The Q&A Archives: How to create a small trench between lawn and concrete area?

Question: In my backyard on one side of lawn I have concrete and on other side there are bricks that separate shrubs and flower beds. I use Black & Decker cordless edger tool that has a plastic wire spool that cuts the grass along those edges. I want to create a small trench or gap along that border so that in rainy season water can flow easily. How can I do that? Please advice.

Answer: Sounds like a prime candidate for a French drain. French drains are quite simple: in essence they are just trenches filled with gravel, with sand on top of that. Often, you'll see French drains defined to include a drain pipe as well, though the traditional design is simply the gravel-filled trench. The advantages of French drains are low cost and easy installation. In addition, they can be covered over with turf after installation, making them less conspicuous. A French drain starts with digging a trench. The depth and width of the trench can vary, but 5 to 6 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches deep are common sizes and usually satisfy most needs. Add gravel to the trench to within a few inches of the surface. Gravel for this use is typically 0.5 to 1 inch in size. On top of the gravel, lay at least 3 or 4 inches of coarse sand. This provides a medium in which turf can grow so that the trench will not be visible. But remember that the sand must be coarse or it won't allow water to properly drain through. Turf may be seeded into the sand or simply allowed to grow in from the adjacent stand, if the turf is a spreading type. Or, you can lay sod over the sand. Hope this information is helpful!

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