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Yard and Soil Grading

The proper grading of your yard will help prevent water from pooling and endangering your home’s foundation. Here’s what you need to know.

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Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know what soil grading is and how it works. But once heavy rain begins to fall and water starts pooling in their yard, they find themselves in shock. This usually leads to flooding in their lower-grade levels and subsequently, damages. Read on as we explain everything you need to know about this concept.

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What Is Yard Grading?

Namely, grading describes the incline of the soil surrounding your home and how it relates to the structure. In some ways, it’s similar to the concept of the sea level. One part of your home can be above level and the other below. This means that one side of your yard should be higher than the others.

Professionals use terms like positive and negative grading to explain the effects of such positioning on these buildings and homes. 

Here’s what you need to know about these terms:

  • Positive grading: If your property is positively graded, your home is sitting on the highest point of your yard. The surrounding land slopes away from it and that’s a good thing. This type of grading can save you and your home from flooding and other water-related issues and problems.
  • Negative grading: Having a negative grading means that your home isn’t on the highest point of the yard. This can, unfortunately, cause water to flood towards it when heavy rains set in. You can regrade your yard with professional help. 

Signs That Indicate Negative Grading

Since it’s easy to mistake an oversaturated yard for a negative soil grading, here are some common signs to help you out.

  • Muddy soil: If your yard has negative grading, the roots of the plants close to your lower-grade levels will rot. The pores and gaps in the ground will be full of water.
  • Drainage issues: This is pretty obvious. Still, if you spot water in your basement or crawl space, you can immediately suspect you have a negative grading. In this case, it’s key to act immediately as you’ll face serious problems soon enough.
  • Mosquitoes: Although it might sound silly, mosquitoes can be a clear sign that the grading on your property is negative. Since there’s pooling water in the yard, mosquitos will flock to it because they love humidity.
  • Rotting grass: A negative grading can also cause damage to the grass. If you suddenly realize there’s rotting grass around your home, be sure to inspect the slope of the ground.

How Can I Be Sure I Have a Grading Problem?

Essentially, grading is all about the gradient slope of your yard. If it’s more than six inches, you have nothing to worry about. This means that you have more than enough slope and your home and its lower-grade level are safe enough. However, if the slope is less than those six inches, you should think about altering it by regrading your yard.

Adjusting the slope around your home is also important as it affects the drainage. You can create one by adding fill around the perimeter of your home and tamping it down.

How to Check the Slope Level

Grading your yard in time is essential. You want to do it before the rainy season starts. Luckily, it’s not the hardest of jobs to do. You can check the slope in six easy steps and contact professional help afterward.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Drive a straight stake into the ground next to your foundation.
  • Then, tie a thin rope or a string to the top of the stake.
  • Slide the rope/string down the stake and let it rest on the ground.
  • Measure out 10 feet away from the stake and toward the yard.
  • Drive another straight stake into the ground at that point and tie the other end of the rope/string to it (the string and stakes should form a 90-degree angle).
  • Lastly, measure the distance from the string on the second stake to the ground.

If the distance is six inches or more, you’re in the clear.

Counteracting a Negative Grading

With professional help, you can counteract the effects of negative grading on your yard. You can, of course, hire a landscaping company to re-grade your property. 

However, there are a few other solutions that do not require just an extensive effort as re-grading. You can have a catch basin installed, for example. With it, you’ll be able to successfully redirect water away from your home. This is a drainage system with a grate cover that blends with its surroundings and your lawn. Moreover, it can improve your yard’s curb appeal.

Aside from the catch basin, you can have your gutters and downspouts inspected. This is pretty important since water and melting snow come down from your roof. If the gutters and downspouts don’t work properly, they’ll allow water to pool next to the base of your home. 

Lastly, you shouldn’t shy away from waterproofing your basement or crawl space. This can make a world of difference when the rainy season starts. With proper installation, waterproofing elements will keep your lower-grade levels dry and safe. Although it won’t improve the grading, it will still prevent the slope from endangering your home.

Your best solution is to contact the professionals at FSM. Our team serves the Detroit area, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and surrounding areas in Michigan. Once you schedule a free inspection and estimate, the team will come to assess the situation and recommend the best waterproofing solutions for your home’s repair needs.

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