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  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Default improving soil grade towards house

    Hi, our 50 yr old ranch home is situated downward from our street. We're about 50 feet from the street.
    There must have been at one time a positive soil grade towards the foundation of the house and a swail to divert the rain. Over time, the concrete front steps have dropped down 4 inches and there is a zero, or slightly negative grade towards the house. I believe I can still see where the swail used to be.

    If my husband and I decide to recreate the positive soil grade to the recommended 6 inch rise over a distance of 10 feet, what type of contractor would we be needing? A landscaper? a new home builder? I'm not sure what type of professional would have
    the right skills and tools...?
    Our ranch house is approx. 50 feet long, and the front face of the house needs the grade improvement.
    thanks, Susan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    Quote Originally Posted by susan j View Post
    Hi, our 50 yr old ranch home is situated downward from our street. We're about 50 feet from the street.
    There must have been at one time a positive soil grade towards the foundation of the house and a swail to divert the rain. Over time, the concrete front steps have dropped down 4 inches and there is a zero, or slightly negative grade towards the house. I believe I can still see where the swail used to be.

    If my husband and I decide to recreate the positive soil grade to the recommended 6 inch rise over a distance of 10 feet, what type of contractor would we be needing? A landscaper? a new home builder? I'm not sure what type of professional would have
    the right skills and tools...?
    Our ranch house is approx. 50 feet long, and the front face of the house needs the grade improvement.
    thanks, Susan
    well let me answer you in this way. if you call the home builder he will simply call the landscaper get a quote then add his percentage to that. but it should be noted that you still need to check the qualifications of the landscaper, some do what we call smoothing instead of grading. meaning that they really don't have the understanding of water flow. so cheapest landscaper doesn't equate out when you are looking at water flow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,616

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    If you're able bodied, you can do the work yourself. Easiest way would be to bring in top soil and spread it accordingly. If you aren't afraid of equipment, you could rent a tractor to move the existing dirt around. If you'd rather not do this yourself, then a landscape company or an excavation contractor, the latter should have the knowledge that Havana was talking about.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    I wouldn't start excavating or filling until I first determined the location and status of a septic system/distribution boxes/drainfield (running heavy equipment over might cause collapse) and if you have a private well, and had the utility marking services out to mark any underground services.

    You might also check with your local public works or streets and storm office to see if they offer any recommendations. If you're near a creek, river, resevoir, marsh or lake they might also have some special rules to avoid lawn and drive way run-off to those areas.

    You wouldn't want to fill to high to your foundation line keep right space from ground to outlets outside, and the exterior wall finish above the soil so you dont have bugs water mud slashing back up and stuff.

    sometimes the trick is to move what soil you have and make tiered walls with stones and drainage behind them, because future erosion might make sloped work return to what you have now. the design part of it is what you should get an expert for. the work part of it you might do yourself or hire it out.

    how absorbant your yard is would effect what you do to. what you bring in to fill might make it worse, like if you had good drainage in the soil but you brought in heavy clay and put it on the top you could create a mud pond that never drains or dries.
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 09-27-2008 at 12:24 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    if you contact qualified personel they will know what needs to be done and what methods are available for your area. it isn't something that needs to be over complicated, it should be a relatively easy fix.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,259

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    It's quite common for the fill around a house to settle over the years. It isn't complicated whether you do it yourself with or without equipment or hire someone to do it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    ...thanks to everyone for their responses. Yes, there's a lot to take into consideration before moving any dirt around.
    -Susan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,616

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    Please report back if you have any further questions as well as your progress with this project.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: improving soil grade towards house

    Oh my!

    Sounds like a job for the Army Corp of Engineers to me.

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