French Drain or Soakaway: Which is Best for Your Property?

Jun 13, 2024 | News

Managing excess water in your garden or commercial property is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the landscape and the structures within it. A French drain soakaway is a highly efficient solution to this problem. Combining the benefits of both French drains and soakaways, this system is designed to redirect and manage surface and groundwater effectively. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of French drain soakaways, their installation, benefits, and why they are an environmentally-friendly choice for your property. Learn about French drain soakaways, combining French drains and soakaways for efficient water management.

What is a French Drain?

Definition and Purpose

A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area. This system is primarily used to prevent water accumulation in gardens, around buildings, or any area prone to flooding.

Components of a French Drain

A typical French drain system includes the following components:

  • Gravel or Rock: Facilitates the easy flow of water into the perforated pipe.
  • Perforated Pipe: Channels the water away from the area to a designated drainage point.
  • Filter Membrane: Prevents sediment from entering the pipe, ensuring long-term efficiency.

How It Works

Water infiltrates the gravel-filled trench, enters the perforated pipe, and is then redirected to a suitable drainage outlet. This helps in preventing waterlogging and soil erosion, protecting the structural integrity of buildings.

What is a Soakaway?

Definition and Purpose

A soakaway is an underground structure designed to manage excess surface water by allowing it to percolate into the ground. Soakaways are commonly used in gardens and commercial properties to reduce the risk of localised flooding and maintain soil stability.

Components of a Soakaway

Modern soakaways typically consist of:

  • Soakaway Crates: Lightweight plastic crates that form the structure of the soakaway.
  • Geotextile Fabric: Wraps around the crates to prevent soil from entering the system.
  • Gravel or Shingle: Surrounds the crates to facilitate water percolation.

How It Works

Water is directed into the soakaway, where it gradually percolates into the surrounding soil. This process helps in managing surface water efficiently, ensuring that the ground remains stable and free from excess water.

French Drain Soakaway: Combining Two Effective Systems

Definition and Benefits

A French drain soakaway combines the features of a French drain and a soakaway, providing a comprehensive solution for water management. This system effectively redirects both surface and groundwater, ensuring that your property remains free from waterlogging and flooding.

Why Choose a French Drain Soakaway?

  • Efficient Water Management: By combining the capabilities of a French drain and a soakaway, this system ensures efficient management of excess water.
  • Eco-Friendly: Using recycled materials like crushed concrete and HDPE pipes makes the system environmentally sustainable.
  • Long-Lasting Solution: Proper installation and maintenance ensure that the system remains effective for years.

Installation of a French Drain Soakaway

Planning and Design

Before installation, it’s crucial to plan and design the system according to the specific needs of your property. Consider the following factors:

  • Location: Identify the lowest point in the area prone to flooding.
  • Materials: Choose high-quality materials like recycled gravel and HDPE pipes.
  • Depth and Width: Determine the appropriate depth and width of the trench based on the volume of water to be managed.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

  1. Dig the Trench: Dig a trench at the lowest point of the flood-prone area, ensuring it’s deep and wide enough to handle the expected water volume.
  2. Lay the Filter Membrane: Line the trench with a filter membrane to prevent sediment from clogging the system.
  3. Add Gravel and Pipe: Fill the trench with a layer of gravel, lay the perforated pipe, and cover it with more gravel.
  4. Install Soakaway Crates: Position the soakaway crates at the end of the pipe, wrapping them in geotextile fabric.
  5. Cover and Finish: Backfill the trench with soil and restore the surface to its original state, ensuring the system is discreet and functional.

Maintenance Tips

  • Regular Inspection: Periodically check the system for any signs of clogging or damage.
  • Clear Debris: Remove any debris from the surface that could enter the system and cause blockages.
  • Professional Maintenance: Consider professional cleaning services to ensure the system remains efficient.

The Environmental Benefits of French Drain Soakaways

Sustainable Materials

Using recycled materials for the construction of French drain soakaways not only makes the system cost-effective but also reduces environmental impact. Materials like crushed concrete and HDPE pipes made from recycled plastic are durable and eco-friendly.

Water Conservation

By managing excess water efficiently, French drain soakaways contribute to water conservation efforts. They help maintain the natural balance of groundwater levels, ensuring that the soil remains healthy and fertile.

Supporting Local Flora

Planting native, water-loving plants along the drainage path can further enhance the environmental benefits of a French drain soakaway. These plants help absorb excess water, reducing runoff and promoting a sustainable landscape.


