If your neighbor’s land stands at a higher elevation than yours, you may be experiencing problems with excessive moisture on your property. You need better yard drainage. One option in such cases is installing French drains. These drains are not named for that country in Europe, so there is no need to start calling them Freedom drains. In fact the French drain is name for Henry French, a judge and farmer from Concord, Massachusetts who wrote a book titled Farm Drainage in 1859. These drains are simple trenches about 6” wide and 10”-24” deep. A 4” perforated pipe is placed in the bottom of the trench, and then the trench is filled with washed gravel. Surface water will drain through this gravel and run through the pipe to a determined runoff point.
The oversized French drain uses all of the design principles of the French drain, but is intended for major surface water problems. To deal with greater water drainage issues we increase the trench size to about 2’ wide by 2’ deep. This trench is then lined with a water permeable fabric that with allow water to pass though, but filter out sediments that may eventually clog the drainage system. On the fabric we lay two 4” diameter perforated pipes. The trench is them filled with 2-4” washed rock and the water permeable fabric is folded over the top. What is then installed over the drainage system will depend on the landscape design whether it is landscape rock or a course sand and sod.
Installing a drain on the upgrade side of the house can yield a significant improvement if you are experiencing problems with moisture in your basement. It is usually only necessary to intercept water moving through the ground toward the house to eliminate the moisture problem. This type of drain is considered a "curtain drain" rather than a footing or perimeter drain, especially if it is several feet from the house. Its job is to lower the water table downgrade in order to protect the house. The curtain drain method is an important consideration particularly for retrofit installations as it can reduce site disruption and the resulting cost of excavation.