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I've got a soggy sideyard, which is more or less a textbook example of where you would build a french drain.

My issue is this: thanks to the way the yard / house / street / etc are all arranged, getting a sufficient amount of 1/4" rock into the back would be a heck of a project.

So, a thought occurs: there's that rubber mulch stuff, which is made of rubber blobs of about the right size, costs about the same, and it's light enough that I could get all I need into the back in an afternoon by myself.

Has anyone ever tried using rubber mulch instead of rocks? Did it work? Should I just suck it up and go with rock?

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A micro excavator or a Toro Dingo may be small enough to fit and carry the rock. – Jay Bazuzi Mar 7 '11 at 17:48

I assume you are talking about this.

I have seen this product used twice before in this type of application.I have never used it in a french drain, however, I packed some into the end of a downspout so the water wouldn't drill a hole into the ground.

I have also seen it used as a substitute for rock in a drainage ditch along the outside wall of a house. Months later they wound that the rubber was compacting under its own weight and the weight of the dirt above it and began to lose its functionality and actually prevented water from leaving the area. The surface area is too great along lateral edges,(it lays flat) so it begins to clog up.

I assume that your question steams from worrying about the difference between rock and rubber. In your case I would NOT use the rubber because the rubber mulch could settle in the drain and block up the pipe, especially if the mulch is longer than it is wider. I'd use rock. It won't bend or flex, plus it's proven.

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Rubber Mulch is being used in a number of different applications these days, and we are constantly finding new ones. The problem is knowing which rubber to use for which application. The person above talked about the pieces being longer than they are wider, laying flat, and the rubber compacting on itself, this is true of the Buffing style of rubber. Which is not the right type for this application. You want to go with a Nugget style if fact the larger the better. The advantages of Rubber over rock are as simple this, one the Rubber is lighter and easier to install, two the rocks are porous allowing fungus to grow and the rocks to breakdown over time. We provide Rubber for Playgrounds, Landscape, Ballistics, Sports Field Infill, Erosion Control, Backfill, Equestrian, and more.


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@stephan this a good point, I cannot see why the nugget style wouldn't work. – allindal Mar 12 '11 at 15:33

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