French Drains & Trench Drains

French Drains consist of a subsurface trench filled with clean rock (and more often than not, a perforated pipe) which captures and redirects / relocates water surface water and subsurface groundwater from one area to another. French drains with a perforated pipe allows water to quickly accumulate in the pipe and the pipe then transports the water efficiently to the designed location of the piping system.

French Drains in the St. Louis Missouri area are primarily used to prevent groundwater and surface water from pooling, infiltrating and ultimately damaging foundations, lawn areas, landscaping areas, pool areas, athletic fields, streets & highways, airport runways, and many more areas.

Property owners and engineers alike commonly use various names to reference a French drain configuration… these include “trench drain”, “filter drain”, “blind drain”, “rubble drain”, “rock drain”, “gravel drain”, “drain tile”, “perimeter drain”, “french ditch”, “ditch drain”, “subsurface drain”, “subsoil drain”, and “agricultural field drain”.

Reasons Our French Drains Are Needed

How Our French Drains Solve Your Water Issues

Water Standing

Have water sitting in your lawn or around your foundation causing a mess? This is typically a sign that you need a French drain. Where there’s pooling water and soil saturation to the point of where you step in the area and the mud covers your shoe, and this goes on for days after a rain event…. this is a common, problematic situation that a properly installed French drain can alleviate.

Perforated PVC Piping

Perforated Schedule 35 Sewer & Drain Pipe is the pipe of choice for our French drain projects. It’s smooth walled on the inside, perforated for water to enter, typically self cleans, holds up to freeze thaw, and is overall the best choice for drainage and French drains.

Large Area of Heavy Flow Surface Water

When there’s a long stretch of surface area that receives extreme water flow across it, a large exposed French drain (a.k.a trench drain) can be the most effective, economical solution for this type of situation. The exposed French drain captures the water and relocates it to the desired area or storm sewer inlet.

Correct French Drain Sizing

We analyze the square footage and watershed during worst case scenario rain events and size the French drain width, depth, pipe sizes and pipe quantity accordingly.

Poorly Installed French Drains

Many French drains are attempted by a property owner, handyman or landscaper and the project does not end up functioning as intended and solving the drainage problem.

We commonly say “a poorly installed French drain is worse for a property than not having a French drain at all”. Reason: if a French drain is not installed correctly, it acts as a creek / void or pond for water to sit in and accumulate, often times right next to your foundation wall which will actually make your original water problem even worse…

Proper Levels

We use a transit to shoot the grades to make sure we have proper slopes on all of our French drain installations. Our work is guaranteed, so we can guarantee our clients it’ll be done right the first time.

Undersized French Drains

Many contractors under estimate the width & depth of the French drain trenches along with the perforated piping size and discharge pipe size. This leads to a french drain that either doesn’t work at all or works very slowly, not solving the problem efficiently. French drains can be constructed in large trenches with multiple large pipes, the contractor just needs to estimate the area watershed accurately.

Pipe Discharge

Our French drain systems discharge at the correct location to minimize erosion and maximize efficiency.

Corrugated Perforated Sock Piping

The black corrugated perforated piping that people buy from box stores is a major problem. It clogs, collapses, fills with tree roots, and fails over a short time after installation. There’s also a common issue of installing the piping level without bellys / dips in the pipe run. Add a filter sock to the “cheap” pipe that can’t be cleaned or changed, and the system has a future of functionality challenges. It’s a bandaid fix inside of a French drain, not a long-term solution.

Compaction & Restoration

When our French drain installations are complete, discharge pipe runs have all been compacted and all disturbance is restored to pre-project condition (oftens times better).

Improper Levels In Current French Drain

French drains are tricky because the installation crew has to install the French drain at the proper slopes. They also have to be sure the discharge line draining the french drain has the proper slope running to wherever you want the French drain water to discharge. If not, water will not discharge efficiently and will likely sit in the French drain area. Basically, you will have a non-functioning French drain system that needs re-installed properly.

Maintenance Programs

We have programs where we will maintain your French drain system for you. We typically recommend once a year, but sometimes more frequently. We can also perform restoration projects on the system we installed every 7-10 years to ensure your French drain functions optimally at all times.

