Over time, you may notice changes in the levels of your yard and landscape. Sections of dirt may be worn down by erosion, water may pool in puddles in your lawn or you may have an area of depression that sinks and dips beneath the ground.
The solution to this and several other problems is to hire a pro to level your yard. This is also known as grading or resloping.
Erosion drainage is the most common cause for needing a regrade. Buried building materials, a sewer leak or even a small depression from a removed tree stump can also impact your yard’s level. Animal damage and tree-root growth are other common causes. Ultimately, anywhere dirt settles over the years can lead to an uneven lawn.
Numerous projects could also be the culprit. If you’re preparing ground for a driveway, getting ready to build a foundation or adding a patio, deck or porch, you’ll probably want to hire a yard grader.
A poorly graded yard is more than just an aesthetic eyesore. Water traveling toward your home or pooling around its edges can damage your foundation or basement and cause leaks. Poor leveling can also have a negative impact on landscaping including gardens and trees.
Some leveling jobs are fairly basic, in which the contractor lays new dirt and levels it off. Other more complex jobs involve using heavy machinery to bring the yard level down to the correct height.
The average resloping job costs about $2,000, with most jobs ranging from $1,000-$3,000. Landscaping labor typically falls between $50-$100 per hour. The required fill dirt costs about $15 per cubic yard, though this will vary based on location. The more complex the job and the more dirt required, the more it’s likely to cost.
Licensing requirements for this kind of work vary widely by locale, so make sure your contractor holds the proper licensing, bonding and insurance for your job. This is particularly important for bigger jobs using heavy machinery, which sometimes require special licenses.
One additional consideration to keep in mind is this type of yardwork almost always overlaps utility lines. Your contractor should contact the appropriate authorities to mark utility lines. You can request this yourself by calling 811 or going to your state’s 811 website. It’s best to do this several days before you expect work to be done.
When hiring your pro, make sure they have a plan to make the new slope or grade as stable as possible. Moving around dirt can create an erosion risk, but a good contractor will prepare a solid foundation for sod or seed and work with you to create a plan to keep your new level intact.
You can also lower the long-term erosion risk with a number of yard features. Certain new plants can help keep the earth stable and retaining walls, wooden or metal edging, or added mulch or sod can all help combat erosion.
Tweet your home care questions with #AskAngi and we’ll try to answer them in a future column.