Whether you want to install an envy-inducing patio to host backyard gatherings, build a she-or he shed, or plant a garden that will keep you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and complete strangers in zucchini, the first step is preparing your property for the project. You want to create a blank canvas that allows you to accomplish your landscaping and hardscaping goals. How? By grading your lawn. What is grading, why is it important, and how do you tackle this first step for optimal results?
Enough questions! Let’s dig into the answers.
What Is Lawn Grading?
Have you ever driven, or even lived, along a dirt or other unpaved road? To keep it from becoming completely overrun with potholes, washboards, and issues with erosion, the road is graded. This process smooths and evens the road by leveling out high points and redistributing earth over the low points. Your oil pan will be grateful!
When you grade your lawn and landscape, you are essentially doing the same thing. The process levels or changes the slope. Depending on the lay of the land grading may involve heavy earth moving, retaining walls, and terracing. You may also have to move in additional fill to achieve the right grade.
If you want a garden, a stone wall, or a structure, you will need a nice, flat surface. However, flat is not always the goal. For instance, if you want to divert rainwater, you need to grade the land down and away from your home and/or other structures (e.g. sheds, garages, etc.). It is all about achieving the right surface for your project(s).
Do You Need to Regrade?
As mentioned, you may want to level or change the slope of your lawn for a specific project, such as building a structure or installing a garden. But there are situations in which you may need to regrade your surface. These include:
- Normal wear and tear
- Damage from chipmunks, moles, groundhogs, and other critters
- Damage caused by utility work
- Restoring your lawn/landscape after removing trees and/or shrubs
Whether you are grading or regrading, there are a host of advantages you will enjoy.
The Benefits of Grading Your Lawn
The biggest reason for grading your property is to improve its appearance and usability, as well as your enjoyment of your outdoor spaces. This is a significant benefit in and of itself, but there are other advantages to grading your lawn:
- Better Drainage and Irrigation. When you grade your lawn, you can prevent it from becoming overly wet and even marshy. Water-logged soil means poor growing conditions, and it can lead to erosion. Proper grading improves drainage and the overall “health” of the soil. At the same time, a well-graded lot also means better plant growth. You will have the ideal level of moisture in the soil. Water will not pool, nor will it run off too quickly for roots to absorb. Bottom line: healthy grass/plants + fewer weeds = maximum enjoyment and beauty!
- Retention of Topsoil. Topsoil contains a ton of nutrients that your grass and plants need to survive and thrive. When the slope of your land is too steep, rainwater washes away these vital particles. When you grade, you can reduce runoff and protect your topsoil.
- Foundation Protection. As mentioned above, some people grade their lawn or yard to divert water from their homes. Water can damage your foundation and, if left unchecked, cause significant instability in your structures. Take preventative action to avoid costly problems down the road.
- Ease and Opportunity. If your lawn resembles the aforementioned dirt road in early spring (up and downs, highs and lows…), you know how difficult it is to mow, install play equipment for your children, plant flowers or vegetables, and more. Grading helps by creating optimal surfaces for play, gardens, decks, paths, walls, and other projects that ensure you get the most out of your yard. Best of all, your outdoor area will be easier to maintain – so you have more time to kick back.
Is Grading Your Lawn a DIY Job?
When you are a proud homeowner, the best part of having a yard is getting out and enjoying it. Whether you love to get some dirt under your fingernails while planting herbs and veggies or you find mowing relaxing and rewarding, there is a deep sense of pride in maintaining a beautiful outdoor space.
But… There are some jobs that are best left to the pros. Grading your lawn is one of them. Each lot, lawn, and yard are different with varying natural grading, vegetation, and soil composition. You will also have unique goals that you want to achieve. The path forward may mean heavy earth-moving machinery, carefully positioned drainage pipes, carefully calculated slopes, excavation, surface smoothing, topsoil installation, or integration of terraces and/or retaining walls.
The grading process can be complex; experienced professionals are able to assess the conditions of your land, listen to your wants and needs, develop a strategic plan, and produce the results that enable you to transform your outdoor living space into the oasis you envision. You will be assured that your lawn and landscape have the proper grade, and the right conditions, for your needs.
If you are into DIY, do not worry there will be plenty to do getting that zucchini in or making that patio party worthy. Professional grading saves untold time, headaches, and calculations. It also leaves you with a beautiful canvas on which you can create your backyard masterpiece.
Call In the Pros
GreenImage specializes in keeping your lawn and landscape in top condition. Grading can be complex but with the right team on your side, you are well on your way to the outdoor space of your dreams.
To learn more about grading your lawn and keeping it well-maintained for years to come, contact GreenImage.