4 Types of Landscaping Drainage Solutions

If you’ve done any research on yard drainage issues, then, you’ve read about topics such as French drains, catch basins, and other ways to collect and move water.

What do they all mean?

Which one will work best for your drainage problem?

In this article, we will explain four of the most common types of yard drainage solutions: Channel drains, French drains, dry wells, and yard drains.

Although some of these drainage types will solve a problem on their own, often they are used in combination for a complete yard drainage system.
Which type of drain you need (or what combination of drains) will vary depending on your circumstance. At M2 Landscaping, we offer free drainage consultations to help you make the best decision.

We use numerous quality products from NDS in our drainage installations. On this page, you’ll find multiple educational videos, some produced by NDS, to help visualize the various drainage products we explain.

1. Channel Drains

Channel drains are used to prevent water from pooling on impervious surfaces.

Channel drains prevent:

  • Puddles forming around inground pools, caused by overflowing water and splashes
  • Water flowing into your garage and home
  • Water collections on walkways, like sidewalks and pavers

The channel drain is installed in the pavement and helps collect the water before it pools. After collecting the water, an effective channel drain redirects the water flow into an appropriate drainage system.

Often channel drains are just one component that connect to other parts of a complete drainage system. Consequently, this directs excess water away from your home.

Watch the short video provided by NDS:

2. French Drains

French drains are a common solution to yard drainage problems. Not all french drains are created equally.

Here are some specific details we pay attention to when installing french drains, or trench drains.


You can think of our french drains as a ‘sandwich’ of materials. From the top down (or the bottom up) the order of materials looks like this:

Dirt  >>  Geotextile Fabric  >>  Washed Gravel  >>  Perforated PVC Pipe  >>  Washed Gravel  >>  Geotextile Fabric  >>  Dirt

  1. First, we dig a trench and lay geotextile fabric in the trench. Geotextile fabric allows water to pass through but not dirt.
  2. We’ll put washed gravel inside of the trench. Washed gravel is important because it allows water to percolate quickly and does not contain stone dust.
  3. Then we will place a perforated pipe in the trench. (Our preference is a solid PVC pipe with holes drilled into it. The holes need to be facing down.)
  4. Additional gravel is placed on top of the pipe.
  5. Finally, we fold the geotextile fabric over the gravel and fill the remainder of the trench with dirt.


French drains are effective for redirecting the flow of water in areas where the ground often gets saturated.

Watch this video by our own Michael Rossella for a detailed explanation.

3. Dry Wells

One possibility is that your french drain disperses water into a dry well.

Think of it this way: Dry wells resemble glorified garbage cans buried in the ground. Their purpose is to collect excess water until it can naturally percolate into the ground.

Most dry wells hold about 50 gallons of water. The well contains small holes to allow the water inside to escape slowly.

Much like the french drain installation described above, the dry well is surrounded by washed gravel and geotextile fabric.

Trying to visualize how this might work? Take a look at this video produced by NDS:

4. Yard Drains

Yard drains are also called catch basins. As that name implies, the purpose of this drain is to ‘catch’ excess surface water in a basin and redirect it.

The catch basin acts like a sewer drain and directs the water through a pipe sloping away from the basin.

A yard drain can solve a simple drainage problem, or be a part of a larger overall drainage system.

How much water can a properly installed yard drain handle? Quite a lot, as you can see in the video on this page.

Ask The Drainage Experts at M2 Landscaping

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that go into choosing an effective drainage system for your property.

At M2 Landscaping, we deal with all types of drainage systems. We offer free consultations to help you determine what is needed on your property.

Please call our office at 815-978-8061 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.