Landscape Grading: The Foundation to a Beautiful Yard

Landscape Grading: The Foundation to a Beautiful Yard

Paul’s split-ranch sits on a 1/3-acre property in a tree-lined neighborhood. When the house was built in the 1972, rainwater would flow out of the back yard. Proper landscape grading enabled the water to flow from a channel in an easement that ran along the property into a culvert in the back and then to a drainage pipe.

About five years ago, the town dug up the channel to replace a sewer pipe. The result? According to Paul, snow melt and rainwater no longer drain out of his back yard. Instead it accumulates, creating large puddles through the late winter and spring months.

“It’s a swamp,” Paul says, “and sometimes there’s enough standing water to look like a pond.” Even when there’s less rain or more sun to evaporate the water, the yard stays too muddy to mow, especially in April in May.

“The lawnmower wheels sink into the mud and then just spin. You can’t go anywhere.” Paul adds.

Standing water issues

The standing water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Moss and fungi thrive in the wet conditions. To make matters worse, the excess water has created an uneven lawn surface, which is difficult to mow even when the lawn is dry.

“You end up scalping your lawn on the high spots and then not cutting the grass where it’s low— It’s a mess.”

Not only can a poorly graded yard hold too much water, it can also send water towards a home’s foundation, which leads to flooded basements and cracked foundations.

If Paul’s yard situation sounds familiar to you, you need to grade your landscape to create that beautiful yard.

Plan your landscape grading project

Grading your landscape provides the stable foundation. You will want the land to graded away from the foundation of your home. The grading should divert water towards any existing drainage channels or towards wooded areas to disperse snow melt and rainwater.

Talk to your town or city hall and be sure to ask:

  • What type of permit is required for the project,
  • Which codes, if any, may apply to the grading, and
  • Whether or not the completed project will need to be inspected by the town/city.

Do your research

  • Check Angie’s List and/or Yelp for reviews of local contractors.
  • Request quotes for the project. Obtain two or three estimates to compare costs. As part of the estimate, the contractor needs to measure your yard and explain the process that will be used to grade or regrade it.
  • Be sure that the contractor provides details about the project such as if the permit costs and lawn seeding are included or additional.
  • Contact your state’s licensing board to verify that the contractor’s license is current. Use a licensed contractor do the work, so that you can be assured of an optimal result.
  • Check contractor references. When you ask your contractor for references, get phone numbers and/email addresses of actual customers whom you can contact directly.

Sign a contract

Once you have decided on your contractor, sign a contract that includes:

  • A full description of the work,
  • Costs for materials and labor,
  • A timeline for the project and expected completion date, and
  • A schedule of payments.

Enjoy your beautiful yard

Don’t live with a yard that is unusable. Take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy the outdoors on your newly landscaped yard.

Does your yard “make the grade?” If not, contact New England Enterprises for a consultation and quote!