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Regrading yard problem

The previous owners of our house brought in truckloads of dirt and now the back yard is 3 inches ABOVE the foundation instead of 3 inches below. It's not level anywhere and water drains INTO the house. Is there a way I can regrade this myself rather than spending $3-5K for professionals? I'm not afraid of digging, but how do I dispose of the tons (probably literally) of dirt?

(SE Houston area)

A. Spruce
Re: Regrading yard problem

You may or may not need to remove any dirt, regrading maybe all that is necessary. If you're not afraid of a bit of hard work, then a rototiller and rake are all you need. If you want a little less work, then a compact tractor with a tiller and blade or bucket to break up the soil and move it around.

Keep the center of the yard higher than the sides to create natural drainage to the sides and around the house. If you want a perfectly flat yard, then level it out a few inches below door thresholds. What I like to do is have specimen mounds or "features" around the yard, this could be slight berms around the perimeter flowerbeds or larger mounds in several locations in the yard. I personally don't care if the yard is higher than the foundation, I'll just drop it down around the house and create natural paths for drainage. Look at some landscaping books for ideas on specimen mounds, raised beds, and other decorative features that will utilize the excess soil. If you do need to remove some soil, maybe you can redo the front landscape as well.

Even if you have no use or place for excess dirt, it's usually very easy to get rid of. Neighbors usually have holes or low spots to fill and if you put it on Craigslist you're bound to get some hits, particularly if it's free.

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