that you benefit from all that sweat equity that you put into your yard drain projects.

Purchase High Octane Products Here

So we want to use the yard drain pipe that Baughman Tile Company makes, the High Octane. We want to put that at the bottom. Now, remember this is stronger than Schedule 40 PVC pipe, and I’m going to prove it.

As far as for your yard drain, make sure you use the right pipe, a pipe that’s easy to work with, user-friendly, tons of flexibility. You don’t have to wait for glue to dry, you literally just snap all the fittings together. You use a tile tape to make sure that, in the freeze and thaw in Northern Michigan, if the ground moves and shifts around new construction in the South, that nothing comes apart.

You’re Ready to Install Your Drainage System

All right, so now I want to show you how you go ahead and install the High Octane because you want to put this right on the fabric. You want this to be laying right on the fabric.

You’re going to have a better yard drain if you have more of the High Octane in the trench. So the guys are taking the fabric pins, and they’re going ahead and stapling the fabric back so that they can get all the High Octane in. Now, this particular drain had five pipes in it. And all you have to do is just run them and put an end plug in the end. You can see where they just end, and there’s like an end plug there. That’s it. So you don’t want stone to fill the pipe, but what happens with High Octane, because it has 17 and a quarter square inches of inlet per linear foot, is the water just goes right through the top pipes, into the bottom pipes, and you only need to connect one of the bottom pipes, to the storm drain or run it as your discharge to whatever your system requires.

But that’s how you use this pipe. This pipe is unique. This pipe is indestructible.

Add High Quality Stone like Round Rock

So this has been prepped and ready for stone. That would be the next step. You got your pipe at the bottom. Why do you want your pipe on the bottom? So that you drain all the water out of your system.

When people tell you, “Oh, put three, four inches of stone down, then put down your yard drain pipe,” that’s bad information, and I’ll tell you why. Because you’re not going to get the water that’s laying in that stone that’s three inches underneath the yard drain pipe. You’re not going to get that out of the trench. So the trees and shrubs in the yard and landscape, they sniff that water out and the roots fill your yard drain. And now it has an expiration date. So that’s why you want your pipe on the bottom of the trench. And that’s how you start your yard drain pipe. Now, you can put bricks, blocks, I don’t care what, on this pipe to keep it down when you’re putting in the stone. That’s definitely something that you have to be careful. You’ll go to dump the stone in and it’ll push the pipe aside and the stone will go up underneath the pipe and you don’t want that. So have somebody stand on the pipe, put cinder blocks on a pipe, whatever you want.

Here we have this monster inlet. Look at the monster inlets on this yard drain pipe that Baughman Tile Company built. It’s called the High Octane. This pipe moves water faster than any other pipe in the world, and it’s the strongest single wall pipe in the world. Now, I get asked all the time what stone to use with this pipe. So I like to use a really big stone. The reason why you put big stone with this, the bigger the stones, the bigger the voids, because you want to feed this pipe. You want to be able to move that water as fast as you can. If you evacuate the water quicker, then you get less soil saturation to your yard. And keep in mind, this French drain system, it works, believe it or not, 24/7, 365 days out of the year.

What’s Better? .. A Yard Drain or French Drain?

People always ask me, “What would you recommend a yard drain or a French drain?” Well, that depends a yard drain just catches surface water in yard drain catch basins. That’s all it does. A French drain, well, that’s a different story. It’s pulling water from the subsurface. It is pulling water 365 days out of the year from your soil in your yard, so that your dog and your children and you can enjoy this yard. You’re not running around in that sloppy mess. If you’re watching this, you need a French drain, I’m sure. If you’re muddy, soft, squishy, yard drain, all that’s going to do is get rid of those puddles. It’s just going to take standing water away. That is it. But use big stone. Nice inch and a half round rock, and make sure it’s round rock. Search long and hard for round rock. If you can’t find any round rock, well then, inch and a half in crushed, but make sure it’s screened. No fines in it.

Blind Inlets

I want to show you guys what a blind inlet looks like. Now, this is a traditional blind inlet, guys. So we have the High Octane running, two parallel pipes, the Baughman High Octane, the royal blue. Giant windows. Now, you don’t have to run pipe up into a pothole in the yard. If you have a big enough system and you can move all the water, you just have to dig out some of that poor percolating soil, get into that pothole, and just fill that with stone. The water will run through the stone, into the pipes, and out through your discharge. That’s a traditional blind inlet. We’ve, of course, made some changes. On top of the stone, we’ll actually wrap the stone and then we’ll put a plastic grate so that you can blow the leaves off. It’s actually kind of known as a trash rack.

That way you’re not filling the stone full of garbage. And this blind inlet that’ll have stone, this’ll be the same stone as the stone we’re going to put in the French drain, keep that stone free of as much debris as possible so that your flow rate stays up for years and years to come. We get a lot of questions about blind inlets. Today is really muddy. We’ve had this all night and all day rain. This past weekend was a wet one. So this grass will look great after a couple more rains. Just from walking it in, stomping it in, it’s a bit muddy. So there’s a blind inlet. All right. So bang. Look. Everybody’s asking how we’re doing this. I still want our non-woven, geotextile, double punched, fabric filtering contaminants. So the water is going to go right through this. Yes, it’s going to go through this extremely fast, extremely quick. This takes bulk water. That’s why we do that, for bulk water. There’s another blind inlet. There’s going to be another one over here. The sod’s been all pieced together. Got a blind inlet.

You can see how the grass just goes together like a puzzle. The guys, they kept the sod organized, and this works amazing. When this tree drops its leaves, you have to just hit it with a leaf blower and that’s it. Done. There’s not dead worms, just nasty garbage, having to use your shop vac to suck all that crap out. Look, I’ve been in the field for three decades and I’m telling you, I don’t have that at my house. I wouldn’t deal with it. It’s nasty. These blind inlets are the way to go. Now, we do some systems on the lake. When water comes over to seawall, that’s a little different. And I look forward to showing you that. Just stay tuned.

Burrito Wrap Your French Drain System

When you go to do your burrito wrap on your French drain system, you want to make sure not to overlap. I mean, I’ve seen drains where they do a heavy overlap. The water flows through this filter fabric just fine. The filter fabric always has a gallons per minute rating. This filter fabric here is going to move water. It’s going to move 140 gallons per minute through a square foot of it. So what we want to make sure is that we don’t overlap. Sure, we want to pull them together, we want to keep the dirt out, but we don’t want to have a bunch of extra filter fabric. We’re just overlapping on top of one another, because that is going to create a problem. It actually, that will slow down your drains. So once in awhile, you’re going to have to enter the drain. You’re going to have cable, AT&T, Comcast. Sprinklers too. You got to make way for them. And there’s just really no getting around that. You have to work with that.

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