6 Steps for Regrading Your Yard Around Your Home’s Foundation

Jess Lynk
Written by Jess Lynk
Updated September 28, 2021
Two story red home
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Grab your shovel

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When your yard isn’t leveled, it can definitely ruin your curb appeal. But beyond aesthetics, an unlevel yard can mess with your drainage, causing foundation issues—and a big headache. Luckily, you can keep your home safe by regrading your yard.

Why Do You Need to Regrade Your Yard?

Grading your yard is when you level the lawn’s surface by moving dirt from higher places in your yard to the lower areas, evening out any slopes that go towards your home.

A proper grade moves water away from your home and toward a drain, usually at the curb. Otherwise, water can sit by your foundation and seep into your home. Regrading also solves issues with water pooling in your lawn, which is not only an eyesore but also attracts mosquitoes and damages your grass. 

Follow these five tips on how to properly regrade your yard and save your foundation.

1. Spot the Signs

If you see water pooling around your foundation, sidewalk, or anywhere in your yard, it’s time to regrade. You can also bring in a local contractor who will analyze your yard’s grade and determine whether or not it’s working properly.

2. Find Your Grade

Sloping backyard with patio area
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To grade your own yard, you need to determine how the water is flowing. Your yard’s high point is usually where the water flows from, and the low point is where the water pools. 

Once you find these areas, determine the rise (the vertical distance of the slope) and the run (the horizontal distance of the slope). From there, you can determine your grade. 

If this leaves you scratching your head, call a home inspector or a local landscaper. They will not only be able to determine this info in a flash, but they’ll do all the heavy-lifting work for you.

3. Bring in Topsoil

You can purchase topsoil from a local nursery and have it delivered, or head to the hardware store to pick up a few bags. Dump the dirt on the lowest area of your yard until it’s taller than the high point, reversing the way water flows.

Keep the dirt level at least 4 inches below the top of your home’s foundation or 4 inches below the bottom of the siding (depending on which is lower). This prevents your house from absorbing water and creating a larger flooding issue.

4. Consider Pipes, Vents, and More

Mark your sewer cleanouts and water meter locations, and don’t cover them up as you distribute the topsoil. You can do this yourself by purchasing flags and/or spray paint at a local hardware store. Look for any pipe covers and holes in your yard and mark them as well.

5. Replant Your Grass

After you regrade your yard, it’s time to replace the grass. You can replace your yard in two ways: reseeding the grass or installing sod.

You can reseed your yard by purchasing grass seed from a nursery or hardware store. Spread the grass seed liberally and keep your yard watered until your seedlings are 2 inches tall. 

If you would like your grass to instantly be back, install sod. You can lay it yourself or have a professional do it for you.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Call In Help

Regrading your yard can be a daunting task, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. There can be safety issues if your yard is filled with boulders or heavy objects, so consider hiring a pro instead of going it alone. 

You can also do a combo of hiring a pro and DIYing it. For instance, if you don’t feel confident that you can measure your yard properly, have a pro map it out for you and determine your grade. Then you can spread the soil yourself!

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