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Old 04-25-2012, 02:59 PM
968 posts, read 1,447,041 times
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We just recently moved into a new home in Sterling, and during the home inspection, we were told that the soil around the home should be about 4 inches below the siding on the house. Our yard currently reaches the siding. So, we need to have pretty much the entire yard lowered (?) by about 4 inches. Of course, you can't just dig 4 inches down around the bottom of the house; the entire yard then needs to be graded to be flat or, preferably, to slightly slope away from the house. We lso need to have an entire brick patio removed (it's not in good shape...).

Who do I call about such a project? I was thinking a landscaper, but all the landscaping ads just sort of talk about flowers and mulching and grass...I'm not sure if there's someone else I need to call for this kind of work.

Either way, any recommendations for a contractor?
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:01 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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I would say run it by a landscaping company or possibly a drainage company. The reason you don't want soil/vegetation touching wood is that it will channel insects to the wood, who might make a home or meal of it.

One option you could pursue would be to basically dig a trench around the house and then bring the outside wall of that trench even with the yard via a gentle slope. Less of a project that lowering the whole yard, and you still solve the potential bug problem.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:38 PM
Location: Tysons Corner
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If you are moving more than 2500 cubic feet (ie an average of 6" over 5000 square feet) you are going to run into problems with permits if you dont contact a civil engineer for a lot grading plan.

What you are looking for is a lot grading plan, it basically is a plan that revises just grading within your property. It is important to get one done because drainage issues can really damage foundations. If you want it aesthetically done, I would contact a landscape architect who has access to an engineer. That way they can come up with a nice look concept for landscaping incorporated into this modification if you wanted it also.

Typical lot grading plans could run anywhere from 500 to 3000 depending on the size of your lot and the problematic nature of your issue.

I would avoid DIY if you have anything bigger than a small lot (less than 1/4 acre) because you can get into some serious problems between permits and foundation/future flooding damage.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:19 PM
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We are definitely not trying to DIY. We have a townhouse we're working to imrpove so we can rent out, we have a 4-week-old baby, we both work full time plus take classes...if we try to do anything ourselves, it won't get done! I can't even find the time and energy to mount a curtain rod in my baby's room...

Digging a trench and then leveling to the outer edge of the trench would make the slope go TOWARD the house, which would be a bad idea. The whole point of lowering is to keep moisture and pests away.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:01 AM
Location: Tysons Corner
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Whats the elevation at the front of your property in relation to the front of your house? I assume if its a townhouse you have a front lawn about 20' to 25' long? So to remove this 4" you are going to need atleast 10". Whats that mean?

If your house elevation is 100'0" at the First floor, ie what your door elevation is, then you will need an elevation of 99'2" at the back of your sidewalk to maintain a proper slope away from the house.

You want to maintain a 2% slope, but in tough times you might be able to get away with 1% slope if you get inventive. One thing I have done before is incorporating a non-grass area using river rock that channels the lawn very slightly to one side. The lawn itself was only at 1% and so was the river rock, but the water comes down the lawn to the river rocks and it can even be planted etc.

If you send me back via direct message the elevation difference between your front door elevation and the elevation of your sidewalk I can let you know if you will need a lot grading plan. From the sounds of it, you won't and can likely get away with going straight to a contractor without any permits (which will cost way less) and I can tell you the people i have worked with before.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:43 PM
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I can't give any advice about whether or not to grade - our house has the same problem in places - some of it we let be, in other places we dug a ditch around the outside of the home and filled it with rocks, so it's a rock path along the side of the home. We did it mostly for drainage and because nothing would grow there anyway, but it has also lowered the yard in those places.

However, if you decide you do need to actually regrade the yard and remove a patio, we used an excavator for something similar here and got a very good deal. Message me if you want his contact info.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:07 PM
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When I moved into this current house, I had such a drainage problem. It's an old house, the yard slopes toward the house. There is no basement so fortunately I avoided a flood. I had a company in Falls Church to install a drainage system. They did good work and were reasonable in price. Send me a msg for a recommendation.
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