I have a small house where there is a substantial slope toward
the basement in the rear of the house from the midpoint of the backyard
(about 30 ft.) that causes the house's basement to leak. (The furthest
part of the backyard away from the basement slopes away from the house
and that is where I would direct the water to.) I have been told
numerous times that keeping water away from a house is 90% of the
solution to a leaky basement. I am wondering whether it is possible
for me to obtain the dirt necessary to change the slope (At some
points, I will need 2 ft. of dirt to raise the slope up the back wall)
and to do this work myself. Also, I would appreciate tips on commonly
made mistakes in this type of work so that I could avoid them if I
decide to do this work myself.
Last time I checked topsoil and/or fill is readily available just about
everywhere. Whether you can do it depends on what shape you are in and
how much time you have. You can also rent a Bobcat or similar to make
it a lot easier.
The bigger question is whether it is really possible. There aren't
that many houses where you can raise the grade 2 ft at the house
without running into problems like the siding, existing sidewalks,
entrance doors, patios, etc. But if it takes 2ft to fix this, clearly
something needs to be done, cause that's a hell of a slope in the wrong
Assuming it's raised 2ft at the house wall, what pitch does that give?
Also, I would appreciate tips on commonly
On 6 Jul 2006 11:43:32 -0700, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
You shouldn't need any more dirt than in already in your yard.
You just move dirt from where you want the low spot to where
you want the high spot, until it is so.
Note, of course that this only works if there is some point
on your property that's lower than either.
The most common mistakes are, in no particular order,
(A) Piling dirt somewhere to keep water away without
providing a place for the water to go,
(B) Pissing of the neighbors and/or municipality
by dumping excess water someplace you shouldn't.
(C) Hitting something important while digging.
(D) Letting your trench collapse and damage your
equipment, your house, or your body.
You are absolutely correct. Fix the grade and direct the gutters away
from foundation and you will most likely have solved your water problem.
Could you do a combination of lowering the grade in the middle/back of
the yard and raising it at the house? If so, you could just move the
dirt from one area to the other. When your order fill, if you really do
need it, try and have it dumped in the area you need it. Sounds like an
opportunity to rent a small bobcat! If you don't feel that ambitious a
landscaper would be the guy to call.
Also - If you really want to get ambitions, do what I did.
I have a 12' deep by 5' wide hole in the back of my yard. Its filled
with 1-2" rocks. All downspouts (And basement sump pump) go through
under ground pipes into the hole (Called a dry well). It takes some
planning to make sure gravity does all the work at moving the water to
the dry well. At the top of the dry well a pipe exits and has a grate on
it. This lets air out when water goes into the well, it also serves as
an overflow. Inside the dry well the pipe is perforated. Dirt covers the
well and grass grows. All we see is the overflow/vent pipe.
Thanks for the suggestion about moving the dirt from the high
point to the low point. However, I have 2 large elm trees in the
backyard (One of which is definitely going because it is dying, and the
other which I may get rid of because it is too close to the house --
but it will be expensive to move), and I suspect that getting the dirt
from the high spot to the low spot may be difficult because there are
probably a lot of roots in the backyard. Am I correct in thinking that
digging will be difficult in the high spot because both trees are
within 15 feet of the high spot.
If lowering the high area in the middle is the right solution, I
wouldn't let roots from 2 trees be an obstacle. Get a backhoe in there
for a few hours and the problem is solved. Also, by moving the soil,
you will save on the cost of buying topsoil, which could more than pay
for the backhoe.
BEEN THERE DONE ALL THIS:(
The problem largely depends on WHERE that water is coming from. If your
in just a little bit of a valley or place where water flows underground
all that earth moving will perhaps look nice but accomplish nothing.
certinally downspouts must direct water well away from foundation, and
gutters clean so they dont overflow dumping water at foundation. futher
grade should be away from home.
I DID ALL THIS!!! and it didnt help much, just slowed the volume a
finally got inside french drain with sump pump and that was the end of
the outside work cost over 8 grand including new sidewalks near home,
but it didnt help the water table was just below the level of the
the interior drain at 4 grand might have saved me a ton of money, and
unreal amount of work putting in new lawn and all that went with it.
run some estimates for backhoe etc, fill dirt, recommend drain in area
with gravel to keep water away from foundation.
then price interior french drain and decide.....
theres the right way, regrading yard removing trees etc.
then theres the easy way, interior drain, which is standard equiptement
on most new homes today.
Honestly I enjoyed ther BIG DIG as that summer was named here. could of
cried when it didnt fix the problem:(
you might be surprised, a friend worked for a water well driller and
claimed sometimes they hit a lot of water on top of hill very shallow.
apparently springs go uphill or something with the right conditions.
do price the interior french drain even just for the effected area of
basement. just for the heck of it estimates are FREE.
you might be surprised that for just the cost of one pro tree removal
you could fix the water problem from inside and avoid a ton of work
mess and save big bucks......
having been tru this you now know theres another solution, very
valuable just in case the outside work still leaves moisture issues...
Incidently a friend who happens to live at the top of a hill decided to
dig a dry well for his downspout drains. they were dumping water right
at his homes foundation..........
He began digging by hand, wanted the exercise, don is a long distance
at 6 feet he hit mud, by 8 feet running water and gave up. all some 30
feet from his home
his downspouts now go to the curb...
water is very specific to location, his next door neighbor had a
backhoe in for sewer work.
one area down 12 feet DRY, got 20 feet away water flooded entire
trench, they had to pump it out.
backhoe operator says that happens a lot./
Lotsa French Drain talk here. I really didn't know what it was so I
Googled it. Turns out I did know what it was but not by name.
What I was surprised at though was possibly creating a termite problem!!!
See TERMITE PROBLEMS WITH FRENCH DRAINS topic at
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