Product That Works Guide to installing French drains, soakaways and attenuation cells

DRAINTEX drainage geotextile fabric from Growtivation’s Product That Works range has just the right balance of flexibility, permeability and durability to get the job done with long-lasting results. Here’s a Product That Works Guide to installing French drains, soakaways and attenuation cells using DRAINTEX:

French Drains

These simple-to-construct drains are used in both rural and urban settings. To create a French drain all you need to do is dig a trench deep and wide enough for the perforated drainage pipe, plus approximately 75mm of shingle around it.

Line this trench with DRAINTEX to stop the soil around the drain from mingling with the shingle and getting into the drainage pipe, as this would clog it very quickly. Leave enough spare geotextile fabric at the top to fold over the drain when filled with shingle.

Once the drainage pipe is in place and correctly surrounded in shingle, you can fold the DRAINTEX over the top and cover with soil before applying the surface finish.


French drains will often drain water to a soakaway. These can be used as part of a drainage system compliant with regulations around SuDS and are particularly suitable for areas of hard landscaping, such as paved areas or a driveway.

They work by allowing water to drain away from the surface and then be released slowly into the underlying ground, without putting extra pressure on already over-taxed conventional drainage networks.

Wrapping soakaway crates with DRAINTEX is essential to stop the void being filled up with silt, debris and soil, which then prevents it from working.

Be mindful that soakaways are not as effective in very clay soil as the water cannot easily drain away into it and are more suitable for smaller domestic applications.

Attenuation Cells

For larger commercial projects, domestic soakaway crates are replaced with larger attenuation cells which hold water and let it slowly drain away into the surrounding soil. Depending on the capacity required, you can join multiple cells together in a formation or stacked on top of each other if the space allows.

They’re made of strong plastic arranged in a lattice-type pattern to allow water to slowly drain out. Typically, they’re strong enough to be surrounded by shingle, buried to the depth required and covered with sub-base material for roadways or areas of hard standing. Different strength cells are available depending on the load bearing capacity required. Wrapping these cells in DRAINTEX stops the surrounding sand and mud from ‘silting’ them up.

DRAINTEX is available in a range of roll and pack sizes, from the Mini Roll at 1m x 10m to the Contractor Roll at 4.5m x 100m.

To ensure you have all the information you need to successfully install this drainage geotextile fabric download the Installation Guide, Tech Data Sheet and Brochure.

To find out more about the other ground control products in the Growtivation Product That Works range download our Landscaping That Works guide.

Or to find out where you can buy Growtivation geotextile fabrics visit our online Where to Buy facility or contact the friendly team at Growtivation for advice on 0800 197 8885 or email