Yard leveling, also called landscape grading, is not generally considered to be one of the more enjoyable home maintenance tasks. However, professionals agree that it plays a critical role in making sure that the yard retains an aesthetically attractive look. Yard leveling ensures stability once landscaping work is done. It also helps to prevent serious damage to the foundation and saves the owner from incurring sizable repair costs.
According to John Schott of the Indianapolis-based Schott Service, a yard drainage problem is the most common reason for people requiring his services. He states that people contact him when they need to rectify a low-lying section that requires to be graded again or the yard slants towards the house. John uses a power rake to level off the ground until the right grade is achieved and water runs in a direction away from the home.
He advises homeowners to pay serious attention to poorly-graded yards because water that is flowing towards the house can create major problems and ruin basements and foundations. In addition, poor leveling can destroy the landscaping, trees and gardens. The yards that Schott grades have bumps and lumps resulting from sewer installation, bush and tree removal, animal damage and tree-root growth.
He notes that whenever a tree or bush is removed, the surrounding ground will have settled as time passes. It is therefore crucial for homeowners to get a professional who will find a layer of topsoil and make the area level. He adds that occasionally he receives calls from homeowners regarding sections of their property with poor drainage that have not experienced problems for many years. Normally the soil has compacted or settled with time or it happens as a result of a tree root pressing the soil from below.
Schott observes that leveling is also critical when putting up new yard or landscaping features like pools.
The proprietor of Gibson’s Grading and Construction, David Gibson, and based in Candler( a mid-sized town in North Carolina) asserts that a properly-qualified and experienced grading professional will spend time during the initial stages of the leveling job formulating a specialized plan.
He adds that rather than just coming in with a machine and hacking the ground right away, it is much better to get everything right by setting a proper foundation and working using steps and phases. Before proceeding, David says he measures the concerned area using a laser device to compute the grade and establish where the land rises and falls. Using this information, he is able to plan appropriately.
Begin by devising a plan and measuring the entire area to make sure you buy the correct supplies and materials. Next, break up the soil and loosen the dirt though mulching or mowing and finally add new layer of topsoil (top-dressing) to the area in question.
Grading also entails substantial post-leveling work, and this is usually included in the job’s total cost. Because the grass must be torn out in order to make an even dirt surface, it is important for the contractor to make sure that a solid foundation has been created for new sod. Scott points out that professional contractors must use high-quality materials.
He reveals that occasionally he is called because the mix of a cheap landscaper was thrown back to an area and this resulted in clumping grass .In such cases, he is forced to use a power rake on the entire area and then plant identical grass. First-class sod goes for around $100 for one 50-pound bag that can cover between 7,000 and 10,000 square feet.
To guarantee the best outcome, Gibson urges homeowners to discuss with their preferred contractor matters concerning the leveling technique that will be used .He states that homeowners must be self-confident and ask straightforward questions about the various steps that the contractor intends to follow. This will help to differentiate between a good contractor and a bad one. He notes that a good contractor will assess the job, establish the steps that are needed to achieve the best-quality grade and proceed carefully in order to accomplish the task properly and attain the right results.
According to David, a normal grading job takes several days to complete and costs approximately $2,500 and this includes materials like sod and topsoil. However, he warns that this figure may vary substantially depending on the particular job. He adds that he charges from $500 for minor grading work but this can rise to a few thousand dollars for the big projects.