Advice on re-grading land to slope away from house?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Markham
9/16/2014 at 11:11:17 AM

We have had basement flooding and have fixed the window well but now I need to fix the grade so that water flows away from the foundation. The area is mostly covered by pavers so I would remove and replace those.

I have a few questions I was hoping someone could help with:

1. What type of fill should I use? I've heard differing opinions on limestone screening or 'A' gravel. I've heard A gravel is not good for leveling with patio stones and will still let water flow through. So is limestone screening better?

2. How thick a layer of fill should I lay down? I'm assuming around 4"?

3. Does it make any sense to lay a tarp or barrier flat on the sloped ground under the fill to catch the water and drain it away from the house? One person suggested this but I'm not sure it's a good idea.

4. Is there a quicker way to remove the existing dirt other than a shovel? I'm doing it by myself so don't want a large excavator but if there is a push machine that I could rent, that would work.

5. Any other suggestions for DIY grading?

Thank you,


User Icon
Date/Time9/16/2014 at 12:40:40 PM

Hi Brett,

You should definitely use limestone screening to level you patio stones of at least 6" compacted every 2 inches.

The idea is to get the water away from the house, so "A" gravel or 3/4" gravel are not a good idea as the substrata will not facilitate water flowing away from the house but rather allow water to filter through,

Laying down a trap is not a good idea, as it will allow the substrata to move, it needs to be in contact with the ground.

There are small excavators, but if you don't have experience with them, I don't recommend them so close to the house.

Since this is attempting to prevent a flooding problem, I don't recommend doing it yourself, you might consider doing some of the preparation work, moving stones, digging up dirt yourself and then let the experts do the rest.

Good luck!

User Icon
Brett in Markham
Date/Time9/16/2014 at 1:34:01 PM

Thanks Alex.

Do you think it's necessary to excavate the existing soil base or just add the limestone screening on top? It will probably require at least 2-4" of screening added to bring it to the level it should be. It would be easier to add to it but I want to make sure that won't compromise the quality of water flow.

User Icon
Ann in Winnipeg
Date/Time5/27/2018 at 1:30:40 PM


I am wondering how things worked out with your regrading? I am mostly wondering if you used limestone screening and if you did how is that working? Also I'm wondering how you went about doing this.

I would greatly appreciate your input as we are considering using limestone (1/4 down) beside our house and I'm curious to know how porous it is. Does it actually become solidified allowing water to flow overtop?


User Icon
Brett in Markham
Date/Time5/27/2018 at 1:53:49 PM

I re-graded and used the limestone screening. The ground now visibly slopes away from the house and the good news is that it has worked perfectly. After multiple floods, we haven't had any water come into the basement in the past 3 years. I highly recommend following this approach.

User Icon
Ann in Winnipeg
Date/Time5/27/2018 at 10:09:29 PM

That's great!

What are the steps that you used? Is important to add water and compact the crushed limestone with a packer or compacter.

User Icon
Brett in Markham
Date/Time5/28/2018 at 8:16:54 AM

I didn't add water to the limestone. I poured it, leveled it to the slope I wanted and then I compressed it with a stamper (not sure what that tool is actually called - heavy square that you slam down). I had patio stones over the limestone that I had to remove and replace so that might be different for you.

User Icon
Ann in Winnipeg
Date/Time5/28/2018 at 12:12:03 PM

Thank-you so much for the info-this is very helpful!

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors