3 Ways To Use French Drains To Enhance Your Garden

Gardens that maximize natural resources, such as rainfall, tend to cost less money and require less work than gardens that rely heavily on human supplementation. Heavy rain can erode your yard and destroy your garden while too little rain might mean you have to install a costly irrigation system or water by hand on a daily basis. There are several ways to make the most of the water that falls on your property, but one of the most simple ways to get it where it will be most useful is through the use of french drains.

Modern french drains are most commonly used to keep water away from the foundation of your home. However, they can be used effectively in your garden as well. When designing your garden, you should consider these three uses for french drains.  

Redirect Water From Nonporous Surfaces Into Your Garden

If you have a patio or paved driveway, chances are that it was designed to drain water off of your property and directly into a public storm drain. This is to prevent the area directly surrounding these nonporous surfaces from getting too muddy when rain falls. However, it is usually a better idea to keep that water on your property and redirect it into your garden, instead. 

To install this type of drain, you will probably need to make a cut in the concrete or asphalt of your patio or driveway. The cut should run parallel to the natural flow of water. You will then install a french drain in that cut. If your garden is below the level of the nonporous surface, you can allow your french drain to drain directly into your garden. Otherwise, you may consider digging a rain garden near your patio or driveway. 

Prevent Water From Flooding Delicate Plants 

When designing your garden, you should try to place plants that need the most water at the bottom of slopes and those that need to have relatively dry roots at the top. However, this is not always possible, because sometimes the shade on your property or how you want your garden to look prevents it. If plants that need to remain dry are downhill from plants that need more water, you can use a french drain to prevent water from reaching them while ensuring your more thirsty plants still get the water they need. 

In this case, you should build a french drain directly before your more delicate plants. In some cases, you may build a french drain that circles an entire area of your garden. You should make sure to use a pipe in this type of drain, to promote fast draining, and add a slight slope to the pipe to encourage water to drain immediately to an area that needs it. 

Slow Erosion and Maximize Soil Absorption

If your property has a steep slope, you may be worried about soil erosion. Building tiers or swells into your garden can prevent erosion and slow water as it passes through your property. However, if you have a serious erosion problem, you should consider adding a basic french drain. 

These drains should be installed perpendicular to the flow of water and stretch across your entire garden. They should be wider than usual, at least a foot wide, and they should be filled to the top with gravel as opposed to covering them with soil. You do not need to install pipes in these drains, as their main purpose is to get fast flowing water beneath ground where it can slowly penetrate the lower levels of your soil. 

A few well-placed french drains can save time and money when it comes to watering your garden. They can also add to the overall health of your garden and allow you to grow a greater variety of plants. For more information on french drains, visit a site like http://www.permadrywaterproofing.com/.