Benefits of Grading Your New Orleans Home’s Lawn

by Megan WildJuly 13, 2017

Are you dealing with a soggy lawn and not sure what to do? It’s hard to enjoy your outdoor space if your yard feels like you’re walking across a soaked sponge. But don’t worry. You can correct the problem with proper grading and compacting.

What Are Grading and Compacting?

Grading is a method of “reshaping” your lawn so the soil slopes, allowing water to run off instead of saturating the ground around your home. This is of great importance to NOLA residents, who live in a low-lying area that receives a high amount of rainfall each year. When done correctly, grading will divert rainwater away from your home’s foundation and toward an approved drainage system.

Soil compacting, meanwhile, is a process to make the lawn denser. The lawn should be compact enough that you don’t leave footprints.

Grading and Compacting Equipment

You can likely do most landscaping projects on your own. However, keep in mind that these projects are time-consuming and often require specific equipment for grading and compacting. Also, consider some other problems that may arise when doing it on your own:

  • Digging in a wrong area and knocking out power
  • Not having proper permits
  • Not knowing specific building codes

You can prevent these problems by contacting your local building department and utility company in New Orleans before beginning your project.

The equipment needed can vary based on the compaction method, but in most cases, you’ll need tamper rollers or rammers. A motor grader is the most commonly used equipment for grading a lawn.
Construction Equipment
If you don’t feel comfortable operating this equipment, you can hire a contractor to do so. Keep in mind there are several factors that can affect the cost of having your yard graded:

  • Size of your yard
  • Quality of your soil
  • Extent of damage
  • Need for erosion control
  • Land assessment

A civil engineer can develop a grading plan that outlines techniques to divert groundwater, as well as grading slopes to direct water away from the foundation and towards an outlet, like the Mississippi. They can also determine how much soil to remove and fill back in, depending on where you’re located in New Orleans.

What Are the Benefits?

Improperly graded yards can cost you a lot of money down the road, especially if you put off doing the work instead of taking care of problems right away. You may encounter a host of problems like puddles around your home and damage to your lawn, patio or deck, which can lower the value of your home in comparison to other homes in New Orleans. The excess water also makes it harder to care for your lawn.

Moisture around your foundation can also increase the likelihood of termites. Some termites live in moist soil, so another benefit of grading is keeping the area drier to prevent soft-bodied termites from thriving. Formosan termites are well known to New Orleans, and they’re certainly the last thing you want in your home.

The benefits of grading and compacting are more than just a drier lawn. Compacting your soil has a variety of benefits:

  • Increases soil strength
  • Makes soil more stable
  • Reduces water seepage
  • Reduces soil settlement
  • Prevents soil swelling and collapse

Proper grading also has its advantages. Mainly, it prevents water from flowing back to your home’s foundation. The weight of excess water can break down your foundation wall, causing cracks and structural damage.

Grading also helps ensure rainwater is diverted properly to prevent erosion and flooding.

Grading is not a complicated process, but one that can improve the look of your lawn and help avoid significant damage that can lead to complex, expensive repairs. It’s best to take care of drainage problems, especially if your home is in a flood prone area like New Orleans, as soon as you become aware of them. Even if they seem insignificant at first, they can quickly escalate.

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About The Author
Megan Wild
Megan Wild enjoys finding easy and low-stress ways to improve your home. In her downtime, she enjoys flipping flea market finds, hanging out with her dog, and writing on her home-themed blog, Your Wild Home. She's passionate about sustainability and environmentalism, and you can find her tweeting about both @Megan_Wild.