Grading Your Yard

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You've probably heard of landscape grading before, but mostly have thought of it as something that's done to level out the land before construction of a building can begin. This is true, but you can also grade uneven land as way of making the property around your home more useable. This is a project that you can undergo on your own if you feel comfortable operating a bulldozer, but this is a good one to leave to the professionals. Here's a quick look at the grading process:


Unfortunately, you can't simply plow away a hill without consequence. The makeup of your property affects the way water drains. Your home, as well as the homes of your neighbors, was built with the knowledge that water around them drained in a certain way. Grading can change the way water drains. A mound or hill that's there now may be preventing water from pooling into your lawn or into a neighbor's basement.

It's important, therefore to find out what the drainage process looks like in your property before you proceed. Wait for a heavy rain, and then observe how the water drains, projecting what would happen to that water if you made certain changes to the landscape. This is hardly an exact science and you may not feel comfortable doing it on your own. If this is the case, consider hiring a professional to evaluate things for you. He or she will have more precise means of evaluating the situation.

If a project you want to undertake will affect the way water drains in a negative way, don't worry; your project is most likely still doable. You can work around the problem in several ways, such as installing drainage systems, digging drainage ditches, or in some other way diverting water to a safe location.

Using the Bulldozer

Before start bulldozing, have plan for what you're going to do with the extra dirt. Find somewhere to you can dispose of it legally, or sell it off to landscape developers or someone else who might be in need of extra soil. Once you know where the dirt is going, you can start bulldozing, removing dirt one layer at a time.

The trick to bulldozing is to avoid compacting the rest of the soil in your yard, which happens by running the bulldozer back and fourth over the same spot repeatedly. Try to avoid approaching from the same angle over and over again. If the soil ends up being too compacted, crops, grass, and anything else will have trouble growing it in.

After the project is done, carefully monitor your yard's drainage during the next heavy rainfall. If problems crop up, take measures to counteract them, as mentioned above. Hopefully, though, you won't have any problems and you can fully enjoy your newly shaped yard!

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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