French Drains and Shughs

There is – in every field, townland and in every street of every community –  ‘always one’.

white cow in bog‘Always one’ who keeps wandering off into the bog – who thrice in this past season has gotten herself stuck in a squishy spot..

sucked inPutting people to loads of trouble..

breaking freeBad for cows and bad for stone cottages – this waterlogged ground is what we are up against!

front drainThere is no such thing as too much drainage in this part of the world.  Absolutely essential to draw ground water away from the walls of old buildings which without damp proof membrane, or even foundations, are vulnerable to water.

stone in drainIt is dug one meter from the wall.  A scattering of clean stone can be raked into the drain in order to find the proper drop, ensuring a 10cm fall between the highest to lowest point.

wrap that pipeGeotextile wrapped around will keep the pipe free of silt.

corner drainA French drain is used strictly to absorb ground water, with gray water and gutter spout water being dealt with separately.

corner drainThis drain surrounds the whole cottage and shall  serve to soak water away down the garden into the ditch.  water runs downhillThe drains must be filled to the top with stone for best aiding free flow.
downward flow

Hard, hard work.  But worth the trouble.

ordeal over

Eamonn's tractor

12 thoughts on “French Drains and Shughs

  1. Hey Louise, the cottage looks really beautiful! You’ve been doing a great job here together with all the strong others helping you..

    1. When you next visit Ireland Carmen, the roses shall be growing sround the door. I picked the best ‘strong others’ I could find in the whole of Donegal! 🙂

  2. Hi Louise
    Coming around in April and would like to know if it’s possible to stop and have a look at the house ?

  3. Just a question about the french drains Limewindow, why are you installing a drainage pipe? I have seen the same set-up you have where the geotextile is simply wrapped around the stones and there is only a piece of pipe at the outlet.
    Interested to hear your thoughts on this. As you say, you cannot have enough drains!

    1. Hi jon –
      I think the idea is that during periods of heavy rain the presence of the pipe (perforated) enhances the flow. Would you say it makes a difference, maybe also to the chances of the channel being bunged with silt? I’ve added a few details to the post about the drain uses which I previously overlooked. This particular site has a decent fall to it, so no need to dig a soak pit for runoff, as would be important on a flat site – instead we have a plethora of drains running off into the ditch. Additionally, about 6 yards from the cottage where there is a high bank, along the base of which we’ve made the normal type of drain filled with clean stone only. So if that doesn’t cover it – I know not what will!

  4. Thank you!
    The husband has been muttering about doing a french drain around the rear of our stone cottage project…and now I understand what he’s on about!

  5. Hi. Just curious about the French Drain. We have an old stone/ mud cottage.

    We have no foundations but walls are approx 4-5 feet wide at base. I see you dug the drain 1m out from wall. Why was this?

    Did you use a membrane along wall and gap between it and drain to divert water into the drain.

    1. Hello Shane
      Sorry to be two years late with this reply but I simply missed your question!
      The reason is for French drains is rising water levels in the ground, or rising damp. So in periods of heavy rainfall when the ground gets saturated, the water has a place to ‘go’.

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