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, proper landscape grading ensured that rainwater would flow out of the back yard. Water would 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.

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.”

Landscape Grading to Minimize Flooding, New England Enterprises, Marlborough, MA
Poor Grading Creates Flooding

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, here’s what you need to know about building a beautiful yard:

Start with a stable foundation for your yard, which means grading your landscape. The area will need 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.

Budgeting for a Project, New England Enterprises, Marlborough, MA
Plan Your Project

Next, plan your project. 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. Make sure that the contractor measures your yard and explains the process that will be used to grade or regrade it. Ask if the permit costs are included or additional.
  • Contact your state’s licensing board to verify that the contractor’s license is current. Only 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.

Lastly, 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.

Once the landscape grading project is completed, your contractor should replace your grass by reseeding. After the grass has grown, you can enjoy your beautiful yard!

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