Farm, Garden and The Land > Permaculture, Land Management and Foraging

Installing a French Drain


I did a little searching on information on the forum for installing a french drain and didn't find much so I figured I would start one.

I'll put some information I found on some websites which we can update, but I main question is:

What type of gravel do we use? we got two personal recommendations to use pea-gravel (gravel sized from 1/2-3/4) while I found two websites that recommended using larger gravel for better drainage (makes sense to me that larger gravel would allow larger spaces between individual pieces).  Further, both personal recommendations did not make a distinction to not use limestone.  One of the websites did specifically say you need a harder stone like granite and not to use limestone while the other did not that it clear (they mention limestone for drainage).

I am in North Alabama and our local county offers cheap delivery of limestone gravel (different sizes available) for $160-200 while granite delivery would be ~$1000 for the amount we need.

So, please help TSPers!?

Also FYI, some of the background information I collected (links included):


French Drain Basics
A French drain draws water away from one area, such as the ground near a house foundation, to prevent water from causing damage to the structure. To do this requires a sloped ditch or trench with the high point at the area requiring drainage; the slope from end to end is generally 1 to 2 percent. A layer of gravel fills the bottom of the trench, with several inches of coarse sand on top of that. Some French drains have sod over the sand to make them less visible, and some include a drain pipe in the bottom to ensure the drain structure lasts.

Basic Gravel Bottom
The gravel used on the bottom layer of the trench -- filling it one-third of the way if using a perforated pipe, or two-thirds if not -- acts as an underground path or waterway for flowing water. Gravel used for this layer is typically 1/2 inch to 1 inch across -- the larger it is, the better the water flow and less chance of clogs and blockages. For a French drain without a perforated pipe, opt for even larger gravel, such as 1 1/2 inches across. Smaller gravel such as pea gravel would not allow sufficient water flow. No matter what the gravel or stone, opt for washed varieties, otherwise fine dust and particles may hinder or even stop water flow.

Hard Rock Rules
Hard rocks such as granite or river gravel prove viable options for a French drain because they won't break down over time as much as other rock varieties, such as sandstone and limestone. River gravel has already spent a good deal of time eroding down to its current size, as it is acquired from dried river beds before being cleaned and sold to the public.

 Crushed Stone Uses
Crushed stone is the “go to” stone for a variety of projects such as drainage applications like French drains, septic drain fields, road-side edge drains and retaining wall drains. Crushed stone is also used as base material under foundations, roads and railroads.

Crushed stone is generally used in construction as an aggregate either with or without a binder. Road base and Rail Road Ballast #3 are the major uses of aggregate without a binder. Aggregate for ready-mix cement and asphalt in highway and road construction, as well as for repair in residential and nonresidential construction are the major uses for aggregates with a binder.

Crushed stone can be, depending on the quarry site, trap rock, granite, gneiss and limestone. The final product is produced by crushing the stone and then screening it to size.

Braen Stone supplies crushed stone for use as a construction aggregate for a variety of uses, including: residential and commercial properties, concrete and asphalt in highway and road construction. Crushed stone can also be used to make ready-mix concrete, railroad ballast, filter stone, riprap, agricultural limestone and lime.--
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Braen Stone is the industry leader of crushed stone supply in the northern New Jersey area. All of our crushed stone is available for bulk delivery and pickup at one of our five locations.

1/4″ Washed Clean Stone
Crushed Stone for Sale in NJ - 1/4 inchThe 1/4″ washed stone is an aggregate that has been crushed, reduced in size and screened through a 1/4” square screen. It is then run through a machine to clean it thoroughly, ensuring there is no leftover stone dust or other residues. 1/4″ washed stone can be used in driveways, for drainage purposes, ready-mix concrete, as placement around trees for visual appeal and a variety of other projects. Our 1/4″ washed stone is NJ DOT and NY DOT approved.

3/8” Pea Gravel
Pea Gravel for Sale in NJ and NYPea gravel has a natural look and can help to minimize soil erosion, contour to follow any walkway or path through a landscape and repair costs are minimal compared to concrete. Pea gravel will effectively fill shaped spaces in your landscape, and is ideal for walkways and paths. Whether you’re a contractor or are planning a project for your home, installing a pea gravel driveway is a great choice for the cost conscious.

3/8″ Washed Crushed Clean Stone
Crushed Stone for Sale in NJ and NY - 3/8 inchBraen Stone is one of the leading 3/8″ washed stone suppliers in northern New Jersey. Our 3/8″ washed stone is available for both pickup and bulk delivery in NJ and NY. Our 3/8″ crushed clean stone is an aggregate that has been crushed, reduced in size and screened through a 3/8” square screen. Crushed stone products are viewed in the industry as the “go to” stone for use in many construction projects as well as home designs and improvements. Our crushed clean stone is NJ DOT and NY DOT approved.

3/8″ White Marble Chips
White Marble Chips for Sale in NJ and NYWhite marble roofing stone is a highly reflective, roof-surfacing material. It is made up of specific gradations of marble aggregate with a max size of 3/8″. The most prominent use for 3/8″ white marble chips is for use as a final roof surfacing material. It’s high reflective surface provides a lower roof temperature than typical gravel and can reduce the air conditioning load during peak times.

3/4” Crushed Stone
Crushed Stone for Sale in NJ and NY - 3/4 inch3/4″ crushed stone is generally used in construction as an aggregate. Its main uses include concrete and asphalt in highways and road construction. It is available for bulk delivery to homeowners, contractors, cities, townships, schools, religious establishments and universities. Our 3/4″ crushed stone is sold by the cubic yard or by the ton, depending on where it was loaded.

3/4″ White Marble Chips
Marble Chips for Sale in NJ and NYCWhite marble chips, also known as white limestone, white marble stone pebbles and white 3/4″ stone, is used mostly for decorative purposes. White marble chips are used in driveways, walkways and around landscapes for their appearance and roofing contractors can also apply it as roofing stone. We have white marble chips are available at wholesale prices in northern New Jersey for bulk delivery.

1 1/2” Crushed Stone
Crushed Stone Prices in NJ and NY - 1 1/2 inches1 1/2″ crushed stone is widely used in dry wells, drainage solutions, road base, septic systems and ballast for railroad tracks. It can be trap rock, granite, gneiss and limestone depending on the quarry site. The material can also be used to make Portland cement, filer stone, riprap stone, agricultural limestone and lime. Our 1 1/2″ crushed stone is available for bulk delivery in both New Jersey and New York.


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