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The Best French Drain System You Can Get

July 5, 2021

When choosing what materials, combinations and layout of a French Drainage system you can put in, there are endless choices and possibilities. Today we are going to walk you through the best French Drain system you can get, and show you why it is the most effective system you can have installed.

Read more to find out why the best French Drain system you can get uses Baughman tile, double punched filter fabric, and 1 ½’ round rock.

What do French Drains do?

French Drains are a trench, that have a drainage pipe at the bottom, and is backfilled with rock or soil. The trench’s job is to absorbs surface water and subsurface groundwater, and make it disappear to a designated area. They are a great landscaping solution for homeowners having drainage issues and excess water in the backyard.

How French Drains are typically installed.

A basic French Drain is installed by digging a trench, putting a French Drain pipe in the trench, and backfilling it with excavated soil. A system like this will last 2-24 months, and will cost around $5,000-$7,000. This is a “typical” system that gets put in because it is cheap, can get done without machines, and very little material is used.

The best system you can get

As stated before, there are many different methods and materials that can be used when installing a French Drain. Two components of installing the best system you can get are what materials and method are used, and the layout of your system.

french drain abbotsford

The best French Drain system you can put in 

Drain Materials: 

Drain Pipe

Blue High-Octane Baughman Tile: This Blue pipe was purpose built for the clay soil that the Fraser Valley sees, and was designed specifically for French Drain systems. It is extremely flexible, fast to lay in the trench, and has an excellent crush rating. Due to its 8 massive inlets in every valley, open air exchange can dry out the subsoil much faster than any other option of pipe. Baughman tile is the most durable pipe you can get.

Double punched filter fabric:

The reason fabric is used in the best French Drain system is so that soil will not be able to get into the system and mix with the gravel. Keeping the gravel clean is essential in keeping the void spaces open, which avoids clogging and allows the water to runoff quickly. It also allows air to freely move around which creates an underground drying effect. The double punched filter fabric in this system is tested, and has a high-water flow. This fabric allows water to get into the pipe, and taken to its discharge station. While MOST fabrics claim to have a high flow rate they usually do not, and this can lead to drainage problems. Most contractors that have had a bad experience with fabric will tell you not to use any because it will plug up. The facts are: using tested, DOUBLE punch filter fabric will not plug up, and will allow over 100 gal/Min/sqft to pass through it, even in heavy clay situations.

1 ½’ Round rock:

When round rock is used to backfill the trench, it allows for greater void space and air movement, creating an underground drying effect. Your system will have an ample amount of void space due to the size of the round rock. This is important, because the greater amount of void space that is in the trench, the better the flow of water, and the quicker your yard will dry. Void space allows both the surface and subsurface of your yard to dry out quickly by allowing air movement in the trench. Once the water gets into the pipe, it goes through the round rock, and can move freely to the discharge station.

Top soil:

Top soil, or high-quality compost, is put on top of the trench. This soil has no clay content, and water is able to pass through it and into the trench quickly. A bonus to this is that Compost retains enough moisture in it to allow the grass in your yard to stay healthy, and healthy grass is a must for a French drain system.


Healthy grass is a step that is often overlooked when it comes to installing a French Drain. Healthy grass roots, plants and vegetation are what help the water pass through the clay soil in your yard and into your system. Without an abundance of roots penetrating deep into the clay soil water will sit on top of the lawn regardless of any system that is put in. The roots from your lawn, and plants play a vital role in allowing this water to follow the roots deep underground and into your French Drain.

Method of installing the best French drain system:

  1. BC1call is called to determine where underground utility lines are.
  2. A private company marks all underground utilities. This is a very important step as you do not want to deal with the headache and cost of someone hitting a utility line.
  3. Any obstacles that will hinder machines from getting into your backyard are taken down, or moved, such as fence panels or bushes.
  4. A discharge location is chosen. This is either by using a city storm drain/stormwater connection, ditch or other location.
  5. The ground and all surrounding areas are protected with a plywood road, limiting the damage to your yard.
  6. A sloped trench is dug with an excavator 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide. The trench is sloped so once the system is installed it can help the pipe do its job by bringing water to the discharge station.
  7. The excavated soil is hauled away in a dump truck and disposed of.
  8. Double punched filter fabric is placed in the trench, lining the bottom and the sides.
  9. Baughman tile is put on the bottom of the trench, and 1 ½’ round rock is placed on top of the tile.
  10. The filter fabric is “burrito” wrapped around the entire system, and pinned together.
  11. Top soil is placed on top of the trench.
  12. The top soil is either seeded, or sod laid on top.
  13. The plywood roads are taken away, and the grass is raked.
  14. The road and all areas that were used during installation are swept and cleaned.


The layout of the pipe is important because the pipe that is in the ground absorbs surface and subsurface groundwater, and makes it disappear to the designated area. The more water that gets into your system, the dryer your yard will be. This means that the more pipe that is placed in your yard, the better the drainage system. The best layout is different for each yard and space. An example of a great layout for a yard can be seen below. This layout will allow the water more opportunities to get into the pipe, and away from your yard.

french drain abbotsford

Price of this system:
$13,000-$17,000+ depending on linear feet of pipe that is getting installed.

Using these methods and materials, this system will last centuries, giving you a lawn, you and your family can enjoy for generations to come. This system is for people who really want to solve their water issues, and do not want to replace their system in the future.

Want to learn more about French Drains? Check out our recent article: Got Excessive Yard Water? Here's the Top Ten French Drain Problems. 

Commerical & residential hardscape landscaping, excavation, drainage and lawn renovation services. Service areas include Abbotsford, BC and throughout the Fraser Valley.

Owner operated, fully licensed & bonded in British Columbia, Canada.

30353 Sunset Cres.
Abbotsford, BC

Owners: Sam and Natasha Maerz

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