Decoding Grading Understanding Its Workings and Significance for Your Landscape

Decoding Grading: Understanding Its Workings and Significance for Your Landscape


How often have you faced the problem of water seeping into the foundation of your home? Or is excess water constantly accumulating in your backyard, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes? If any of the aforementioned problems feel relatable, you have come to the right place! Are you looking for one solution? Well, we have got the answer for you: grading! In this blog, MPR Landscapes will explore the basic concept of grading. We will also guide you through its significance, its many benefits, and different grading techniques.


Grading refers to the phenomena of sculpting or leveling the land to fit the needs of your outdoor space. You level the land or form slopes to control excess water flow. It is all about manipulating the terrain and molding the topography to allow a proper water route. It aids in creating water flow away from the vulnerable structures of your space. It not only makes your outdoor space or backyard more functional, but it can also increase the visual appeal of your space. Grading also accommodates on-site structure and hardscaping features with the intention of causing minimum disruption to the area. In addition, grading prevents several problems in your backyard that are likely to occur due to excess water. Let us look at four significant problems that grading can help you against.

what is grading


Poor water management causes one of the major problems – waterlogging. In this condition, your landscape becomes highly saturated with water. The excess accumulation of water results in the death of your plants and trees as the oxygen is not absorbed into the soil. Moreover, you will likely witness mold growth due to excessive moisture.

Breeding Ground For Mosquitoes

The stagnant water in your landscape will soon become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. A standing water pool or puddle is ideal for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. From larval to pupa stages, mosquitoes thrive on the water surface. They pose a severe threat, especially to children, as they like to play outside more. Waterlogged areas, hence, are optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes and should be prevented at any cost.

A Dire Threat To House Foundation

Poor grading is a significant reason water seeps into your home’s foundation. The excess water from irrigation or rainfall accumulates in your garden and moves toward the home structure. This water can fill up the cracks or gaps in your foundation. Moreover, winter’s constant expansion and contraction exert more pressure on the cracks, causing them to expand. Your foundation materials are likely to erode under pressure. Hence, excess water can potentially result in structural damage to your place.

Harm To The Hardscaping Features 

Hardscaping features play an essential role in enhancing the aesthetics of your space. Not only do they make your garden more functional, but they also contribute to adding character to an otherwise bland outlook. However, water, excess of it, is likely to harm your hardscaping features. It can lead to soil erosion and surface cracks. The materials used in pathways or retaining walls, such as concrete and stones, will erode over time due to constant water action. So your hardscaping landscape elements deteriorate gradually. Similarly, water runoff causes eventual discoloration. That is why inspecting your landscape’s soft and hardscaping features is vital. Catching the problem early on and providing prompt responses will save you a lot of time and money in the future.


Before we move onto the technicalities of grading, let us consider the most critical question: do you need grading or not? Take a keen look around your space. The presence of certain signs will convince you whether it is time for grading or regarding yet. For instance, you may witness uneven ground that is causing poor drainage. Or there may be areas that are waterlogged.  If you see the signs mentioned earlier, then it is time to add grading to your landscape. Here’s how you can do it: 

✴️ Start by assessing the soil and terrain of your place.
✴️ Make sure you plan and measure the slope angles and contours.
✴️ Remove the topsoil, vegetation, or debris.
✴️ Use bulldozers to grade the area according to your plans. Sculpt the land to your desired levels.
✴️ Add irrigation lines, geogrids, or drainage systems to your space. You can opt for various available systems that cater to your specific needs.
✴️ Add the topsoil back. Adding a layer of topsoil or gravel can reduce moisture problems.
✴️ You can also choose additional vegetation to plant on slopes.


Significance of landscape grading

Grading becomes essential for your landscape once you understand its significance. It allows smooth water flow and facilitates water drainage in your place. Moreover, it ensures the long life of your hardscaping features by preventing erosion. Grading is usually done before the addition of hardscaping elements. In a way, it is done to accommodate the intended use of the land. It takes into account the hardscaping elements. The two can work together to control water flow and direct it into proper channels efficiently.

Grading is also intricately related to water drainage systems. Both processes complement each other well. The latter helps the water flow away from structures. The slopes of grading efficiently direct water towards drainage outlets. Furthermore, it is during grading that professionals recommend installing drainage systems. Both components work together in harmony and effectively give maximum output. Some popular drainage system components are French drain systems, swales, or channel drains. Grading is quite significant when it comes to planning overall landscape design. Ideally, ensure you make thorough grading plans before planting so your space does not get disrupted later.


Let us have a look at different types of grading techniques for landscapes. Remember that considering the characteristics of your soil and evaluating needs is paramount when choosing the right grading technique. 

