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What Is Yard Grading?

yard grading and maintenance

No matter how small or expansive your property may be, your yard is not a wasted space. It significantly influences your home’s condition and water management capabilities.

Yard grading—the way your soil and landscaping slope—can make or break your home’s safety. Proper grading protects your home, but incorrect slopes endanger structural stability and personal well-being.

In this article, we explain the ins and outs of soil grading and finer details that will help you save time and money on necessary repairs. 

Yard Grading Explained

Essentially, grading describes the incline of the soil around your home as it relates to the structure. It’s somewhat similar to the concept of sea level. One side of your home could be above sea level while the other could be below. In turn, some parts of your yard could be higher than others. It’s not uncommon for homes in North Carolina to reside on both the higher and lower parts of their yard.

There are two types of yard grading:

1. Positive Grade

Having positive grading means that your house sits on the highest point of the property. In this case, the land around the structure slopes down and away from it. Usually, positive grading can save your home from flooding and other water-related damage. 

2. Negative Grade

If your home has negative grading, it is at a lower level than the rest of the yard. Unfortunately, when there’s heavy rain in the area, the water will flood towards your home and its foundation. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t prevent such scenarios with professional help. 

How Yard Grading Affects Your Home

Without proper yard grading, your home can significantly suffer. It may not always be as easy to tell whether negative grading is present and affecting your home. Here are some telltale signs:  

water saturating a basement floor
  • Soggy soil
  • Puddles of water collecting near your home
  • Mosquitoes around these puddles
  • Areas of dead grass
  • Water in your basement

None of these problems, especially the latter, will get better on their own. As soon as you notice an issue, reach out to a local basement waterproofing professional like Tar Heel Basement Systems for help with protecting your basement.

How to Check Your Yard Grade

Along with ensuring a positive grade, your yard needs the right level of slope; a slope of 6 inches or more is optimal for drainage.

Here’s how to check your property:

  • Drive a straight stick into the ground beside your foundation. 
  • Tie a thin rope or a string to the top of the stick. 
  • Slide the rope/string down the stake and let it rest on the ground. 
  • Measure 10 feet away from the stick and toward the yard. 
  • Drive another straight stick into the ground and tie the other end of the rope/string to it.
  • Ensure the string and the sticks form a 90-degree angle. 
  • Measure the distance from the string on the second stick to the ground. 

4 Ways to Improve Your Yard’s Grading and Drainage

Negative grading isn’t the end of the world. You can take the following steps to improve your yard’s slope and drainage:

1. Invest in Professional Regrading

By adding fill around the perimeter of your home and tamping it, you can shift the situation in your favor. Afterward, you should check the slope gradient to be sure that it’s at a desirable level. Landscaping professionals in North Carolina can help you out. 

2. Install Catch Basins

A catch basin is a piping system that successfully directs water away from your home. It features a grate cover that blends with its surroundings and your lawn, and it also improves your yard’s curb appeal. 

3. Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

Another thing to keep in mind is the water and melting snow that come from your roof. Without quality gutters and downspouts, you’ll have additional problems as the excessive water will form puddles right next to your foundation. And, if you already have them, you should keep them clean, clearing any leaves and clogs that might disrupt their performance. 

4. Waterproof Your Basement

installing a basement sump pump

Besides these techniques, you should investigate waterproofing your basement. Tar Heel Basement Systems installs customized solutions, including interior drainage, sump pumps, wall vapor barriers, and dehumidifiers. This comprehensive system will make a world of difference when it comes to flooding and other water-related issues. It won’t improve your negative grading, but it will prevent it from disrupting the structural safety of your home. 

Protect Your Basement with Tar Heel’s Trusted Solutions!

Don’t let water draining next to your home because of improper yard grading endanger your family’s safety. Be proactive! For help with keeping your basement dry, contact our team at Tar Heel Basement Systems to schedule a free inspection today.

Homeowners throughout North Carolina have trusted our personalized approach, excellent customer care, customized basement waterproofing solutions, and attention to detail for over 20 years. You can experience the same excellence and peace of mind too!

Yard Grading FAQs

When adding a positive yard grade, it’s generally recommended to have a slope of at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet away from the foundation. This slope allows water to drain away from the home efficiently.

While minor grading projects can be DIY-friendly, significant regrading or drainage issues may require professional assistance to ensure proper slope, drainage systems, and long-term effectiveness.

No, proper grading and drainage are essential but may not solve all water-related problems. Other factors, such as foundation cracks, leaky pipes, or high groundwater levels, may also need to be addressed.

Related Resources

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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