If you’re currently having problems with your landscaping, this write-up will be of help.
We’ll tell you what grading and landscaping are, their benefits, and how to carry out such an operation. We’ll notify you of its cost implications for hiring a landscaping company.
Landscaping and Grading
Landscape grading is a minor maintenance detail that hardly comes to mind in luxury landscape design.
Homeowners often consider planting trees and flowers, laying down nice-looking mulch, and maintaining grass. But do you know flat lawns can cause drainage issues that may damage properties and house foundations?
It may become worse if the lawn slopes towards your house. Water will be rolling downhill and collecting around your home.
When this happens, your property will be at risk of erosion.
To prevent serious problems, you may consider landscape grading. Although the maintenance job may not be glamorous, it’s worthwhile.
Definition of Grading and Landscaping
Before we move on, we’ll want you to understand these two important terms: landscaping and grading.
Landscaping is the process of altering the existing design of a piece of land to make it more attractive. It involves adding ornamental features and planting trees and shrubs.
Grading, on the other hand, is the process of flattering a problematic slope. Usually, the operation makes the landscape more uniformly smooth and level.
Additionally, it corrects the pitch of your yard so rainwater and other precipitation will flow away freely.
Landscape grading can now be defined as sculpting or leveling land. This modification is often done to add elements like plants, patios, paths, driveways, etc.
A well-graded landscape also helps prevent common land problems. We refer to erosion, waterlogging, and more.
Who Needs Grading and Landscaping?
Typically, anyone with an unlevel landscape will strongly require grading and landscaping. As mentioned above, it will ensure water flows away from your home and prevent eroding your property.
If you don’t level your yard correctly, it will result in potential concerns. These include soil erosion, structural damage, increased mosquitoes, foundation issues, etc.
Instead of falling victim to these issues, consider landscape grading. That way, you’ll ensure the safety of your family, properties, and people around you.
How Grading and Landscaping are Carried Out
An individual can carry out this operation alone.
However, it will significantly consume time and effort. Additionally, you’ll require adequate landscape grading tools and knowledge to do the job correctly.
But if you need more time, knowledge, and tools, inviting a professional landscaping company is best. They’ll do the job efficiently and promptly.
You can follow the steps below to grade your landscape successfully. Until then, you may need a digging permit to begin the project.
You can check your local requirements to know what you should and should not do. Additionally, you’re to mark utility lines and drainages before starting.
Take Measurements of Existing Landscape
Before you begin grading your landscape, you’ll need to know the size of the existing slope. This will help you understand the right tools to get for the project.
Additionally, you’ll see the number of inches or feet needed to level the ground. Ideally, the landscape around your house should have a slope of about 5%.
In other words, the ground’s surface 10 feet from your property should be 6 inches lower than the ground next to your foundation.
If the grade of your landscape is lower than 3% or above 25%, consider grading it. Such a slope can cause significant erosion on your property.
Meanwhile, some tools you’ll need for measurement include two stakes, a hanging string level, and measuring tape.
Clear any Obstruction
You’ll need to check the perimeter of your property for any obstructions before continuing the project. Low-lying pipes or vents can hinder your operation.
Therefore, you’ll need to extend these features to be above ground.
You’ll want to avoid blocking, burying, or damaging them. If you need to know the purpose of these features, you can consult an expert plumber to make changes.
Furthermore, you’ll need to protect basement windows that may be covered up by adding soil. You can use window wells to hold the dirt away from the glass.
Also, mark utility lines in the first few inches of topsoil. This will help you avoid damaging them in the next step.
You’ll need heavier machinery like a bobcat or mini excavator to reconstruct a sharp slope. However, if your pitch is gentle, you’ll need smaller equipment.
In this case, you’ll need a power tiller, a landscaping rake, a wheelbarrow, and a sheet of plywood. Sometimes, you’ll need enough extra soil to build up the grade.
Once you finish this, you move on to the next step.
Distribute the Soil
To work on the harder subsoil underneath, you must remove four inches of topsoil. To perform this operation, you’ll adequately require a power tiller to break up the soil into a movable quantity.
You can use your landscaping rake to move the ground around. Additionally, you’ll need a speck of fill dirt to build up new high areas.
You are to take the soil to areas that need elevation, starting from the foundation to the new high points. After laying the ground, smooth the back of your rake into a reasonably level surface.
Next, you lay your plywood and walk or jump to tamp the new soil. You can remove dirt from areas with high elevations. Once you’re done, leave 4–8 inches of your foundation uncovered above the new grade.
Cost of Professional Grading and Landscaping
For those who will invite a professional landscape grading company, you’ll need to know its cost implications—generally, the price range is between $1,000 and $5,000.
However, certain factors may influence the cost of this operation. Among them are labor, soil type, and materials needed for the project.
The cost may be cheaper if you want to grade your landscape yourself.
Buying a string level will cost $2, rake $60, dirt $15 per cubic yard, and seed $1–2 per square foot. When you calculate this cost altogether, it will amount to $500 to $1000.
Grading and landscaping are essential activities that homeowners should adopt. It plays a significant role in producing proper drainage for your yard, garden, or turf.
You can carry out the operation yourself or invite a professional. For those who will adopt DIY, the guide above will help you achieve a landscape of your choice.