We live in Argyle TX and have a 42 yr old pier and beam house sitting at the bottom of a hill. I have called several people out for professional help and they want $5000 to $7000 to regrade put in French drains etc. I thought I could just create a swale and make a dry creek bed going around the house and directed down the hill more simply bit was concerned about how high is safe to build up on house side I'm assuming stay just below brick line?
I would avoid adding soil next to the foundation and instead focus on removing soil to make a swale 4 ft or so away from the foundation. For termite resistance it is best to keep the soil level at least 6 inches below the sill plate, and more is better.
I think a swale and dry creek bed are excellent solutions. If the topology allows it, they are preferred over underground drains.
Swales are much more in the province of a DIYer than are underground drains. I solved a neighbor's serious drainage problem with 8 hrs of work on my part using a mattock, shovel and wheelbarrow.
EDIT It could be that after a rain the water table around this house rises to ground level or above. If this is the case, then true French drains would be necessary to drain the soil.