French drains require little in the way of maintenance, assuming they were built correctly in the first place, as noted on BobVila.com. If roots and dirt clog the system, these things must be removed to provide adequate drainage. When removing roots or dirt, wrap the pipe in landscaping fabric to prevent further problems.
When laying a French drainage system, it is important to remember that over time, roots, dirt and dead leaves can infiltrate the system causing a backup. It is necessary to use landscaping fabric to prevent this from happening. Homeowners can either purchase landscaping fabric separately or purchase perforated pipe that comes wrapped in fabric. If a backup occurs in the system, it should be removed by using a pressure washer or plumber's snake.
To be completely effective, a French drain should be at least 12 inches wide and between 18 and 24 inches deep. It is best to always position the drain below the slab or finished floor level, especially when preventing basement flooding and moisture.
French drains should be at a slope of one inch for every eight feet of length in ensure proper drainage. It is necessary to remember that the wider the drain, the more effective it is at removing water.
Some homeowners prefer using rainwater in their gardens and opt for a catchment barrel at the end of the drain for this purpose. This barrel should be kept relatively clean.