How to Build Up Dirt Around Foundation?

How to Build Up Dirt Around Foundation

It’s never a good thing to have water flowing into your foundation. It either sits there and gradually weakens the structure or leaks in through existing holes or cracks to cause moisture problems in your basement.

Now, one of the best drainage improvement methods is to grade the soil around your house using dirt.

By grading the landscape around the home, water will find it easier to flow away from your house saving you from potential disaster.

Here is how to use dirt to grade your home foundation:


  • 10-foot wood board
  • A level
  • Tape measure
  • Writing paper/pen
  • Dirt

Step 1: Measure The Current Slope

Measure the current slope as determined by the soil surrounding the house to assess the amount by which the soil grade requires to be raised.

Take your 10-foot wood board and set its first end on the ground immediately next to your house’s foundation.

Now place the level at an ideal spot on top of your board.  Next, lift the other end of the 10-foot board until your level reads that the board is evenly positioned.

To complete, measure the distance from where the board ends to the ground and record the findings.

Step 2: Decide On the Amount of Sloping Desired

Now you need to make the crucial decision: how much sloping do you want for your house?

Here is the tricky bit:

The minimum recommendations regarding the soil grading around homes vary depending on location. However, it’s generally agreed that the more sloping away your home is, the better it is as far as reducing moisture problems is concerned.

To move forward, let’s take an example:

Assuming you got a 2-inch distance from the edge of the board to the ground in the previous step, you would definitely want to raise the grade so perhaps the new distance should be 4”, 5” or even 6-inches.

Tip: You can consult a local grading professional for advice on the ideal grading if everything else fails.

Step 3: Build Up The Foundation Soil Grade To The Desired Distance

Now start building up the prevailing soil grade around the house by dumping soil dirt right up to against the foundation. You will add adequate soil to the ground right by the foundation so as to establish a good base before measuring the distance from the base, still with your 10-foot board to check the new difference in the sloping.

If you’re not satisfied, add some more dirt then repeat the measurements.

When okay with your new soil grade, proceed to build the dirt up around the whole foundation to the new height.

Step 4: Fill The Remaining Area

Now fill in the remaining area around your house’s foundation to about 10-feet out from where the perimeter of your house is. Add dirt to the lower heights while moving out away from your house to build a steady but gradual slope.

Step 5: Check For Consistency

Once you complete, lay the 10-foot board once more over the ground and measure the slope.

You should ensure that the board is sloped down flat without any drips or holes beneath it as you do this.

Check the slope all round at 1-foot intervals so as to be sure of a consistent slope around the entire home.


There go the steps on how to use dirt to grade your home’s foundation. As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward.

It’s however always good to consult a professional if stuck.

One thought on “How to Build Up Dirt Around Foundation?”

  1. Question for you, after you build up the dirt around your foundation what do you do to give it a finished look so you aren’t looking at dirt when looking at your new home.

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