Grading: How Does Your Landscape Score?

August 2, 2016 | By Roundtree Landscaping

A beautiful landscape is more than just the design, the plants and hardscape elements. A beautiful landscape also has a good foundation from which to grow. Healthy soil, good drainage and the right maintenance all play a part in its success. But one important factor in a landscape’s success (or failure), that many homeowners simply don’t know to consider, is its grade. No, we’re not talking about the “score” your neighborhood association’s yard of the month committee will give your yard!


Special consideration is always a priority to a beautiful landscape. Good grading along with carefully placed swaths of river rock ensure proper drainage of the landscape.

The heavy rains over the last two spring seasons have really tested the grades and drainage capacity of many Dallas landscapes. You may have realize there were many spots around your home where too much water stayed pooled up for too long. The solution could be re-grading.

What is landscape grading?

We’re essentially talking about it’s slope if you will, or how it’s graded so that water and drainage go where they are supposed to. The slope of your property is essentially the “grade”. Poor grading can result in drainage problems, water damage to your home, dead plants or even damage to your neighbor’s property. In most landscapes, the grade may not be very noticeable to the naked eye. But even a “flat” landscape will have some grade if the landscape has been designed properly. If a home has been build on a distinct slope, then of course it will be more obvious.

If the grading on your property was done improperly, or has changed over time, then it could cause problems you may not be aware of. Standing water, be it in your lawn or near the foundation of your home, is dangerous to your property. It can damage the integrity of your home’s foundation no matter if you have slab or pier and beam, and cause damage you may not realize is there until it’s too late. Standing water can also kill landscape plants, your lawn, and attract mosquitoes and other pests.

Good Drainage is the Goal

Is your landscape flooding? Or maybe there are low depressions in the lawn causing puddling. Poor drainage in the landscape can cause your lawn to die out in areas. With good soil and grading, your landscape will efficiently use the water it is given and we can move excess water from rainfall, your roof, and gutters in the right direction. Grading for a lawn is usually a gentle slope away from the home. For more complex designs, the degree and direction of slope could change more dramatically throughout the landscape. Yet the goal is always the same: move the water away from where it will cause the most damage.

What is Rough Grading?

This is the most basic of grading and generally uses your existing soil as much as possible to reshape the area needing to be graded. Most lawns are rough graded. A thin top layer of soil is removed to bring the land to the level and slope needed to drain most efficiently.

French drains & swales

Sometimes we simply need to backfill areas that have sunken or settled over time to re-level an area - or we may have to remove soil in order to even out the soil’s grade. Other times, you may need a combination of re-grading with features such as French drains or swales to help move larger volumes of water away from your home or from standing in your lawn and landscape.

If your landscape is flooding due to poor grade, we can help you find solutions to improve drainage.



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