Drainage Solution: How to Re-Grade Part 2

What You'll Need
Grading rake
Landscaping rake
Stakes and string or laser level
Tape measure

The second part of this series of articles on how to implement a drainage solution will discuss how to accomplish the task of using a grading rake to create a grading that will effectively facilitate water disposal. This task requires attention to detail and basic knowledge on how to use some hand tools, as well some manual labor. Even so, this is an easy process that most people should be able to accomplish without having to hire an expensive contractor or excavating company.

Step 1: Remove Uneven Areas

Removing uneven areas is the first step that has to be done when you are trying to re-grade an area. Get down onto one knee if needed, and survey the landscape where the excavation has occurred. If you notice any high spots, such as rocks protruding upwards or areas of soil that are not level, use a shovel to dig them out. The point of this step is to level the entire area as much as possible with the shovel so that when you begin to rake, there is not so much work to do.

Step 2: Wet the Area

After the area has been leveled off as much as possible, wet it with a garden hose. You want all of the soil within the excavated area to be moist but not wet. Having the top layer moist will allow raking to be much easier, but if the area turns to mud, it will be next to impossible to re-grade until it has dried for some time. The rule to follow here is to simply sprinkle water over the top of the area until the ground is damp. You can always add more water as you work if it is needed.

Step 3: Grade the Area Level

Once the topsoil is wet, use a grading rake to work the soil up and move it were it needs to go in order to completely level the area. If you have a laser level, use it to speed the process up, otherwise use stakes and strings to get a measurement. If you are using string, measure down from it with a tape measure at random intervals throughout the area. Dig where it is needed, and fill in holes as you go.

Step 4: Rake for Water Removal

Once the area has been completely leveled, it is time to rake a slope away from the house. Begin next to the house and work your way outwards, raking a steadily declining slope so that the water will flow away from the building. Once again, accomplish this by using a some stakes and string or a laser level. The proper slope for this procedure is to have a 10-inch drop within the first foot, and then a 1-inch drop for each 100 foot area after that. This is the minimum amount of slope you need in order to ensure that your water drainage solution works, so when using the grading rake during this step, take measurements and get the slope to at least this amount.