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I'm digging a 2 feet deep french drain a few feet away from the house. I'm wondering if instead of gravel I could surround the 4" perforated pipe with packing popcorn (or peanuts, or whatever they are called). I'll be backfilling 1 foot with dirt on top.

What leads me to believe that this can work is the existence of this product:

http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-systems/french-drains/ez-drain-french-drain/

as well as this one:

http://www.homedepot.com/Plumbing-Pipes-Fittings-Valves-Specialty-Pipe-Fittings-Pipe/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbv1n/R-202259347/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I know that gravel works. The question is: is the popcorn really a good idea or am I going to see problems in the future.

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Be sure not to use bio-degradable packaging, like starchtech.com/biodegradable-packing-peanuts.html –  auujay Apr 18 '11 at 20:43
    
Note, the homedepot link is for EZ-0802F, which is the product made by NDS in the first link you posted. –  gregmac Apr 18 '11 at 22:10
    
@annujay: thanks for the tip –  Peter Q Apr 19 '11 at 0:55
    
@gregmac: true; I do think I saw another almost identical product (with black peanuts) somewhere on the web but I can't find it now. –  Peter Q Apr 19 '11 at 0:56
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I don't think packing popcorn will work. I'd think it would compress and leave at best a spongy spot in your yard. Most likely you'll end up with it collapsing as soon as any weight is applied over it. The material shown in the two products you listed is a polystyrene aggregate. I don't think packing peanuts are the same exact material.

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Good answer. Now: where do I find that exact same material? The problem with the EZ pipes at my local HD is that they didn't have the join pieces that clip them together. They turned out to be a slightly (1mm) smaller size than the regular 4" pipe so the standard joiners didn't work. My theory is that they made them like that on purpose so they can sell their own joiners (which were unfortunately not available at my local HD). –  Peter Q Apr 19 '11 at 0:54
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