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Whether minor or major, improper grading can be a hassle for the homeowner. You may have
muddy garden beds due to depressions or even severe flooding. Flooding caused by heavy
precipitation, melting snow, or runoff may pose problems for all kinds of properties. Older and
newer houses, residential and commercial developments may be at risk for flooding if proper
precautions are not taken.

The first rule of grading is that the ground should slope away from your house in all directions so
that it drops at least 2 or 3 inches for every ten feet. The finished grade should also end up
matching the level of existing fixtures, such as permanent walks and patios, as well as areas of
lawn that are not being replanted.

If you will be replanting with seed and adding one inch of amendments, grade so that the level is
one inch lower than fixtures. If you will be replanting with sod and adding an inch of amendments,
the grade should be about two inches lower than your fixtures. Your goal is to have the finished
grade--after the sod has been planted and amendments added--even with the level of your fixtures.

The proper way to re-grade is first to remove the topsoil from the problem area. Make adjustments
to the subsoil by scraping away high areas and filling in low areas. Then spread two inches of the
reserved topsoil over the subsoil, and till it into the first two inches of subsoil. This will help prevent
drainage problems between the two layers of soil. Lastly, spread the rest of your topsoil, which
should make up at least another 4 inches. If you need to add topsoil, buy a loam that's free of debris,
such as roots or stones. It should also be free of weed seeds and pesticides. A landscaping rake is
the best tool for working topsoil to the proper grade if you're doing it yourself.

The maximum slope in a lawn should be 12 inches for every 4 feet. If the drop is greater than 12 inches,
you should plan to build a low retaining wall or cover the slope with a hardy ground cover or ornamental
grass. There are some things that you as a homeowner can do on your own. Take a walk around your
property. Notice if there are any easily filled depressions, or if the entire are around the house will need
re-grading. If it’s a minor job, order a deliveryof fill dirt from a local construction company, landscape
supply or nursery. Fill the depressions and allow to settle for a few days. After the first rain, check
again to see if you need to refill.

If your problem is more extensive, it’s advisable to call an excavation contractor or Landscape company
with grading experience. Trying to ‘do it yourself’ on uneven ground, with little or no experience with a
tractor spells trouble and possible injury. The job may require installation of drain tile as well and that can
be a job in itself. Save yourself the hassle and let a professional do the dirty work.


Landscape Installation