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tomseeley 10-31-2010 09:11 AM

measuring slope of back yard with water level
I want to determine the amount of slope across my back yard, so I can figure out how and where to put in a segment of french drain to route surface runoff to either side of the yard and away from the foundation. There is a slight amount of slope but I want to know more before I decide what to do and where to do it.

I've heard of something I think is called a water level. It uses some clear plastic hose with water in it, to define a pair of points that are at the same elevation. Is this a reasonable way to measure points on wooden stakes, for example, to figure out how much drop or rise there is from one point to another?

I'm aware I could pound stakes in deep and hard enough to use a taut string and a level, but for the distances I'm considering, that isn't my first choice.

What else could I consider instead of just a string level?

Gary in WA 10-31-2010 02:11 PM

Cheaper than renting a laser or builder's level:


BigJim 10-31-2010 03:22 PM

I just went to a hardware store and bought the clear tubes that screw onto a water hose, it worked perfect.

oh'mike 10-31-2010 03:38 PM

Ole Jim---I never hear of the clear hose tips---Good idea----By the way,I used windshield washer juice to fill the water level--No bubbles,won't freeze and you can see it from a ways away.--M--

BigJim 10-31-2010 04:28 PM

Here you go Mike.

Mayes Level 10309 Water Level
Attachments That Instantly Turn Any Garden Hose Into A Water Level

Product Description: 2 Pack, Water Level, Attaches To Garden Hose To Determine Levels, Carded.

nap 10-31-2010 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by GBR in WA (Post 526181)
Cheaper than renting a laser or builder's level:


never used this reservoir level method. I can see some disadvantages to it but I can see some definite advantages as well. Dang, another tool to store...somewhere, right after I find room.

I did use that method to water and observe the water level in my Christmas tree stand though.

and those hose ends are neat. Sure saves buying 100' of clear tubing.

downunder 10-31-2010 04:53 PM

Now that's just plain cool!:thumbsup:

oh'mike 10-31-2010 04:54 PM

Thanks Ole Jim,I don't use them often--the tubing usually gets stiff and kinked between uses--
That will be on the shopping list next time I need one--Mike-

Daniel Holzman 10-31-2010 06:19 PM

We picked up a laser level set for about $50 at a store that was effectively giving them away. Awesome tool for the type of job you are doing, it included a tripod, rotating laser, and a fixed laser level. Certainly no more accurate than a water level, but so much easier to use over a distance greater than 20 feet. I used it recently to build a deck, very handy. You may be able to get a similar deal, we are talking about a system that could be at Harbor Freight or a similar store.

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