Residential property re-grading due to drainage problems


(Canada)

I have an older property with very poor lot grading. My home sits lower than both my neighbours homes. My property slopes into my house at the majority of the perimeter of my foundation as well. I plan on regrading and adding dirt to the same level as my neighbours homes and sloping away from my foundation.


Is there a proper layering method? Other materials to use besides dirt? ie use of clay. Any input or tips you have would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

If your neighbors' properties are at a higher elevation than yours and you are planning on adding fill to regrade with your property sloping towards your neighbors, it sounds as if you will need some retaining walls. As far as what you fill with, it really does not matter, although water will percolate quicker in sandier soils than in clay soils.

When you raise the grade at your foundation, remember that ideally eight inches of foundation should show. This is the best situation, although there are situations where this is not possible. I have a very old home and the back area was an addition...built on a slab. I had no choice (economically) but to either regrade away at 1/4 inch per foot (minimum!) or install french drains. I opted to regrade and it is working ok.

In your case, if you were to add french drains/perforated pipes (see my pages on
Landscape Grading and Perforated Pipe), there would have to be either a lower elevation to lead the pipe to or else you would have to install a drainage pit.

Back to the property borders, another option is to create a swale between the properties. Land is re-graded in both directions towards the swale, which is similar to a ditch. However, it is actually lawn and often is not noticeable if done correctly. The swale starts at a high point, and continues, getting lower and lower, until it reaches a point where the water can exit. This might be the street, a wood edge, or another area on your property.

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