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Old 03-01-2012, 11:18 PM   #1
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Leveling land


My property is on a hill not to bad but very noticeable. My driveway actually goes uphill at a slant but again not that bad. What is bad though is it seems like my garage was literally built onto this hill and that isn't that bad but on the north side i have grass and about 3-4 feet (I have never measured but that is an accurate guess) from the foundation of the garage is my neighbors fence and while i don't want to mess with the fence or screw up the foundation of the garage, I also want to level that ground there. It has bothered me for a while because it is at such an angle its hard for me to mow between there and get my yard cart through there. So down to the question. What can i do to fix this, add dirt, take dirt away, or what i was planning on doing is taking either wood or stone pavers and make it a little more level and put dirt on top of that. I don't care if you guys think thats a stupid idea or not I'm 15 years old with a lot of interest in construction. So please feel free to criticize any of my threads cause it helps me learn. Thanks.

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Old 03-02-2012, 12:07 AM   #2
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Okay. That's a stupid idea.
Kidding.
What's the point of the pavers if you're just going to throw dirt over them anyways?
If you remove dirt, it sounds like you'll undermine either your foundation or the fence.
If you add dirt, will you end up with wood against dirt (the garage)?


Last edited by titanoman; 03-02-2012 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Well i thought about putting pavers down and then dirt on top just to keep the dirt from washing away. And thats basically what i was thinking to do with pieces of wood as well. And i could add dirt but if i did I'm worried about it washing out with rain and through the chain link fence, and into my neighbors garden bed, which is right up on the fence line. O actually how hard do you think it would be if i made a perimeter of pavers high enough to match how high it is on the garage foundation, then fill it in almost like making a garden bed. Then i wouldn't have to worry about it washing into my neighbors yard. Tell me what you think.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:01 PM   #4
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First, good for you for wanting to take on a project at your age and also good for you for not caring about what others think. You must be a big help to your parents.

You may want to reconsider flattening out that slope. Although you did point out that its a pain to cut the grass, on the other hand the slope helps drain away rain that could otherwise make its way into your basement.

You have come to the right place to ask for help. There are lots of knowledgeable and helpful people around here that would be very pleased to help you with any of your ideas.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beans50
Well i thought about putting pavers down and then dirt on top just to keep the dirt from washing away. And thats basically what i was thinking to do with pieces of wood as well. And i could add dirt but if i did I'm worried about it washing out with rain and through the chain link fence, and into my neighbors garden bed, which is right up on the fence line. O actually how hard do you think it would be if i made a perimeter of pavers high enough to match how high it is on the garage foundation, then fill it in almost like making a garden bed. Then i wouldn't have to worry about it washing into my neighbors yard. Tell me what you think.
It'll wash away whether it's flat or not. After leveling it, however you go about it, you need to plant grass or a ground cover (even though you will be driving over it) to control erosion.
And if it slopes away from your garage right now (I don't think you said which way it slopes), and then you level it, you may need to install a French drain against the garage to avoid undermining the foundation or seepage into your garage.

Last edited by titanoman; 03-02-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:34 PM   #6
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Were all guessing unless we can have some pictures.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #7
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Hear Clinton has to build a retaining wall to keep the fill from washing away and/or to not undermine the garage foundation. Some pictures would help.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:09 AM   #8
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Sorry i never even thought about pictures. I'll put a couple up tomorrow.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:18 AM   #9
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And share more about the housing development around you.

I once was asked to step in as a voice of reason and appointed mediator for a housing development where the developers just scraped the land to make room for foundations and driveways. Really, a few hours work with giant earth moving machines. Total disregard, of course, for the natural lay of the land.

Individual homeowners like you started getting creative and, parcel by parcel, grading and draining land into each others property. People, as is the American way, were suing each other. I entered as a friend of the Court overseeing all the stupid lawsuits. My solution as arbitrator, was binding. To a point. But it worked out this time.

Turns out the solution was bringing the hood together and investing in a civil engineer and grading contractor to restore the land to what it was but shaped for the houses that now sit upon it. Everybody's drainage and grading problems were solved. Property values went up. Nobody took a foot off mowing turfgrass on a slope.

Neighbors talked to each other again.

Call a landscape architect, grading contractor, or civil engineer. They are surprisingly inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. If you change your grade and it effects your neighbor downstream of water, just to start, you will hear about it eventually. Fix the land damage the developer did to you.

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Old 03-03-2012, 04:25 PM   #10
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Here is a picture i found from a while ago before my neighbor took down her fence and put up a chain link. It doesn't look that bad but when your trying to get a wheelbarrow or a yard cart or a full dumpster through there, its actually pretty hard to keep it from tipping.
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
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Beans, It may be a pain, but the builder designed it that way for a reason. I wouldn't mess with it
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #12
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The slope is ideal to shed water away from the house. My advise is to leave it alone. what is on the other side of the house?
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:38 PM   #13
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On the other side of the house is a dog pen. Though it might be good to leave it, I'm not sure. Because this garage was basically a weekend project my dad did. Yes that was a slight exaggeration, but I'm sure the slope isn't that important for drainage, as it already floods in there with a lot of rain.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:43 AM   #14
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That is a gentle slope and actually, as others have said, looks appropriate for draining water away from the garage.

If you were to build it up on the low end at the fence, you would need a low wall to hold the soil. I would not do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. Water must drain somewhere. If you make the area level, it will have no where to go. I know you said it puddles there (and I don't quite understand why), but leveling it out will make the drainage worse. You are lucky that it is graded this way.
  2. You are making a lot of work for yourself. Sometimes you have to analyze the best solution...one that is reasonable as far as time and costs go.

Here is what I would do.

  • I would eliminate the grass completely by planting ground cover. This will be totally low maintenance.
  • It looks shady and if so, you could use Pachysandra, Vinca (slower grower) or Ivy (good if you live in the North U.S.).
  • Since you have the room, install bluestone stepping stones for access from the front to the back. You can level them and slightly re-grade at a steeper amount towards your neighbor. You really are not suppose to re-grade to create issues for neighbors, but I think this grade will still be pretty small. In addition, the plants will absorb water to help.


Now you have a pretty area, access, and no mowing. Here are some photos. These are much more involved than what I had in mind...the areas are wider and various plants were used (which you could do too if you wanted too) instead of a simple ground cover.


Stone Walkways

The time, money and effort you were going to spend leveling out the area could be spent creating something practical and lovely!
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:21 AM   #15
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"Terrace" it. This is how farmers solve the same problem so they can run tractors on slopes

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