Cut and Fill

As the name suggests, the cut-and-fill grading technique is all about cutting or excavating earth and then filling another place with the soil or embankment earth. So you cut in high areas, excavate the soil and fill the lower areas with it so that you can have a level field.  By correctly cutting and filling, you achieve the proper contours that cater to the demands of your area. Moreover, you require heavy machinery like bulldozers or motor graders to get the job done.


Terracing is a grading technique that is quite common, especially in northern areas. It involves creating multiple terraces or levels on steep slopes of mountains or hills. At the edge, retaining walls are then constructed. Doing so helps to hold or retain soil. The elongated, varying-level platforms serve as aesthetically pleasing points and help provide planting areas. You optimally utilize the given steep terrain by planting vegetation, retaining the soil, and controlling soil erosion. It is a technique that profoundly affects aesthetics and fulfills functional needs as well.

Slope Creation

Grading can not only be used for leveling the land but also to make slopes. These elevations make direct water away from your house’s foundation easy. 

Moreover, slopes prevent stagnant water puddles from forming. Couple this functionality aspect with adequate drainage systems, and voila! You get a landscape with proper drainage and grading. The site of your landscape and your specific requirements will decide whether the slopes ought to be steep or gentle. This technique can be used to establish gentle slopes for aesthetic purposes or to facilitate proper drainage. You can also do contouring here to enhance the natural contours of your outdoor space. Creating slopes is functional, ensures proper water drainage, and can increase the visual appeal of your area.


Infiltration berms or mounds are made of compacted soil, earth, gravel, stone, or rock. These are usually gentler on one side, with one defined edge and elongated shape. They effectively act as barriers to control the flow of water. For instance, placing a berm can stop rainwater from entering vulnerable areas. Moreover, you can use them to plant vegetation, mitigating the risk of soil erosion and providing complementary elevation for flower beds.  


Mounds are similar to berms in their appearance, yet their functionality differs vastly. They are gentler in appearance and do not have defined edges as opposed to berms. As far as the utilitarian aspect is concerned, mounds can serve as focal points of your space, directing the attention of onlookers to places you want them to see first. They add varying dimensions to your landscape design to create an exciting outlook. Berms do not serve as focal points; instead, they are used mainly to prevent water from entering unwanted spaces.

That is not to say mounding does not serve any function. They also prevent water flow into important areas by acting as physical barriers. Moreover, they can inhibit the entry of unwanted animals or rodents into your backyard.


Grading is a process of adjusting the surface level, creating slopes, and manipulating terrain to serve the aesthetic and functional needs of your landscape design. It also solves a multitude of problems, such as soil erosion, water runoff causing foundation damage, harm to hardscaping elements, and poor drainage.

Moreover, it prevents your space from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Excess moisture in the soil negatively impacts plant growth. The stagnant water turns your soil texture marshy. Prior to grading, you have to evaluate the soil conditions, topography and determine the functional aspects of your space. You can either level your place or create multiple elevations in this way. Start by removing topsoil, grading, and adding drainage systems for optimal results. Sculpting of the land is done using huge machines, like bulldozers. The topsoil layer is added back, and you can plant your vegetation there. Make sure you perform grading in dry seasons. Heavy rainfall and storms can ruin your efforts.


It is important to note that grading is an arduous activity that requires precision, thorough planning, and good execution to overcome complexities. Incorrect elevations can ruin your landscape’s visual appeal as well as functionality. They can lead to possible erosion, waterlogging, and destruction of ecosystems. Heavy machinery like bulldozers can potentially damage your property and foundations. Resultantly, the repairs will be costly. Therefore, we recommend you consult with professionals and take their advice. You can hire professionals like MPR Landscapes, who excel at grading and drainageOur trained staff evaluates your soil composition, natural topography, and local rules and regulations. We also have the skills and expertise to deal with drainage issues. 

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Only after a proper assessment we start the strenuous work of calculating the appropriate slope angles and all the relevant measurements. Grading requires the use of proper machinery with the suitable skill set that MPR Landscape readily provides. Otherwise, using giant graders will likely damage your house property or pathways. Contact us today for further details, and hire us for a smooth grading implementation into your landscape design! We also offer other relevant services, such as lawn maintenance, snow removal, masonry and stonework, installation of irrigation systems, and upkeep of sprinklers. 


Regularly maintaining your drainage systems alongside grading is critical. Proper inspection is the key to detecting problems early on! However, it’s better to let professionals get the job done for you accurately. Hire professionals like us for grading as it is a task that requires much attention to minute details and frequently involves complicated calculations. It is crucial to correctly estimate the soil conditions, topography, and drainage requirements. Professionals like MPR Landscapes offer the right expertise and proficiency to do the job. No matter the complexity of the job, you can rely on us for expert opinions and services tailored to your specific sites! So if this sounds like the service you’ve been looking for, feel free to reach out to us today. Call us to make an appointment for your next dreamy landscape project!

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