Install your own Catch Basin and French Drain

1. If you’re thinking about installing a French drain and catch basin system, you probably have experienced flooding around your house like we did. Congratulations! Identifying the location of your flooding is the first step. This is likely happening around a downspout.

2. You’ll want to plan the drain direction down slope from where the downspout is. You can use the Kent County’s online mapping system to find where the true slope on your property is. You can search for your address and turn on the contour layer that shows elevations. We’re glad we looked this up because we had originally planned to build it in the other direction up slope. This would have just send the water out to head back towards the house.

3. Before you head to the store to get supplies, decide how far you want your trench drain to go. We decided to go 20 feet out from the house because of the amount of rain we expect from the surface area that drains into the gutters.

4. We were originally going to buy materials for a DIY French Drain. After looking up a lot of different systems, we decided to save time and purchase NDS prefabricated French drain. If you go with this method of installation, you’ll need a catch basin, a connector if extending more than 10 feet, and a cap for the end of the pipe.

5. If you read my article in the happenings newsletter. You know that I had already dug up the channel for the drain. We did have to make a few tactical adjustments afterwards. I recommend waiting until you have a plan to dig your trench, instead of in a rain ridden fury. You’ll want to dig your channel in a downslope direction. The ditch will need to be about 12 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep. We increased the depth as we dug further from the house.

6. Ryan prepared the catch basin by drilling a few holes in the bottom of the basin. By doing this, he made sure that there would not be standing water for pesky mosquitos to breed in. Then he prepared the downspout location for catch basin by adding rocks to help stabilize and level the catch basin to the ground.

7. The prefabricated French drain comes with a mesh around the outside to prevent dirt from entering the drain and clogging the pipe. The connector did not have anything like this. I improvised, we used scrap fleece fabric and handy zip ties to keep the pipe clear from dirt.

8. We connected the catch basin to the French drain and used a level to make sure we were sloping down. Then we filled it in with soil and planted a few deep rooted native plants. Voila!


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