A French drain soakaway is an innovative and efficient solution for managing excess water in both residential and commercial properties. By combining the strengths of French drains and soakaways, this system offers comprehensive water management, protecting your property from water damage and contributing to environmental sustainability. With proper planning, installation, and maintenance, a French drain soakaway can provide long-lasting benefits, ensuring that your property remains safe and eco-friendly.

Moreover, this dual system not only addresses immediate drainage issues but also promotes long-term ecological balance. By facilitating effective groundwater recharge and reducing surface runoff, it helps maintain the natural hydrological cycle. Implementing a French drain soakaway can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your landscape, as it discreetly integrates into the environment. As a forward-thinking drainage solution, it reflects a commitment to sustainable practices and responsible land management, making it a wise investment for any property owner seeking to mitigate water-related issues while supporting environmental health.

Why use Drain Blasters?

Cutting edge technology

Drain Blasters only works with the latest technology and equipment, using high pressure water-jetting.

Portable equipment

Our portable equipment can be carried into buildings and lifts in order to access those hard to reach places.

Scalable Equipment

Our fleet ranges in capacity and size from 1 to 10 tonne waste removal capacity and drain clearing capabilities, suitable for residential and industrial blockages.


Highly experienced teams

Our teams are made up of highly experienced individuals who are professional and friendly

24/7 Service

We are on call 24/7 to assist in the case of emergencies and short notice service

Competitive Prices

We offer highly competitive pricing while maintaining a high level of service

Our Services

Drain Clearing

Our experienced experts are available around-the-clock and are equipped with the latest drain clearing tools and technology to get the job done fast and effectively.

Liquid Waste Removal

We offer a professional, socially responsible & price effective solution as a leader in liquid waste management.

Septic Tank Cleaning

We specialize in septic tank cleaning and drainage, whereby we pump out and clean the contents of septic tanks.

Grease Trap Cleaning

Our grease trap cleaning process ensures a free flowing drainage system and alleviates odours in your workplace in a systematic, discreet and environmentally friendly manner.

Grease Traps

We proudly install grease traps into restaurants and institutions which require filtration of grease, fats, and oils from their wastewater.

Sewage Removal

We have extensive expertise and experience in resolving sewerage blockages of all sizes, with special care taken to dispose of sewage safely and effectively.

Areas We Service

Drain Blasters services almost all areas across Cape Town and Surrounding Areas

Airport Industria | Athlone | Atlantic Seaboard | Atlantis | Bakoven | Bantry Bay | Bellville | Bergvliet | Bishopscourt | Blackheath | Bloubergstrand | Bo-Kaap | Boland | Bothasig | Brackenfell | Brooklyn | Camps Bay | Capri Village | CBC | Century City | Claremont | Clifton | Clovelly | Constantia | Crawford | Crossroads | Culemborg | Darling | De Waterkant | Devil's Peak Estate | Diep River | Durbanville | Edgemead | Eersteriver | Elsie's River | Epping | Epping 2 | Epping 1 | Fish Hoek | Foreshore | Franschoek | Fresnaye | Gardens | Glencairn | Goodwood | Gordon's Bay | Green Point | Harfield Village | Heathfield | Hout Bay | Imizamo Yethu | Kalk Bay | Kenilworth | Kenwyn | Killarney Gardens | Kirstenhof | Kommetjie | Kraaifontein | Kreupelbosch | Kuils River | Lakeside | Lansdowne | Llandudno | Lotus River | Maitland | Malmesbury | Mamre | Meadowridge | Melkbosstrand | Milnerton | Montague Gardens | Mouille Point | Mowbray | Muizenberg | Ndabeni | Newlands | Noordhoek | Northern Suburbs | Observatory | Ocean View | Oranjezicht | Paarden Island | Paarl | Panorama | Parklands | Parow | Philippi Industrial | Pinelands | Pinelands | Plattekloof | Plumstead | Retreat | Rondebosch | Rondebosch East | Rosebank | Rugby | Sacks Circle | Salt River | Scarborough | Schotsche Kloof | Sea Point | Simon's Town | Somerset West | Southern Suburbs | SouthField | St James | Steenberg | Stellenbosch | Stikland | Strand | Sun Valley | Sunnydale | Table View | Tamboerskloof | Thornton | Three Anchor Bay | Tokai | Vredehoek | Waterfront | Wellington | West Beach | Wetton | Woodstock | Wynberg | Zonnebloem