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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Need to grade down the side of house. Width on side of house is only ~7 ft - less some places. Have to work around AC condenser & one large tree on property line.

I can string a line in one shot - but it'll be ~ 8 - 12" off the brick wall, not down center of "drainage way." Most here will be done by shovel & raking.

Not sure if establishing the grade 1st - by shovel - right next to house w/ the sloped string say, 3.5" off ground - to slide piece of 2x4 under it - for a gauge to see if reached proper grade.

Then, use a level - perpendicular to the side of house & drive in short stakes - more in middle of drainage way, to the proper height? That's still a lot of eyeballing while shoveling, when you don't have a string to follow. My back gives trouble bending a lot, so the quicker, the better.

Driving grade level stakes every 2 ft (in middle of drainage way) would seem hard to shovel between.

Thanks.
 

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Driving grade level stakes every 2 ft (in middle of drainage way) would seem hard to shovel between.
Ayuh,.... Is this the 40'/ 50' yer talkin' 'bout in the knot thread,..??

To string line a swale, put a pin centered at the top, 'n another pin centered where ya want it to daylight,...
You'll need a pin at each turn, unless of course it's a straight line anyways,....

Pull a string line from pin to pin, makin' sure the elevation drops the entire way til it daylights,....

The 2x4 trick is a good one, as most rakes will clear under that point,....
Just dig/ rake, grade all but the 1/2' or 1' round the pins til it's done, pull the pins, 'n eyeball diggin' out the square foot ya left in place,....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. - Yes, same one.
What's "til it daylights?"

By "pins," you mean stakes driven in to final grade level?
Or, ones marked for grade level at that point, then tie strings?

Won't be much swale on side of house - for max volume.
In the front yard - yes. That swale needs adjustment.
These houses only have ~ 11 - 12 drop from back patios, across the back, down the side & across front yard to sidewalk. Not much to work with for hurricane country.

That's why you seriously need a water level & guide string - to see if you're creating a slope at all.
 

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Thanks. - Yes, same one.
What's "til it daylights?"

By "pins," you mean stakes driven in to final grade level?
Or, ones marked for grade level at that point, then tie strings?

Won't be much swale on side of house - for max volume.
In the front yard - yes. That swale needs adjustment.
These houses only have ~ 11 - 12 drop from back patios, across the back, down the side & across front yard to sidewalk. Not much to work with for hurricane country.

That's why you seriously need a water level & guide string - to see if you're creating a slope at all.
Ayuh,.... The swale "Daylights" where the bottom end, meets the current terrain,...

The stakes or pins are driven in, in the center of the swale to support the string line,....

Go rent a laser level, a water level ain't gonna work to set string elevations,......
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, sir.
stakes or pins are driven in, in the center of the swale to support the string line
"Support" - lay on top of stakes driven to proper depth, following desired slope?
Or, driven in higher than grade, to attach string to - by various methods? Even nails driven in at proper height & string rests on them?

Why won't a water level work to set string - either level or sloped?
If you know how to use them? They're extremely accurate, if don't have air bubbles. & use bigger tube - like 1/2".

Just make level marks from one stake to the next. Decide on slope needed & mark the down slope stake X inches lower than the up slope stake. String a line between them. Could put stakes in the middle to support string,if needed.
 

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Ayuh,.... Is the swale gonna be a straight line, or not,..??

If so, pound a stake in each end,...
Tie the string to one end, pull it tight, 'n slip it over the other stake,....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes & no. The "swale" is mostly straight, but AC condenser & small storage shed in the are obstructions in the drainage area - on opposite sides of the swale. At least, I'll have to use 2 strings. One ~ 12" off brick wall.

2nd string would start in front of storage shed. Go under it (string ~ 3.5" off ground - to use 2x4 gauge WITH a handle).

String will pass very close to AC - out to frt corner of the house. That's OK. At least a string will be more / less down the middle, on upslope / downslope sides of AC.

Shoveling by hand, I've found it easier to follow a slope, if a string is closer to the ground vs. 12" - 18" off - easier to eyeball or use gauge. Using power equip., you'd have to raise strings up.
 
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