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Old 06-10-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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How to regrade yard


Just bought an old house with a little slope problem with water flowing toward the foundation, not major slope, just a little. The house/yard is small so I'm trying to regrade the yard myself. I have read a ton of online instructions on regarding yards but I'm stil confused about what exactly to do.

Basically I read that I can :

1. buy topsoil from home improvement stores and put them on the current soil to create slopes away from the foundation

2. must remove the current topsoil and put in clay soil to create slopes, then put back the topsoil removed

Which one is true ? Also what type of soil should I use for regrading, is it just topsoil or clay soil ? I know I can get topsoil from home improvement store but where do I get clay soil ?

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
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How to regrade yard


I've never heard of the clay soil suggestion.

It will probably be much more expensive buying top soil by the bag. Call a company that will deliver a load of top soil to your house. If you have a truck or trailer, you can go there and pick it up. That'll save you the delivery charge.

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Old 06-10-2009, 09:05 PM   #3
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How to regrade yard


How much dirt do you need?
At this house I put down edgers on one side (buried even with the grass) & used the dirt I dug out to reslope that side
I've always used just reg dirt
Between that & directing downspouts away from the house I no longer have much water going into my sump pit

You want to make sure you do not have dirt within (8" ?) of any wood/siding/studs on the house. I prefer more like 12"

My last house I had a few yards delivered to fill in an area where a pool used to be. Buying by the bag makes it easy to spread out. Shoveling it into a wheel barrow, then wheeling it into the back yard was a PIA. But I was younger then
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:53 AM   #4
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How to regrade yard


It's not much dirt, I don't know how to describe, but the length of the area that I need to regrade is about 15 foot long along the foundation wall.

So you mean I don't even need to pull the grass, just buy some topsoil and pile it on top of the existing soil ? Is this the soil I need to get :

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...758&lpage=none

What company do I call to buy soil by the load ?
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:28 PM   #5
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How to regrade yard


In order to buy soil, bulk or by the bag, you'll need to figure out how much you need: you're a third of the way there. You said it was 15' along the foundation. How far away from the house do you want to regrade? (If we say 2', that gives you a square footage of 30' -- and now you just need to figure out roughly how deep)

Once you know the cubic footage, you can order or buy bulk. Google, yahoo, yellowpages your city/town for a landscape provider: they typically sell soil, mulch and rock -- that sort of thing. You should also run the numbers: as mentioned above there's a financial savings to buying bulk if you need large quantities, but the "hidden" cost is having to receive the material on your driveway and then moving it to the location.

In my experience, grass will only grow through a thin layer of additional topsoil -- say 1/4-1/2" maybe a little more, but if you need to add an inch or several inches, I suspect the topsoil will cover the grass and kill it (granted, I was also driving a bobcat over my front lawn when I covered it with soil from a digging project).

Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:31 AM   #6
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How to regrade yard


Why not just dig out a swale a couple of feet (or whatever is appropriate) away from the house and throw that dirt against the house? By the way, a swale is just basically a ditch- only more of a slight depression that will allow water to flow in a preferred direction. Or to accomplish the same, use a rototiller if you have access to one and dig down a couple of inches. That will make your finish raking much easier and smoother. No need to buy any kind of soil.

Like SD said, just don't get it too high against the house.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:48 AM   #7
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It's a pain.

Find your level by putting posts and strings all over the area or
take a pic. from above when it rains. Water is a perfect level.

Try to figure out if your planned slope(s) will have the water just run off, or soak in, or some combination. Tech books on landscaping will have this info. Peek at them at your local Border's or Barnes & Nobel.

You are dealing with a three dimensional surface and there are only a half dozen or so basic shapes that you can use, a swale being one of them.
Obviously a level and plane surface doesn't work; that's what you have now. In this case the reason it doesn't work is because the water doesn't soak in fast enough.
At worst, slope pitches are limited by "the angle of repose."
Figure compacted soil takes up half the volume of loose soil.

Also, figure out if your design can withstand a 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20 year rainfall, in the sense of levees withstanding rarely occurring but very heavy storms.
More years = more bucks up front.
"a 100-year flood" to mean a "flood with a 1% probability of occurring in any given year."

We ended up putting pipes to the street.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-02-2009 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:47 AM   #8
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How to regrade yard


Yoyizit
I'm all for doing it right, but isn't that a little overkill?
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Yoyizit
I'm all for doing it right, but isn't that a little overkill?
I did it piecemeal with swales, French Drains, the whole bit, and ended up having to finally do it right. The water will go wherever it wants; all you can do is divert it or have it soak in, and I recommend diversion.

If you decide on the piecemeal approach, decide ahead of time at what point you will put no more labor or $ into the project, and instead hire people who do this for a living. Otherwise you get on a slippery slope, throwing good money after bad.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs

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Old 07-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #10
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How to regrade yard


I have a similar issue. When my father (now passed) added on to the back of the house he poured concrete pads, but we get water in where the floor meets the framing. The ground outside comes up to the top of the pad. And yes, I understand it can't.
So last yearI dug down below the poured pad on one 10 ft section, put gravel, then perferated pipe - covered it with a bit more gravel and a light layer of topsoil. It still leaks into the room and the panelling is molded and water damaged.

I am thinking that perhaps I should run one of those black accordian-looking pipes on out beyond the house about 10 feet underground at a downward angle to pull the water further from the house. But I have 30' more that needs done beside that room that was done last year.

Open for advice. I do know that the slope of the yard runs toward the house not away. I hate to have to regrade the entire area (I figure at least 20 feet out to get the grade right). But I need a true fix - not a jimmy-rigged fix. I welcome all thoughts.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:12 PM   #11
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How to regrade yard


Quote:
Originally Posted by stxchick View Post
the slope of the yard runs toward the house not away. I hate to have to regrade the entire area (I figure at least 20 feet out to get the grade right). But I need a true fix - not a jimmy-rigged fix. I welcome all thoughts.
Maybe use a mud pump or slurry pump, with a float switch?
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:07 PM   #12
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How to regrade yard


Every single downspout here has drainage tile running from 75' to well over 125'.

Where I had utilities I hand shoveled the line ( tile shovel ) the others I rented a trencher. ( request a HEAVY marking from "JULIE" before any digging).

A garden tiller, garden rake , shovel & line levels can go quite far on small projects.

Don't forget the elbow grease !

If you need top soil delivered ask for pulverised , you'l have to weight the cost against box store bags.

Forget the clay, I know , I have more than my fair share of it.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #13
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How to regrade yard


Quote:
Originally Posted by High Gear View Post
Every single downspout here has drainage tile running from 75' to well over 125'.

Where I had utilities I hand shoveled the line ( tile shovel ) the others I rented a trencher. ( request a HEAVY marking from "JULIE" before any digging).

A garden tiller, garden rake , shovel & line levels can go quite far on small projects.

Don't forget the elbow grease !

If you need top soil delivered ask for pulverised , you'l have to weight the cost against box store bags.

Forget the clay, I know , I have more than my fair share of it.
whats wrong with using clay
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:31 AM   #14
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How to regrade yard


Water should primarily run away from the foundation and only secondarily soak in.

Depending on the terrain you may need to make precision level measurements to be sure you have some slope away from the house. If you err the other way, you may be going down so fast you need to excavate portions of the yard to keep the slope going.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:41 AM   #15
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How to regrade yard


A minimum 1% slope will keep from having standing water if your soil is impermeable.

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