To help divert water away from my home's foundation, I am trying to improve the grade of the landscape around the perimeter of the house. I suffered a flooded basement (about 1" or so) from hydrostatic pressure after recent rain storms that lasted over 3 days.

Question: When I grade the area around my home, what kind of soil mix should I use to help divert water away from the foundation?

Note: I have rose bushes that will need to go.

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  • How is the water getting near your house? Do you have gutters that are clogged and overflow, sending water down close to the side of your house? If so, cleaning the the gutters might be all you need. Where do the gutters exhaust? Is the outlet too close to your house? Also, the photo you provided looks like there is already a grade. Are the other sides of your house similarly graded? Do your neighbors get water in their basements? If so, there may be a high water table.
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Jan 10, 2016 at 0:19
  • 1
    If you had 1" of water throughout your basement, I would recommend no matter what you come up with and what precautions you take, assume water will come into your basement sometime, even if it is minimal. Definitely take the precautions you can: grading, gutters, extending downspouts far away from foundation, french drains, sealing walls from outside with EPDM, etc, but assume it will not work entirely. Water typically finds a way in when there is water all around you.
    – Damon
    Jan 10, 2016 at 4:39
  • The top of the picture has what looks like a downspout connection at the corner of the house dumping water next to the house.
    – fixer1234
    May 14, 2017 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


Grade looks good to me. The ground level should drop 6" within 10' of the house. From the pic, it looks like you have this covered.

If I'm right about the grade being correct, then the water in your basement isn't going to be solved by grading, BC grade isn't the problem.

Give your rain gutters an overhaul. Make sure they're all dumping water a good distance from the foundation. Youight need to step up your gutter cleaning regimen. I use the gutter attachment for my leaf blower - saves a lot of time. With an old maple and am ancient walnut near my roof, I have to clean them 2-3 times a year.

The rose bushes should be fine where they're at. You can pack soil around them if you're hellbent on adding grade.

To answer your question: it doesn't really matter what you use. Grading is to keep water from pooling against your house. Topsoil is fine, as long as it's sloped.

However, the grade looks okay and there's a proper amount of foundation above ground. I suspect faulty gutters are the issue here. The runoff from clogged gutters can spatter your foundation. It can even splash upwards into your siding - but that wouldn't cause an inch in your basement. The spatter against your foundation, or a cracked wall, would.

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