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Last year I moved into a new home, and I think I need to do some regrading work around the front and side of the home to bring the grading back to an acceptable standard. It appears to me like over some unknown amount of time (house was built in '75 and we don't have maintenance records from the prior owner due to estate sale) that the top-soil was eroded away from the stonework at the base of the front of the home, and away from some of the brickwork around the side.

My question is, does this look normal, or does it indeed need to have a bunch of new fill dirt added in to start partially covering the stonework and brick where the under-material is visible?

I was thinking I should order some bulk fill dirt from a local landscape supply, and fill in to just start covering the stonework and brick while maintaining about 8" clearance to the woodwork/siding. Then grade from there away from the house to achieve about a 1" drop over each foot. Does that seem appropriate? This area doesn't get much if any sunlight during the day, so would mulch be an appropriate top layer when I'm finished to help slow ongoing erosion and extend time between maintenance?

Images: https://imgur.com/a/PD0313l

Note: I'm in the Atlanta region, so a lot of the bulk soil material here is clay, but I've read that clay isn't great for this job.

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  • Most likely the soil was not properly/fully compacted at the time of construction and settled over time, rather than being eroded all that much.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 22:32
  • What makes you think the soil was eroded away—the fact that there's soil residue on the wall? That could simply be the impact of rain on the bare soil. OK, so that would be considered erosion, in that the soil was moved from the surface, but it's not like it's flowing away with the water. Have you ever seen a home under construction? Until the soil surrounding it has been stabilized, you'll see rain cause dirt to be splashed up the walls.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 14:09
  • diy.stackexchange.com/a/49561/23295 - Normal? Sure, for me. I've a house I have to do this every few years or so. The required tool is ~20 bags of dirt. You can order some bulk fill dirt if you like using shovels and wheel barrows. Or just a knife to cut bags you bought at the store, that will fit in your trunk 8 bags at a time. And then you tell the kid to take this over there, cut it open and just dump it along the house. Like 8" too high. Then maybe a stiff rake to flatten it into a good pitch and while you walk on it. If you get back to flat, then do it again.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 21:08

2 Answers 2

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You don't need 1" per foot (8% grade) - 1/8-1/4" per foot (1-2%) is plenty to move surface water away from the house. That is also less likely to erode than that much steeper slope.

Mulch on the surface is fine, so long as it's not covering up grade going the wrong way under the mulch. There are also shade tolerant plants, if you really have erosion problems.

If you have clay soil, you don't really want to try to establish grade with a very loose sandy material that water will flow through, unless the soil below that layer is ALSO sloped away from the house. New soil similar to the soil you have in place is fine, (preferably not much more clay, or much more sand) with the note that if you build up a lot, you should pencil in revisiting it after a year to see if you need to add more after settling.

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  • I use sharpies for that; might as well be a tattoo.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 21:15
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I dont think its eroded away. It was probably like that to begin with. It may have settled a fraction of an inch. In one of the photos you can see the lawn level, which is not much higher than the soil against the house.

I wouldnt worry about it. If it bothers you then perhaps add mulch or bark topping. Put some more plants in to hide it.

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