What is the Proper Grading For Land Around a House Foundation? 

The grading around a house foundation can be done in several ways. Negative grading, swales, grassing, and mulching are some of the methods that you can use. You should first measure the area around your foundation and write down the results. Next, mark high and low points using flags, stakes, or spray paint. 

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Negative grading 

Negative grading is when the ground around a foundation has a significant rise. This rise may be several feet or more. This causes water to filter down through the land to reach the surface beneath the foundation. This water will then find a way into the house through the walls. The walls around a foundation may be made of concrete block or covered with tar to help keep out water. However, even with a waterproof foundation, negative grading may occur. 

There are several methods for fixing a negative grade. First, remove the grass and other debris around the foundation. Then, add soil to raise the level of the foundation. Depending on your needs, you may want to use fill dirt for gravel covers or topsoil for planting. When adding soil, make sure that the material travels in a positive grading path from the foundation. 


Swale grading for land around foundations is a process in which the land around your foundation is molded to provide drainage for your home. The swales are designed to take water that would otherwise pool on your property and channel it away from your home. Most swales are small and wide, allowing for little to no impact on your yard. They are typically found between house lots and along streets. They can be filled with grass or incorporated into your landscaping with water-tolerant plants. 

Swale grading for land around foundations is often completed with a small piece of earth-moving equipment. Bobcats and skid-steer loaders are useful tools for this task. A swale should be dug around a home, and the backfill should slope away from the foundation. The swale should be positioned at a higher point on the property than the home’s foundation, so water will be diverted away from the home. 


Grassing for land around the house’s foundation is crucial for preventing water from leaking into the house. Grass helps slow down water, prevent evaporation, and stabilize the soil. Grassing can also prevent erosion along the drainage path. This is especially important in areas with heavy winter rains or mudslides. Depending on the regulations in your area, you may have to install special piping and leach fields. 


Mulch is a great way to raise the grade of the land around your foundation. Most mulch mixes are very soft, so they will absorb water without allowing runoff. They will also divert water towards your house, holding it against the foundation walls until it finds its way into your home. 

A good mulch will also keep the soil around your foundation moist. This can prevent water from eroding the foundation. This will protect your grading efforts. In addition, mulch will help plants by providing them with necessary nutrients. The mulch also prevents water from splashing on the foundation, which can damage the concrete walls. 

Slope away from foundation 

The first step in fixing a home’s foundation drainage problem is to determine the proper slope for the soil surrounding the home. The slope should be at least six inches over 10 feet. If it is not, you can correct the slope by moving soil back towards the foundation wall. If the slope is too steep, you may have to import soil from another area. 

The IRC specifies that impervious surfaces within 10 feet of the foundation must slope at least 2 percent away from the building. This slope is required to prevent a settling foundation.