If you have standing water puddles in your backyard every time it rains, chances are that you have drainage problems. Most water drainage problems are caused by an improperly graded slope around your home as well as clay soil that does not carry away water. Problems such as these can cause leaks in your basement or crawlspace. Installing a French drain around your home may be all it takes to fix a drainage problem.
Dig a trench that is 10 inches wide by 24 inches deep. This trench will act as a moat around your home. It should circle your home in a horseshoe configuration and flow downhill into the nearest drain system or culvert.
Line the trench with a permeable landscape fabric. This will allow water to enter your trench, yet will keep out dirt that can clog your drain pipe.
Slip your drainpipe into the sleeve of a drain fabric. This fabric is made of the same material as a landscape fabric, and will keep more soil from entering the pipe and clogging it.
Place your pipe on the floor of your trench, and cover it with pea gravel to within a few inches of the top of the trench.
Cover the gravel with approximately 3 to 4 inches of coarse sand. Disguise the trench by laying a carpet of sod over the sand.