January 19, 2007, Newsletter Issue #47: How to Correct an Improper Grade

Tip of the Week

No, you don't correct an improper grade by complaining to the teacher. We're not talking about that kind of grade. We're talking about the grade or pitch of the grass and shrub-covered dirt you call your lawn which needs to slope away from your home's foundation to prevent your basement from filling up with water.

You can correct the problem yourself, if it is not to extensive by following a few easy steps. Be advised, if correcting your grade involves a great deal of work and transplanting, consider having a professional excavator and landscaper handle it. 1. Scrape away loamy topsoil, then add soil or rearrange dirt as needed, using digging tools, an iron rake and a wheelbarrow. The grade should slope away from the foundation at least 1 inch per foot (2.5 cm per 30 cm) for a distance of about 3 feet (1 m) minimum but preferably 10 feet (3 m), and leave at least 8 inches (20 cm) of foundation exposed under the siding, more in snowy climates. 2. Plant grass next to the foundation and locate planting beds 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 m) away from the building; or plant ground cover with a thick root system (which draws water out of the soil) rather than putting mulch (which holds water in) around the foundation.

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