Dry Creek with French Drain Project Update

Dry Creek with French Drain Project Update


This week will not be a normal blog post just an update.  As you can imagine, with a DIY landscaping project of this size it has been a long week around here.  Fortunately, we have made a lot of progress as you can see in our progress pictures below.

Dry Creek Bed with Underground Aqueduct /French Drain

Some of you may not have read the earlier blog Landscape Projects; Get the Best Bang for Your Buck where I shared our difficulties with water settling on the grass on the back of our property after heavy rain.  This project is not just for looks but also function.

We not only put in a dry creek bed but an underground aqueduct / french drain that measures twelve inches deep and fourteen inches wide capable of handling heavy rain runoff.  We have made some design changes from the first post after taking into consideration available materials.

Most of the product available in our area for this type of project is either river rock or pond rock so we opted to use these materials because it was easy to access.

Remember there is a great return for landscaping investment, especially if you do it yourself.

Phase 1 – Sod Removal and relocation

We pulled about $1500-2000 dollars of Bermuda Grass Sod and relocated it to the lower end of the lawn in the project.  If we didn’t need it we could have sold it and paid for a big part of our materials. But, since we are saving a huge amount doing this job ourself we aren’t to concerned about the cost.

Phase 2 – French Drain / Aqueduct Trench

The trench is 14″ in width and about a 12″ deep.  As you can see this is not a weekend DIY Project.  This french drain / dry creek bed is about 260′ in length.  I will have a full report of the cost savings in my final post on this project.

We used some simple tools to get this part of the project done.

  • Square Edge Root Cutter (hand tool)
  • Grubbing Hoe (hand tool)
  • Round & Flat Shovels (hand tool)
  • Sharp Shooter (hand tool)
  • Rototiller (power tool)

Once we painted the outline of our dry creek bed we used the Square Edge Root Cutter to cut the sod and then removed it with a shovel.  After all the sod had been removed we started the trenching.

We have a tiller so we used it. Although, we had to remove on set of tines because of the width of the trench.  It wasn’t the greatest gift but it did loosen up soil in some places.

Unfortunately, we had about 45 feet of petrified clay that was like hitting bedrock.  So, we had to use the pickaxe end of a grubbing hoe for that section.  I started calling this stretch of the trench boulder alley. Needless to say, it was a very long day!!

Trench Completed!

Once the trench was dug it was time to line it with landscape liner and add your pipe and rock.

Now that this step was done we added our landscape staples to hold fabric in place and covered top with final landscaping fabric since we are doing a dry creek bed on top of french drain system.

Phase 3 – Dry Creek Bed

We have moved approximately 32,000 pounds of dirt, 12,000 pounds of drainage rock and a little over 10,000 pounds of river rock.  It has not been the easiest job, but considering the cost of having these two projects done it will be worth it!

We are moving on to the next step of adding the larger 10-12 inch rocks to complete this project!

In our next and final post for this project, we will give you our total cost and savings with our final pictures.

Remember to grab our (Free) Home Improvement Binder or use our simple Priorities – Goals – Action Worksheet to help you easily manage your DIY Projects.

We hope you enjoyed the update.  Until next time TNT

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5 thoughts on “Dry Creek with French Drain Project Update

  1. Another great project, one that I just may have to explore myself. If so, this is a great step by step plan!

  2. This is exactly what we need to do to our back yard. We are having the same issue with standing water in the back when it rains. I’m showing this to my husband. Thanks!