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Question DetailsAsked on 5/28/2016

i need dirt to put near home for drainage, what type of dirt do I need and how much do I need

My back yard slopes towards my home and I need to fill it so it drains away from my house. I have 1100 sq ft home, not a huge lot, but would like to know what type of dirt or fill do I get and how much do I need? A truck load? A cubic foot? ton?

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Assuming this is just a minor slope drainage issue, not a flood or stream coming into your yard, a Landscaping contractor would be the normal Search the List category for this type of work.

For a DIY job, generally you want a poorly draining but compactable soil like a dirty or clayey gravel for the pad or berm around the house (being sure not to build up the ground right at the foundation because it can promote insect infestations). Depending on local materials, for a larger size berm (more than say a foot high or so) commonly a general gravelly fill would be used for the berm or platform construction, then a silty/clayey soil used for the impervious facing layer, toes down into the native soil as a cutoff. Whatever soil you use, it needs to be compacted well to limit the permeability - and if your native soil isw pretty free draining, needs to hold the runoff typically 5-10 feet away from the house so it does not just flow through the native ground to the foundation.

Another option in many cases is to instead dig a swale for the water to flow through around the house - or in areas with difficult topography sometimes a clean gravel-filled trench with a perforated drain pipe in it leading through the higher areas will it can reach a lower area it can drain out to. Whether you go with a berm or a swale/french drain is mostly dependend on whether you want a rise or low spot in your yard, and on the topography along the flowpath - whether a berm will cause ponding or not, and whether a swale will freely drain to an acceptable location or not, or if you need to pipe it underground partway to get through high ground that cannot reasonably or acceptably be lowered to allow surface flow. Also, if you are in extremely free-draining native soils, you may need to either line a swale to limit infiltration, or use a drain pipe to drain the water away so it cannot make it to the house foundation if it is not designed to handle groundwater up against it. Theese are the sort of questions a landscaper who does a lot fo drainage remediation, or a Civil engineer, can answer and address.

How much you need depends on how large you want it to extend around the house (if doing it as a pad around the foundation) or how high it needs to be if a berm. Generally, you are looking at around 1.5-2 tons per cubic yard (CY) for that sort of material if buying by the ton - a cubic yard being 27 cubic feet of material. A normal dumptruck load is typically 10-14CY, for about $225-350 (dumped, not spread) probably in most areas. Sometimes you are talking many truckloads to solve a serious downslope flow issue for a house in a low spot, in most cases where it is possible to divert the flow around the house to one side or the other more like a truckload or two for a normal house and yard.

Since you asked if you needed a truck load, cubic foot, or ton I would say you need some guidance on this - from a landscaping contractor if you want to have it all done by a contractor, or find a friend with earthwork experience or a Civil Engineer who handles drainage issues to design up a remedy for you and figure the materials needed.

Of course, if looking at doing it yourself, consider where he can get to to dump it (considering plantings, lawn damage, fences, etc) and how you intend to move it there - because a cubic yard at a ton and a half to two tons is about 7-10 good full large wheelbarrow loads for a normal person, so you are talking 100-150 trips with a wheelbarrow to move a truckload of soil. In my yard I do it about 1 to 1-1/2 yard at a time fence issues) in the cool of the evening - good solid hour or more of hard labor, spaced out every few days so it takes me a couple of weeks to move a full truckload from the drive at the street to back yard. You definitely have to be in decent shape and able to handle a decently loaded wheelbarrow if you are talking hand-moving a truckload of fill - otherwise be looking at a contractor to do the entire job.

Make sure your roof runoff is controlled properly too - so it does not pool by the foundation, and so it has a way to readily drain away from the house and past any berm you may put in - or so it flows away from the house freely to your drainage swale or french drain location if doing it that way.

Also - be sure where you are dumping this water does not cause issues for neighbors or cause erosion.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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