Learning, Outlet,

Does a French Drain Need an Outlet?

In this article, you’ll discover if your French drain requires an outlet.

Building a French drain is the answer if your garden faces drainage issues. However, it’s essential to build it correctly.

Typically, a well-built French drain does not necessitate an outlet. As water journeys through the perforated pipe, it easily absorbs into the surrounding soil. Interestingly, a French drain does not require an inlet, either.

You can gain further insights from the guide provided below.

Do I Need an Outlet for My French Drain?

Building a French drain system will eliminate your garden’s drainage problems. With a simple perforated pipe, you make your garden a much more attractive and less problematic place.

However, most people are concerned about the outlet. A well-built French drain doesn’t require an outlet or inlet. The water will get soaked into the soil with the help of the perforated pipe and gravel.

To understand this concept properly, you’ll have to learn about the mechanism of the French drain.

How Does the French Drain Work?

a backyard
Video | Komar Project

A French drain is a simple concept that only requires perforated pipe and gravel. This system can disperse large amounts of water in your garden or backyard. In this section, I’ll explain how this system works.

For constructing a French drain, you’ll need two things.

  • Perforated pipe
  • Gravel

First, dig a trench in your garden (in a suitable location). Then, put the gravel into the trench. Here gravel acts as bedding for the perforated pipe.

a man's hand holding a perforated pipe
Video | Apple Drains

As you can see from the above image, the pipe should have holes. Finally, backfill the topsoil of the trench.

Whenever the water is collected in your garden, that water will go through the topsoil and gravel. Then, it will go through the holes in the pipe and travel to the underground.

Hence, a French drain doesn’t need an outlet or inlet, given that you construct it properly.

Tip: The inlet is where water enters the pipe, and the outlet is where water goes out. But pipe holes act as inlets and outlets in a properly built French drain.

Pros and Cons of Having a French Drain on Your Property

perforated pipe buried underground
Video | Apple Drains

Building a French drain on your property can help your drainage problems. But at the same time, there are disadvantages to this process too. Hence, here are some pros and cons of French drains.


  • They can prevent flooding
  • Cost-effective
  • Reduce the risk of long-term water damage
  • French drains can be covered with plants or small rocks for decoration purposes.


  • Constructing a French drain can be quite troublesome
  • Sometimes you might have to remove existing structures, such as walkways and decks


Video References

Apple Drains

Komar Project

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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