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yard grading and flooding issues

Grading and Regrading: Understanding Drainage and Your Home’s Positioning

Your home can begin to leak for several reasons. If your lawn’s been poorly graded, you may have more than just a seasonal leak on your hands, though. When your home rests at the lowest point of your lawn, you’re bound to see more water damage than you would had your home been otherwise placed. 

You can discuss regrading your lawn with one of the professionals in your area. While your results will vary, the process of regrading can save you time, money, and stress in the years after it’s completed. 

The Basics of Grading Your Yard 

When you first move into a new home or start to build on new land, you’ll need to take the lawn’s grading into account. The term “grade” refers to the rise and fall of your soil. Contractors assess a lawn’s grade in positive and negative terms, breaking it down as follows: 

  • Positive grading – When your home and lawn have a positive grade, your home’s been built at your lawn’s highest point. Water, when it rains or snows, will flow away from your home and foundation. 
  • Negative grading – If your home’s been built at one of the lower points in your yard, you’re working with a negative grade. A negatively graded yard will send water toward your home and foundation. 

As you might expect, homes and lawns with negative grades tend to see more water damage than homes with positive grades. 

How to Detect Poor Grading 

It’s not always easy to tell when your lawn’s been poorly graded, especially if you don’t have the experience to know what you’re looking for. There are some signs that make the uneven or undesirable distribution of water throughout your lawn obvious. These can include: 

  • Spongy soil – If your lawn is easily overwhelmed by water, its texture will begin to change. Poorly graded lawns are often spongy, with water constantly rising to the surface as you walk through them. 
  • Poor lawn drainage – Similarly, an over-saturated lawn will weep water into your home. If you notice signs of seepage in your basement or other parts of your house, then you’ll know your lawn isn’t draining rainwater appropriately. 
  • Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes love standing water and will happily congregate near it. If you’re noticing more mosquitoes in your yard than usual, try to safely follow them to where they’re most common. You may find a small standing body of water where your lawn used to be. 
  • Dead patches of grass – Grass is tenacious, but even it can’t stand up to pools of water beneath your lawn. If your lawn hasn’t been graded appropriately, you may notice patches of grass dying off around your yard. 
  • Difficulty maintaining your landscaping – Similarly, oversaturated lawns tend to rot the roots of any new landscaping away. It may not be your lack of a green thumb that’s killing your landscaping but rather the presence of excessive amounts of water in the area. 

There are times when you might overlook the initial signs of poor grading in your yard. If you’re not careful, those minor symptoms may rapidly evolve into long-term property damage, like: 

  • Rear and side swale holding water 
  • Unwanted ponds 
  • Inappropriately high grading around a home 
  • Unnatural sloping toward a home 
  • Foundation damage  

If you suspect there may be something amiss in your lawn, be sure to act quickly. A Columbia, SC, professional contractor can come out and inspect your lawn for grading problems. Foundation and basement repair professionals can also provide you with a free quote on any services you may need to better waterproof your lawn and home. 

Working with Contractors to Improve Your Grading 

Regrading your lawn takes a fair amount of work, and it’s not something you can reasonably do on your own. You’ll want to reach out to a team of professional contractors working out of the Columbia, SC, area. With their help, you can more appropriately determine the grade of your lawn and begin to fix it accordingly. 

That said, there are some waterproofing measures you can install that will work alongside your grading to protect your home from damage. These include: 

  • Catch basins – Catch basins work similarly to exterior drain curtains. They protect your drainage systems from large obstructions and can be easily installed around the perimeter of your home. Upon their initial install, they’ll look like loose gravel, adeptly blending in with any landscaping you’ve invested your time in. 
  • Gutters and downspouts – Drainage systems like your gutters and downspouts can do a lot of waterproofing work for you if you maintain them. You’ll want to make sure you regularly clean out your gutters to better control how much water meets your home. Similarly, make sure that your downspouts are properly aligned, or invest in underground downspouts, so you can continue to direct water away from your perimeter. 

Don’t let the grade of your lawn devalue your home. With the help of a team of professionals, you can invest in waterproofing measures or regrading procedures that will keep your home watertight for years to come.