Regrade dirt around foundation

cracklinoatbranApril 20, 2013

We are in year 2 of home ownership. This was a bank owned home that sat for awhile and wasn't well maintained before foreclosure.

This winter we spotted some water damage in our basement. Had a basement repair specialist inspect it, he said we needed to wait until spring and then:

a) Dig up the broken sump pump pipe, fix it ourselves for $10-20 bucks

*** Sump pump is in NW corner, same spot as most of the water damage

b) Regrade our soil around the foundation to run away from the house.

See the attached photo. The pink lines/dots are the water damage areas.

We have a bunch of free, clean fill dirt to use, so I'm hoping to regrade every problem area.

1) West/East sides: Do we need to dig up all of the vegetation and top soil, fill that space with dirt, top it with plastic, then soil and vegetation?

Or can we simply get rid of the big stuff, top everything with fill dirt, then top it with plastic, soil & vegetation?

(there is little vegetation and none we planted or like)

2) Northwest Side: lots of shrubbery/vegetation. Should we just pile up the topsoil and make sure we add a grade of soil & mulch each year to keep water running away from the house? Or does that need to come up too? That NW corner is the main culprit of the water damage.

3) South side: we are going to redo this deck in the next year or two. Can we get away with just piling up fill dirt here? Should we build the deck first (maybe in june) and then regrade the dirt below it?

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why on earth would you top the soil with plastic?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:20AM
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I was told to put that down in flower beds to control weed growth. I am a major newbie so please lead me otherwise.

The big question is how to start. Do we need to dig up the vegetation and mixed soil or can we place the dirt on top?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:52AM
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From what I understand, you should probably remove all the plants to be able to get in there, add enough top soil and make the perfect slope. It should require stakes, rope, and a little bit of math skills to do so. Plus some plants really do not like to have soil added up on their stems, as it can introduce pathogens to them. This is entirely species specific.

I also have to do this in my backyard - but I am going to hire a professional to get it right. It was DIYed by original owners of the house and much of the soil eroded away or settled. It will cost some bucks, but it is worth it to not have a leaking basement. I removed all the vegetation myself to save a bit on labor.

From what I have read, landscape fabric is not advised anymore as it adversely messes with soil microbes beneath it. Plus, if you want to add plants later, you have to dig down deep enough and cut a hole in the fabric. I have planted plants in areas, not knowing there was landscape fabric underneath - no bueno - what a waste of money and time! Some people will disagree on this, as it will cut down on some, but not all, things from growing in your beds. For example, weeds with shallow root systems will still be able to grow in your beds.

So as a newbie, I would gently suggest this, get some quotes for regrading and ask how you can save on costs (maybe removing the plants yourself won't save you much). If that fits in your budget, then you can DIY afterwards by adding the soil amendments (the regrade fill is likely to be far from excellent for your plants), plants and/or sod. Mulching any beds can help you build up the quality of your new soil, reduce water loss, and help prevent weed growth.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Thanks lemurific, that is very helpful for a fairly un knowledgeable lad such as myself.

We dug up the sump pump line and found that it had a four inch gap between two of the pipes, as well as a tiny crack in the gutter pipe nearby.

So we should solve the eater damage problem easily with some new pipes but this will be great info to overhaul the landscaping which hasn't been touched in hears.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:27PM
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