The Drainage Team Difference

French Drain Excavation

Our French drain excavation is a detailed task that is done using specialized equipment, hand tools and a transit to shoot the grade during the entire excavation. We crumb out the trenches to ensure that they will be the most effective at capturing and discharging water. During the excavation process, we use whatever tools necessary to get the excavation done. All public utilities are marked prior to the excavation process starting.

French Drain Fabric

Next, once the excavation is completed and at the proper levels, we start installing filter fabric inside the trenches. Filter fabric is used to keep soil sediment from seeping into the French drain space and getting into the French drain gravel and perforated pipe(s).

Our filter fabric is custom spec’d on a project-by-project basis and is sourced from our specialized vendor network. We want the strongest fabric that keeps debris and sediment out, but allows water infiltration extremely quickly.

French Drain Piping

Once the fabric is installed and secured, we install the discharge piping (water accumulation piping) through the inside of the French drain. We typically use schedule 35 perforated piping inside of our French drains. As we install, we utilize PVC connectors to ensure the piping is precisely contoured to the shape of the French drain.

At the end of the perforated pipes, we will connect the piping into solid schedule 35 pipe(s) which will transport the water from the French drain area to the location where we would like to discharge this water.

French Drain Rock

The next step in our process is to install the rock / gravel in the French drain trench that will act as the filter to the water flowing into the system. We use specialized filtration rock which is determined by the application and site type.

Our rock is sourced through our specialized vendor network which ensures that we use the best type of rock for the French drain application.

Exposed French Drains

Exposed French drains are extremely effective at capturing and removing surface water while also capturing subsurface water buildup in the area. The top of an exposed French drain allows water to free flow into the top of the systems while also creating a path of no-resistance for subsurface water to be drawn to underground.

Exposed French drains can also be referred to as trench drains as they are basically a trench that allows large amounts of water to free-flow into the top and be relocated to the desired area (that site elevations allow for without using mechanical, external pumps – hopefully).

Decorative French Drains

We are one of the few drainage companies that can make a French drain system look like a beautiful landscaping feature. Present your water challenge to our project consultants along with what your landscaping dreams are for the area and we can make your drainage system look amazing. Some call it “Drainscaping”, we call our decorative French drain systems a work of art and an enhancement to your outdoor living space!

Sod Covered French Drains

The most traditional French drain is a non-exposed, covered French drain. These types of French drains are most commonly covered with sod once completed. Non-exposed french drains are most common in lawn areas, athletic fields, etc. They allow sitting water in the lawn to make its way into the French drain system along with capturing subsurface water buildup from the surrounding soil areas.

When our crews are installing these types of systems, we install filter fabric on the top of the French drain rock along with our proprietary special blend of soil to allow sod to grow while it simultaneously allows water to flow into the French drain efficiently. Once several inches of our special soil is installed on top, we then install freshly cut sod from our premium local sod farm partner. Sod is freshly cut and delivered to our jobsite all in the same day.

8 Reasons To Choose Us

Quality Components

We only use the best products on the market for our French drain projects.

Quick Installations

Our installation crews can complete French Drain projects fast, most in 2 – 5 working days.

Crew Expertise

One of our French drain installation crews will install your system quickly and efficiently. Each one of our crew members is a drainage specialist that installs these systems everyday.

Affordable Systems

Our French drain drainage systems are cost effective considering most piping will last hundreds of years. We can custom tailor a phased approach for your project as we do with many of our clients.


We’ve been solving drainage issues with French drains since 1997 in the St. Louis area. That’s decades of experience and thousands of satisfied clients.

Locally Owned & Operated

We live in the St. Louis Missouri community and we support the community. We have first-hand knowledge of the local area… the soils, the construction practices, the wild weather here and much more.

BBB Accredited Company

“Research our Reputation, we are the Solution” is our trademarked slogan. Our reputation and client satisfaction is number one. We are an accredited Better Business Bureau member and maintain an A+ Rating.

Free French Drain Quotes

We offer free, no obligation French drain quotes to property owners in our service area. Our quotes are professionally developed straight from our price book and are emailed to you within 1-2 business days.