French drains and catch basins are two common components of landscape drainage systems. But despite both these options being popular, each one comes with a unique list of pros and cons. To help you decide which of these drainage structures is ideal for your yard, we’ve detailed the main advantages and disadvantages of each.
Advantages of a French Drain
There are plenty of advantages to installing a French drain in your yard.
French Drains Are Perfect for Dealing with Sub-Surface Water
Not all the water you must manage on your property is above ground. In fact, there is plenty of water that flows below the surface of the soil. Since french drains are long, linear structures that include pipes and drainage materials that exist underground, they are a fantastic option for dealing with subsurface runoff.
French Drains Help Prevent Structural Damage
The ability of french drains to channel subsurface water allows them to help preserve the structural integrity of foundations, driveways, retaining walls, and many other structures. As such, installing a french drain can help you avoid some costly property damage.
French Drains Tend to Require Less Maintenance
While the maintenance requirements of different drainage solutions can vary case-by-case, french drains generally require little to no maintenance compared to catch basins. In most cases, you won’t need to tend to your french drain very often after a successful installation.
French Drains Are More Subtle
In many cases, french drains have less of a visual impact on your property than catch basins do. In fact, you can plant grass directly above your french drain so that it is not easily visible at all.
Disadvantages of a French Drain
While there are plenty of good reasons to install a french drain, there are disadvantages as well, two of which we have described below.
French Drains Are Often More Expensive
to InstallCost specifics will vary from project to project. However, in most cases, french drains end up being more expensive to install than other drainage solutions. Additionally, the longer your french drain is, the more you can expect to pay when installing it.
French Drains Can Be Difficult to Unclog
Although french drains don’t require a lot of consistent maintenance, the maintenance they do occasionally require is difficult to complete. This is especially true regarding clogs.
Advantages of a Catch Basin
Catch Basins Are Great for Managing Standing Water
If you notice that your yard has a lot of standing water, regardless of the cause, installing a catch basin is a wise choice. Catch basins can quickly eliminate any pooling water that stagnates on the surface of your landscape.
Catch Basins Are Excellent for Yards with Low
PointsSome properties have natural low points that accumulate large pools of water during rain events. Placing a catch basin directly at that low point can eliminate that pooling issue.
Catch Basins Installation Can Be Less Expensive
It’s difficult to estimate the exact cost of installing a catch basin. However, installing a catch basin is often slightly less expensive than installing a french drain.
Catch Basins Also Capture DebrisCatch basins do not only capture rainwater, but they also do a good job of collecting any trash or debris that may be floating in that rainwater.
Disadvantages of a Catch Basin
No drainage solution is perfect. Here are two cons to catch basins you should keep in mind.
Catch Basins Can Attract Insects
As the name implies, catch basins capture and hold water in a reservoir below the ground. Naturally, this standing water can become a breeding ground for unwanted insects.
Catch Basins Can Cause Sink
HolesWhen a catch basin fails, the results can be disastrous. In fact, if a part of a catch basin collapses, it can create a sinkhole in your yard that will be difficult to remedy.
Both French drains and catch basins are excellent options when you need to manage drainage on your property. However, each of these options has a specific list of benefits and challenges. To ensure you choose the best option for your property, discuss this topic with an expert, feel free to reach out to All Outdoors at 864.275.2039 today!
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