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Yard Grading: Why It Matters, How to Check It, and How to Fix it

yard grading tech working machinery

When you’re trying to protect your home from water damage, you’ll need to consider your options from every angle. If you’ve invested in waterproofing solutions before but still aren’t seeing the results you want, it may be time to call in a home inspector. Home inspectors will not only be able to explore your basement and foundation, but they’ll be able to look at the grade of your yard and determine whether it’s driving water toward your home.

What Is Grading?

Yard grading refers to how the ground around your home is intentionally sloped either towards or away from your home.

There are two kinds of grading: positive grading and negative grading.

  • Positive grading: when your home is at the property’s highest point and the rest of your yard slopes away from your foundation.
  • Negative grading: when your home is lower on a grade than some parts or the rest of your property.

Why Yard Grading Matters to Your Foundation

water pooling inside a basement

Homes with a negatively graded yard are more likely to deal with foundation issues like settlement or water seeping into your basementWhen you have a positively graded home, your foundation and basement are less susceptible to these problems.

When you’re purchasing or building a new home, it’s important to talk to an inspector about the grade of the land. Ideally, you’ll be able to build a new home at your land’s highest point. Alternatively, you can call a basement waterproofing professional like JES to implement foundation repair and/or basement waterproofing solutions.

How to Determine Your Yard’s Slope Level 

Before the spring rains arrive, you want to make sure you have the right grading. A simple check can help you determine whether the slope is adequate or needs to be regraded.  

Here is how you can measure your yard’s grading: 

  • Drive a short stake into the ground near your home’s foundation. 
  • Next, tie a string loosely to the stake. 
  • Slide the string down the stake so it rests on the ground. 
  • Measure out 10 feet from the first stake. 
  • Drive another stake in the ground and tie the other end of the string to it, making sure that it is at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Measure the distance from the string on the stake to the ground. 

Is it six inches or more? If yes, great!  

4 Telltale Signs of Poor Yard Grading

Without a home inspector’s experience, you may have a difficult time determining whether or not your land’s been appropriately graded. That said, there are some signs of poorly graded land you can look out for. These include:

1. Sponge-Like Soil 

If it’s been raining for what feels like days, or if part of your yard is gathering water, you’re likely to spot over-exposed soil. This soil is sponge-like in texture and rarely dries out. If these patches appear too close to your home, your foundation can rapidly fall victim to the effects of hydrostatic pressure.

2. Puddles Near Your Foundation (Ineffective Drainage)

puddle near home foundation

On a similar note, your yard and landscaping may not drain appropriately if your land is poorly graded.

Keep an eye out for puddles near your foundation after even lightest rain.

3. Mosquitoes 

Mosquitoes are a nuisance no matter where you find them. Ideally, you don’t want them flocking to your yard. Unfortunately, yards that have been poorly graded are havens for mosquitoes. These insects will happily reproduce near standing water, making your life all the more difficult.

4. Dying Grass 

If there’s too much water in your yard, you may notice your landscaped plants rapidly dying off. You’re not doing anything wrong as a gardener. Instead, your plants’ root systems are likely rotting due to overexposure to water. If you let your yard remain ungraded, you may start to see your grass dying off for similar reasons. 

3 Ways to Improve Yard Drainage

The good news is that the contractors working in the Virginia Beach, VA, area can help you regrade your home. Sometimes, this process is as simple as building up the soil foundation around your property. There are, however, other options you can discuss, including:

1. Catch Basin

Want to invest in a grading solution that looks visually appealing? Catch basins are grate-covered piping systems that direct water away from your home. When you cover these grates with gravel, they’ll blend right into the rest of your landscaping.

2. Gutters and Downspouts 

Cleaning out your gutters can be a pain. If you regularly clear them of gunk and grime, however, you’ll have a better chance of protecting your home from water damage. The same can be said for downspout installation. Downspouts will direct water away from the perimeter of your home and let you enjoy your property damage-free.

3. Waterproofing Your Basement 

When in doubt, you should always talk about your available waterproofing solutions with a professional contractor. While waterproofing your home won’t fix your yard’s grade, it will make it easier for you to keep water away from your belongings.

Call JES for Foundation Repair and Basement Waterproofing Today!

JES truck

Don’t let poor grading threaten the structural integrity of your home. Reach out to JES, the foundation and basement waterproofing experts near you today for a home inspection and a free quote

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