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On one side of my house, I have 2 feet of property. I want to install a french drain there to divert water away from the foundation (alongside of the house). How close can the french drain be near the foundation? Also, I live in Texas where there are droughts. How would I use a soaker hose to water the foundation in the summer if a french drain is there? It seems the water would go into the drain instead of the soil.

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    Water the foundation? That's a moderately bizarre concept- do tell.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 29, 2023 at 1:13
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    foundation likes it dry, leave it alone
    – Traveler
    May 29, 2023 at 3:46
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    That's a common thing in slab on grade in Texas because code allows for foundations that are too thin. The surrounding soil dries out and contracts, drawing moisture from under the slab. The soil under the slab contracts and you get foundation cracking or movement. Instead of improving building code, Texas has normalized "watering your foundation".
    – longneck
    May 29, 2023 at 3:46
  • And the foundations are often watered using groundwater in the literal deserts. Houston is the fastest sinking city in the USA. Probably not a coincidence uh.edu/news-events/stories/2022-news-articles/october-2022/… May 29, 2023 at 14:27
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    Well. We can't unlearn that. Anyway. If you don't have a basement and like your foundation wet, why do you need a French drain?
    – jay613
    May 29, 2023 at 15:39

2 Answers 2

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Idk the details of when you need to remove water and when you need to add it, but maybe this will work. Assuming your French drain terminates in a pipe that carries water somewhere else, put a valve at the head of that pipe. Close the valve and the French drain will act as a reservoir that will leach water into the soil after you fill it, like a long thin dry well.

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Where in Texas is this? I have lived in Dallas for 55 years and am familiar with the drainage needs of the drier areas of Texas.

I doubt you need a "French" drain with perforated underground pipe to dewater the soil. You might need an underground drain with collection inlets on the surface, but you also might be able to drain on the surface with a swale. We need more information about the size of the lot and the current water flow patterns.

A lot of people Dallas put in underground drains with the intent to get rain water off the lot into the street or the paved alley. When they direct runoff into the street they often pierce the curb. The city is officially against boring through the curb, but does not take action against it. The resulting rapid runoff causes the creeks to rise and erosion of the banks.

Drainage in the drier parts of Texas should keep the rain from pooling against the side of house, but slow down the runoff so as much as possible is absorbed by the soil.

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