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Last updated on February 2nd, 2024

How much does a French drain cost?

Thinking about French drains for your garden? We'll take you through French drain costs in the UK. We've also included some guidance on French drain installation.

French drains are a smart, sophisticated form of irrigation that can handle the demands of the great British weather. Keep reading to find out the average French drain cost.

In this guide, we’ve put together a guide that explores average pricing and answers those all-important questions on French drain installations.

Fast Facts

  • The average cost of French drains is around £35 per foot
  • French drains can be very efficient, in the right circumstances
  • Speak to local drainage experts before installing French drains

French drain costs

To budget for your drainage project, you’ll want to know what everything is going to cost. Below are the average costs of French drain installation in the UK:

MaterialUnitAverage UK cost
French drains costPer foot£35
Geotextile Fabric
25m roll
Perforated Pipe25m pipe£50
LabourPer day£250

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

How much does a French drain system cost?

The average cost of French drain systems per foot is somewhere in the region of £35.

If you intend to do the work yourself and want to go for the more modern design, you should expect to pay around £50 for 25m of pipe.

The Geotextile fabric will set you back around £25 on average for a 25m roll.

You might be tempted to reduce your French drain system cost by installing the drain yourself. However, you may end up spending more on your drainage system if it’s not installed to professional standards.

A poorly installed French drain system may need to be dug up and reinstalled. This may even involve replacing the drain system if it suffers any damage.

That’s why we always recommend hiring a local drainage professional to carry out the work.

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French drain installation costs

Installing a French drain system involves a lot of digging. That’s why so many homeowners choose to pay a professional to do the work.

How much does it cost to install French drain system in the UK?

When it comes to labour, the exact cost of French drain installation will vary depending on where you live and the individual tradesperson.

As a guide, the average cost of French drain installation is usually around £250 per day.

How do I find the best experts in French drain installation near me?

We’re here to help! Check out our handy guide to drain installation near me. It’s full of handy tips and advice to help you find the best local drainage specialists in your area.

French drains system cost

Types of French drain

There are two ways in which French drains can be installed, and this choice will influence your french drains costs.

  • The traditional method involves utilising an aggregate in the trench. This allows water to drain away into an acceptable area of land
  • The newer method uses landscape fabric and perforated pipes to allow the water to drain into the soil

The modern approach is more expensive to install, but it’s easier and cheaper to maintain than the traditional method.

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What is the lifespan of a French drain?

Typically speaking, the cost of French drains is a one-off expenditure. Once installed, they provide anywhere between 30 – 40 years worth of prime irrigation. If you have installed French drains recently and have problems with irrigation, you should consult a professional tradesperson immediately.

How deep should a French drain be in the UK?

When installing new French drains, depth is a key consideration. It’s extremely important that your drains are dug deep enough to be sufficient for water diversion.

A good rule of thumb is to install french drains that are between 8 inches to 2 feet deep.

French drain cost for installation

Do French drains need an outlet?

If you work with a professional tradesperson or French drains specialist, it is unlikely that you will require an outlet. In theory, the water should be absorbed into the soil as it drains through the perforated pipe.

If you are attempting an install without the help of a professional, you may want to include an outlet and an inlet.

Can you install a French drain yourself?

Unless you have previous experience with irrigation, we strongly recommend that you hire a professional to install your French drain.

The labour is intensive and irrigation is vitally important to the health and longevity of your land or property. Use our free search tool below to find local experts in drainage installation near you.

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Are French drains worth the money?

A properly installed French drain system can offer a very effective solution for some drainage issues – such as over-saturated soil in your garden.

French drains are very efficient at helping water drain away, as long as there’s a natural slope to help the water drain into the water basin.

They can help you prevent flooding and reduce the risk of more significant long-term water damage to your property and surrounding land.

On the other hand, if you need to redirect large amounts of water then a French drain might not be the answer.

If in doubt, speak to a local drainage specialist for their professional advice and guidance.

Do plumbers do French drains?

Some plumbers in the UK will be able to install, repair and maintain French drains. However, not all of them will have the skills and experience.

If you’re looking to hire a plumber to work on a French drain system, make sure that they have the right experience to install or repair your drain.

Alternatively, speak to local drainage specialists whose main focus is drainage systems – they’ll have the right know-how to do the work.

Where not to put a French drain?

The best location for your French drain will depend on your property and the ground around it. It will also be affected by the amount and intensity of rain that your property experiences.

For example, you might want to prevent water from pooling near your home. But, if the French drain system works too well, it could end up drying out the ground too much and affect your foundations.

Before installing a French drain system, we would always recommend speaking to a local drainage expert. You may also want to check in with your local Building Regulations office, to get their advice.

When should you not use a French drain?

A French drain isn’t a good idea if you live somewhere that regularly experiences heavy rain. Or if you live in an old building with shallow foundations.

To find out which is the best drainage system for your home, speak to local drainage experts. They’ll be able to inspect your home, identify the drainage issues, and suggest the best solution.

Why are French drains so expensive?

The total French drain system cost will vary depending on the size and complexity of the system itself.

If you’re digging a deeper and/or wider trench for your French drain, the excavation can be expensive. Hard or rocky ground will also increase the cost, as it will be more difficult and take longer to excavate.

Do French drains work in heavy rain?

French drains don’t move water particularly fast and can often get overwhelmed in heavy rain. As French drains are underground, they can be prone to clogging and may need to be replaced regularly.

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Working with professional estimators, we collate cost estimates for the common home improvement and repair jobs in the UK.

All the costs are estimates only. For accurate costs for your particular requirements, you are encouraged to reach out to professional tradespeople to receive a quote for your job.

Our estimators are Chartered Members (MRICS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Members of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB). See full disclaimer.

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