While you might never consider the grade of your home's lawn, a home inspection company definitely will. The grade, or slope the lawn forms either toward or away from your house, is a crucial factor in how your home drains water after heavy snowmelt or rainfall. A poorly graded lawn allows water to collect near walls and can lead to basement leaks, which makes it a point of interest for inspectors. Rather than getting a negative report on your home inspection, fix your lawn's grade now. Doing so will protect your belongings, shore up your foundation against water damage and make it easier to sell your house in the future.
Find the issue
To find out if your lawn is improperly graded, inspect it after your area experiences a lot of precipitation. If you find any pools of water, your home has a grading issues. These issues are common, and may not be serious. You should become concerned if the water is accumulating next to your home's foundation. This indicates that the ground surrounding your home does not slant enough to drain water. It's bad to have water sitting against your home's foundation because prolonged exposure to moisture will end in basement leaks and structural issues.
If you simply need to move the water farther from your home, check your downspouts. Many homes have insufficient downspouts that do not carry water far enough away. Even if your home has a decent grade near the foundation, dumping all of the water from the roof against the basement's walls will lead to leaks. Set up longer downspouts that direct water away and make sure your gutters are clear and functioning properly.
Make the grade
A proper grade slopes dramatically away from a home for around five feet and then adjusts to a gentler angle for the remainder of the lawn. If the area immediately around your house does not slope at a rate of about two or three inches per foot, it is insufficiently graded. You can contact a professional to correct this issue, or handle it yourself. In either case, you will need to pick out a material for the space between your home and lawn. This buffer area should not have any plants, as they can hold water in the ground near your foundation. Instead, this area should consist of gravel or mulch placed over a breathable fabric surface. The fabric prevents erosion and should maintain the grade for years to come.