Putting a pathway over a French drain?


Old 06-03-05, 04:27 AM
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Putting a pathway over a French drain?

Does anyone have any experience putting a French drain under a path of concrete pavers so that the substrate under the path will stay dry and stable?

Thank you,

Penn White
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Old 06-09-05, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
French drains usually require a width of 5-6" and a depth of 10-12" and this pathway can be easily dug beneath a walkway or section of pavers. The traditional French drain is filled with gravel.

In a previous life, I moved water from downspouts out into yard into gravel pits lined with gravel and black, flexible drainpipe. I sloped the skinny trench to a pit of gravel about the size of an oil drum. It worked like a charm. Splash blocks simply did not move water far enough away from foundation to prevent basement moisture issues. If you want to address moisture issues around your structure, you need to put on your raincoat and grab an umbrella to see what is going on and to make a determination about what corrective actions need to be taken.
Old 06-10-05, 02:09 AM
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French Drains

Thank you very much for your reply!

I was wondering yesterday if the perforated black corrugated pipe was even necessary. I was thinking that simply digging a trench, lining it with some thickness of plastic, then gravel, then sand, then landscape cloth, then more sand and finally the pavers would be enough? We get a LOT of rain but when it's pouring, the water just goes where it goes. The real problem is the boggy ground it leaves behind, right where our walkways need to be.

Thanks very much for the tip but we have already put non-perforated black corrugated 4" drains on all the downspouts and routed them out into the forest. The basement is dry (thankfully) and we don't seem to have any pooling problems up against the house. The basement's only underground in the front and a bit of the sides anyway. I was going to dig the trenches for the downspout drains at the same time I dug the ones for the paths/walkways. I may need to do the 'French Drain' thing with some of them but most just go off downhill and aren't in the way. Once everything is installed, I'll have to see if I'll need your gravel 'catch basin' or not. I was going to leave the distal ends open to the world anyway and there is no one close enough to us that the water won't just percolate into the ground long before it gets to them.

If you have any additional thoughts on any of the above. I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again,

Old 06-10-05, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
One approach would be pretty much the same. Dig out the path, put in landscape fabric as a liner, add gravel, close the landscape fabric over the gravel to keep the gravel from being filled by the soil. I would then cover with enough native soil to provide a firm footing for the stones when the soil it tamped. Then install the stones, about 6 inches of soil over the gravel might be good. It depends upon how well your soil drains. This would give the water a place to go under the walkway and percolate out into the surrounding soil over time. If the the slope of the path lends itself to drainage, then sloping the excavation appropriately could help move the water elsewhere.

Hope this helps.
Old 06-12-05, 05:27 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions, Chris!

My soil doesn't drain...it's north Georgia clay - the wet, red, gooey stuff that squishes between your toes and graps ahold of your feet and won't let go without a resounding splopp! when you try to lift them out of the goo.

It can be dug with a pickaxe but a jackhammer is better. :=)


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