Grading the land

Hi, can anyone offer any information about grading the land for drainage?

And what can we expect to pay for doing this?

Of course as you guessed, the answer is just as vague as the question. Do you need to move a mountain or a 100 sq foot hill? If I had the time, I’d get a bobcat, backhoe, dump trucks, front loader, dynamite, ANFO, etc. myself just because it would be fun to drive/blow up.

Simply redistributing the same dirt around a small front yard is pretty straight forward and not that expensive. I’d pay $1-3k to hire out on a small job. If you’ve got a big hill to move, you’ll need to consider a retaining wall that anchors into the hillside as well. This scenario could be quite a bit more expensive because you might need enviromental engineers, landscape architects, geologist, several dumptrucks, a lot of excavating equipment, etc.

Grading is a very important and often overlooked aspect of a property. Improper grading is a major cause of water in the basement and cracked foundations. Not to mention a muddy yard (and floors is you have dogs/kids). If your ever evaluating a house and you see standing water or feel heavy moisture in the basement and it’s obviously not coming from the interior plumbing, check outside before you immediately turn the property down. Is negative grading pouring water on the properties perimeter when it rains? Is there an inadequate number of downspouts dumping water in the same spot? When you dig away some of the dirt on the surface of the perimeter, is there a waterproofing sealer? If these problems exist, it could be an easy fix. Redistrubute the dirt, extend the downspouts, apply a sealer to the inside, and possibly put in a sump pump.

Of course, it would be wise to play the issue off as a huge deal to the seller.