From the Experts: Land Grading Techniques

Matt at Centex Excavation
Author: MattPublished: April 4, 2022 Updated: December 27, 2023 • Filed Under: Tips and How-Tos

Grading the landscape of a yard is an art form, and anyone who’s worked for many hours using their dozers or skid steers can attest to this. That’s why we’re giving you some of the best land grading techniques from experts that have graded earth for years.

Grading gives a natural look to the landscape, even though the natural world has caused havoc by placing the low and high places in inappropriate places. But this needs to be backed by experience since grade-making, in itself, is also an art.

So, how can you master this art that is an excellent mix of science and art? The only thing you have to do is adhere to the basic guidelines. When you follow these steps, you’ll also be ensuring that the landscaping functions effectively and looks beautifully. In this post, we’ll provide you with a short overview of landscape grading by providing some efficient methods that will surely change the feel and appearance of your yard.

Best Land Grading Techniques

Give it time.

Ideally, it is recommended to grade at least a week before you begin planting your seeds. If you do not give it time, soil settling problems could be. The result is an uneven soil surface that could slow the development of the plants. If you are forced to choose other than rush, make sure to backfill the soil with plenty of water. Then, make sure to line the surface out to appear even. Then, you can roll out the earth after it has dried for a few hours. This process will accelerate the settling of the soil. This will result in fresher, healthier, faster-growing crops.

Take care of the drainage issues.

In the case of sloped landscapes, drainage turns out as one of the most significant problems. This is one of the numerous reasons you should tackle this issue before moving on to the other tasks. For this, look over the entire landscape and determine the water flows’ location and direction. Because you aren’t allowed to transfer the water out of your property toward your neighbors’ properties,

It is recommended to review your property’s report for more understanding. Examine the information carefully and determine whether there’s a plan for drainage easement as the elevation cannot be changed in the future. As areas like decks and patios are likely to draw in some input, ensure that the slope isn’t more than two percent.

Bring in ample dirt to work with.

Yard grading is among the processes that require plenty of dirt and soil. This is why it’s essential to find the earth before grading your property. You will need more soil and dirt than you initially thought in nearly all cases.

If you’re purchasing topsoil at your local nursery or cash and carry, make sure that it’s in bulk to meet your soil-settling needs. Because the dirt will alone keep the soil in place, don’t compromise its quality either.

Find the utility lines.

When grading your landscape, it is essential to know the location and manner your utility lines travel. Also, consult a professional as you mark lines for gas, water, electricity, and telephone. Make sure to mark this on the floor to ensure that no line or pipe gets damaged during digging. It is essential to find the closest drainage area. In this way, you’ll see which direction the water flows in and how it impacts your grading plans.

Before you begin to dig, give 811 a call. They’ll send out technicians to survey the area for underground lines.

Do not start grading at higher elevations.

This is likely to be one of the mistakes that new cultivators make. If you’re planning to grade the yard within the vicinity of your home, be sure to make sure you leave at least 6-8 inches in your middle grading area and the sliding.

If you’re facing issues with drainage, don’t try to resolve it by spreading dirt over your property’s edge. While this might work in the short term, however, over the long term, it can negatively impact the grading plan and could result in ruining the property. After doing hoeing, you should rake the ground to ensure that the ground is on a good and finished surface. It is possible to double-check the level with plywood. This can also aid in helping you to pack the dirt.

Pile the dirt on the low point.

After you’ve drawn lines to mark the areas of high and low and ordered topsoil for getting the task done, it’s now time to put in your dirt correctly. Whenever it comes to putting up topsoil, the basic principle is to place it on the low point. Begin by placing the topsoil into a big wheelbarrow and gently dropping it into the lower point. So, if water flows toward the property at any time, you’ll have the dirt in a large pile on your foundation, which could alter the general grading structure.

Pay attention to the curved beds.

The curvature of lines, especially when they’re located near border plants, borders, and entry points, can create some issues. But, it is easily handled by using a simple rope or garden hose. Please use either one or both of them to draw an ideal curve. Once you have this done, you can begin marking lines using the stakes with shorter lengths placed between a few feet. When working on your landscape design, certain gardeners employ tiny and thin boards that are securely attached to stakes and then driven in the ground. This type of edging makes it easier to finish and makes it easier to keep neat edges.

Fill it in.

After you have finished making the dirt piles and putting them in the ground, it’s time to move them back down.

One of the most efficient methods to accomplish this is by spreading your plywood over the ground, after that, walking around and even stomping it. This will ensure that you have filled everything with no holes. Take an able rake, and also use its back to remove the dirt you have accumulated from your high zone and then to your lowest zone. The concept of this is to alter the angle of the slope. If you are smart and follow these tips, you will likely succeed.

Check if you have a grading issue.

When you’re done with grading, review the grade for issues. There will likely be an issue if you are still noticing water on your lawn most of the time. Standing water is among the largest sources of food for insects and causes damage to your home’s foundation. It is essential to determine if the issue persists after you’ve finished the grading. If it is, you will need to grade your soil again by starting from scratch.

Final thoughts on land grading techniques.

These are just some of the best land grading techniques for the DIY homeowner. Follow these guidelines and remain patient during the entire grading process to make your yard look better and make it as level as you would like.

About the Author

Matt Avatar


Excavation Expert

Matt is a highly experienced heavy equipment operator with over two decades of experience in the construction industry. His expertise covers a wide range of machinery and project types, and he is known for his focus on safety, efficiency, and problem-solving. Matt's commitment to delivering high-quality work within deadlines and budgets has made him highly respected at Centex Excavation and the excavation industry.

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