Grading Land: Landscapes and Lawns

Author: Touré Foster

Posted in: Drainage | Grading

Grading Land: Landscapes and Lawns

Beautiful landscapes are like a vacation for the eye. But many landscapes come up short of their potential. Many variables affect a landscape like climate, quality of soil, and the natural contour of the land. Obviously, a generally flat ground will be much different than a generally hilly ground. It seems all New Englanders will likely find some element of elevation to deal with. Grading is directing the land so that it retains its natural beauty while being more conducive to practical needs.

Why Grade?

One of the most important reasons for grading is that it encourages drainage. It has often been said that the best way to solve a problem is to anticipate it before it occurs. That is one of the essential purposes of grading. The main problem most landscapes can have is excess water. Sump pumps and other water protection methods will usually do a good job of keeping your basement or cellar dry, but they don’t actually solve the problem. Proper land grading will solve the problem by forcing water away from your structure and not allowing it to pool on your property in the first place.

Importance of Drainage

  • Good grading will ensure proper lawn drainage. If you have a backup of water on your property it can encourage the breeding of mosquitos. Those little insects can make a summer evening insufferable.
  • Excess water trapped on your lawn can also damage plants and erode soil in and around gardens. This can greatly increase the amount of effort required to maintain a garden and also affect the productivity of your garden.
  • Additionally, grading is designed so that water runs away from your house. If this is not the case, basement flooding is a real possibility. A sump pump or other anti-flooding mechanisms are great strategies, but drainage as the first line of defense. Proper drainage will severely reduce the need for sump pumps if not eliminating it all together.

Other Reasons for Grading

Grading actually adds a subtle beauty from the gentle slopes in your landscape. Although it seems counter-intuitive, the connection between math and art drew the interest of men like Da Vinci and even earlier builders who studied symmetry and the mathematical properties of aesthetics. Though it may not sound impressive, a gentle slope is more appealing to the eye then an uneven or disrupted landscape.

Grading is the foundation of other landscape work. Grading is essentially the foundation of landscaping. A good foundation is not something a home owner will think about often but the importance of it cannot be understand. Similarly, grading enables the beautification of landscaping while preventing flooding, erosion, and runoff.

General Grading

Many yards have undergone what is known as general or rough grading. This is when an excavation contractor does some basic grading to make marginal improvements in drainage and aesthetics. However, the contracting team will usually keep their efforts to a minimum to reduce costs. Additional grading is often a good idea, especially on older houses.

The Process of Grading

Here are the steps that an excavation contractor will generally follow when grading:

  • Remove topsoil
  • Excavate soil
  • Perform rough grading (large amounts of soil, like cutting into a hill for a driveway)
  • Install irrigation
  • Backfill soil
  • Finisher grading (ensuring final grading ratios are met)

Each lawn is unique and the process will slightly vary depending on climate, existing landscape, budget, and personal preferences.

Land grading and site preparation are the first steps to a beautiful landscape. Make sure your grading is done appropriately before you move on to other, more exciting landscaping projects. New England Enterprises of Marlborough, MA has the excavating equipment and years of experience needed to do the job right. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your yard transformation, from start to finish!