clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How to Grade Around a Foundation

Saving a soggy situation with This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook saves a soggy foundation.


1. Dig dirt from along the foundation wall until 8 to 10 inches of foundation is exposed below the lowest course of shingles.

2. Stretch a nylon string along the foundation wall, 2 inches above the surrounding grade. Use a line level to ensure the string is level.

3. Cut 24-inch-long pointed stakes from pressure-treated 2x4s.

4. Use a sledgehammer to pound one stake into the ground in front of every fence post. Pound the stake just below the level string.

5. Fasten the stakes to the fence posts with 3-inch-long galvanized screws.

6. Place a pressure-treated 2x12 against the stakes, hold it even with the string, then secure it to the stakes with 3-inch-long galvanized screws.

7. Pound a second row of stakes into the ground directly in front of the 2x12. Fasten the stakes to the 2x12 with 3-inch-long galvanized screws.

8. Dig a 6-inch-deep trench along the foundation from the downspout out to the front yard.

9. Connect 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe to the bottom end of the downspout. Extend the pipe along the trench and out to daylight at the front yard.

10. Use a rake to spread 4 inches of gravel over the PVC drainpipe.

See Products and Services from This Video