Grading a yard is a process of changing and fixing slopes to make everything more level and smooth. When you know how to grade a yard, you are able to gently slope your yard away from your home foundation. At the same time, grading a yard is also helpful for adding a garden or pool and prevent flooding in low areas. It sounds like a lot, but it is not a very difficult task. All you need are the right tools and some time, and it is a good exercise for the weekends. Below are some tips on how to grade a yard properly, let’s see if you are familiar with the techniques.
Step 1: Identify The Slopes
The first thing that you have to do is locating the high and low points in your yard. This is to ensure that you know which area in the yard to start working on first. It is recommended to use spray paint to mark the high and low points, and it is convenient also. You can easily identify high and low areas by letting the water flow. If it is high, the water will drip and flow to various directions of the yard. As for the low yard, the water will form a spot that can be as small as a puddle or way bigger.
Step 2: Measure The Existing Grade
By measuring the current grade, you will be able to set your goal for the grade you want to achieve. In this step, you need 4 items including a line level, some string, a tape measure, and two wooden stakes. Pound one stake into the ground next to the foundation, and the second about 8 feet away. It is easier to calculate the slop when you separate the stakes by 100 inches.
After that, tie the string to the stake near the foundation and push it down to ground level. Stretch out the string so it is taut, then attach a line level to the string while holding it tightly. Center the level’s bubble to level the string while doing those before let it go. Then tie the string to the second stake and measure the distance from the string to the ground next to the second stake. Divide the distance by the distance between stakes (in inches) and multiply by 100 to get the slope percentage.
Watch This Video On How To Find Slope In Your Yard
Step 3: Grade The Yard
Depending on the size that you need to grade, you need topsoil in this process. Topsoil is basically dirt that you can find in bags at the hardware stores that costs about $2 for 40lbs. You can also have it delivered in trucks if you need a large amount of dirt for the yard. Once you have your topsoil, here are what you need to do:
- Dump the pile of dirt at the low points to build up those areas. You have to dump enough dirt to transform the low spot into a high point. Make sure that your dirt poles are taller than the number on the tape measure you just took.
- Shift the dirt around with a landscaping rake to increase the slope.
- Fill the slope by bringing extra dirt to the top and remove dirt from the bottom as needed.
- Use plywood or tamper to stamp down the dirty to ensure that you fill everything in the yard. Jump or walk heavily on the materials to make sure that the area is all good.
- Then water the areas so that the topsoil can compact and settle.
Step 4: Final Check
Once you have finished all the steps above, check the grade again using the process from Step 2. When everything is good for your liking, smooth everything out with a rake then water well to compact the soil. If you want to plant grass, seed them immediately because their roots will help bind the soil and prevent erosion. Then make sure to water your grass frequently (at least 5 times a day) to ensure its fast and healthy growth. In fact, you may need to plant some grass because the yard is not going to look pretty after grading. Then all you need is to wait for the grass to grow and transform your yard into a brand new place.