Altering terrain for drainage, usefulness, aesthetics

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2022

One of the biggest landscaping projects that seems to be overlooked, or put off until later, is dealing with poor or awkward lots. Perhaps this is something the builder or former owner of your home didn’t thoroughly consider. However, if the slopes or drainage are going to cause issues later on, they ought to be addressed early on in landscaping a home.


Adding a patio or driveway, or any other major new construction affects drainage, creates wet spots and more areas not accessible to lawn tractors, and often is not given much thought. Then, some other contractor is eventually called to deal with standing water, wet basements or crawl spaces, slopes that are constant pains to maintain, and so forth.

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If dealt with early in the building or landscaping process, money is saved and troubles are avoided before they start.


Hopefully, the builder of your home sculpted the topsoil around the home in such a manner that the water from a hard rain drains away and does not puddle or pond at the edges of the home itself. On a new construction, this is an issue to bring up under a home’s warranty.


Rain should drain away from a home. I find it rather amazing when a current owner of a home has had this issue for decades and finally calls on someone for help. You can’t really do new landscaping or any other projects until you solve your water issues.


Sculpting, grading, and terracing are like tools for fixing mechanical problems, only in this case the problems are the earth or the lack of good alterations. Some problems can’t be fixed by planting the right tree or shrub in the yard. Sometimes the land itself has to be rearranged before a lovely landscape can be installed for it to thrive.


Loads of good soil, terraces, and retaining walls are used when sculpting your outdoor area. Leveling a hill or filling a gully are a couple of things that we might consider in altering the layouts of our yards.


Sometimes rock outcroppings, gullies, knolls, and boggy areas can be worked around or incorporated into the landscape plan. Sometimes, a dozer or backhoe is the remedy for the troublesome hill, ditch, rock, gully, pond, wet crawl space, or soggy flower bed or garden.


Consider if you need to alter the land itself before starting landscaping or gardening projects. Sometimes it’s the best use of money rather than spending cash on shrubs and plantings. May your garden ventures all be successful! The odds are better if terrain problems are solved before the other chores begin.


The author is a landscaper. You can reach him at 606-416-3911. Feedback and ideas are encouraged.