What is the downside to not putting in a french drain system?

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

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Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

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When buying a house, each of us have different things that we are looking for, and what is important to us. Maybe you want a big open kitchen with a large island, or a basement that provides you with space to watch the game with friends. One thing that most homeowners are looking for when they buy a house is a backyard that will allow them to spend sunny days outside with friends and family playing games, and nights by the fire. But what happens when you buy a house and you realize that your yard is not the space that you dreamed of? A French Drain can fix your water issues, and allow you to regain the space you coveted.

Do you REALLY need a French Drain?

When it comes to French Drains, you could argue that a dry yard is a want, not a need. Having a yard that is dry and useable may not be considered a necessity, but can put a damper on social gathering and family time. Let me put it this way, if you bought a two-story house but never used the top floor, what was the point of buying a house with two stories? You could have bought a rancher instead. The same can be said about your yard. You spent good money on your land, and to not be able to use that space is a waste of your property, and truly a shame. When we buy a new house, most of us boast about the yard space and all of the fun things we plan on doing! When telling friends about our new house we don’t say, “Look at my new yard! We can’t use it, the grass won’t grow because everything is always wet and mucky, and there is ground water everywhere, but I have a yard!” Instead, we plan for backyard parties and all of the fun things we can do with our new space. Without a French Drain, those plans can go down the drain.

So, what are the downsides to not putting in a French Drain system?

Unusable yard

By now you have likely guessed that the number one downside to not having a French Drain system installed is that your yard will be unusable. If you have kids or dogs, you will understand the importance of being outside, and letting your kids and pets get their energy out. This is a daily thing!  If your yard is wet and muddy, it can be a nightmare getting the kids and pets in and out of the house. Every time you take your dog out to go to the bathroom, you will need to wipe their paws off, and the kids will need to be bathed constantly so that mud does not get tracked into your house or on your patio or driveway. When you have a dry yard, you will not need to worry about drainage issues and excess water in your yard. Instead, you can spend your time playing outside with your kids, rather than worrying about the cleanup after.  


If you like entertaining and having friends over for BBQ’s it can get pretty annoying having to postpone plans because it rained the other day, and the yard is a mess. Even if you do end up still having a BBQ, the more people that walk on your lawn, the worse your lawn will get from ruts made by foot traffic. Your guests will not want to get dirty walking through puddles, surface water, and mud, and it is less than ideal to have people going in and out of your house to go to the bathroom or grab another drink, when they are tracking mud through your home. This can turn a night of fun and relaxation into a headache. Drainage problems like these can be fixed with a French Drain system and can be even more effective if you have a perimeter drain. 

Lawn health

You may notice that not only do you have problems with ground water, but grass just won’t grow in your yard!  The reason grass does not grow in wet areas is because lawn and plants are stunted and will not grow when they are under water. Moss will grow instead due to the wet conditions, and any wood that is in the area, such as landscape ties or fence posts, can rot due to being submerged in water for long periods of time. You might be surprised to find out that healthy grass is a huge component in how dry your landscaping will be. If your grass does not have an abundance of roots that are penetrating deep into your clay soil, the water in your yard will sit on top of your lawn (surface water) , and will not be able to penetrate deep underground. All in all, if you do not address your water issue, you will not be able to have healthy grass, which goes hand in hand in helping dissolve your drainage problems.

The resale value of your home

If there is a possibility that one day you will sell your home, you could be missing out on potential buyers for your home if your lawn is unusable due to not having a drainage system like a French Drain. Even if you have a yard that has lots of potential, groundwater issues will always make your space useless. Instead, if you get a French Drain system installed and regain your space back, the possibilities of what people see when they look at your yard will be endless. Landscaping and outdoor decorating can be done a million different ways, and mean something different to each and every one of us. By making your yard useable, potential buyers will be able to see what your yard can offer them.

If you bought your house with the purpose of enjoying your outdoor space, and actually being able to use your yard, a French Drain system can make this happen for you and your family. To learn more, read French Drain costs.