What is Grading Land?

What is grading land? Well, it’s not handing the dirt an exam and giving it a B+ for effort! But if it’s not that, then what is it? To put it simply, grading land is leveling the surface so you get a nice and even surface to build on. Change this text to…  

How Does Grading Land Work? 

The process of grading land is pretty simple: the land is leveled by moving dirt from higher elevations (of the parcel) to lower ones. This creates a nice level surface to serve as the foundation for your project. Sometimes land grading may require you to move in additional dirt from somewhere else to complete the job.

Land grading doesn’t have to make an entirely flat surface – it is done on a slope as well to keep water from entering the future building! For example, if you want to build a stone walkway, you’ll likely want a nice flat surface on which to lay the stone. But if you want to channel rain water away from your house, you’ll want to grade the land on a slope that runs down and away from your home. 

You may consider land grading for any of the following issues:

  • To prepare for landscaping
  • To make an addition to your home
  • To build a new home
  • To create a new driveway
  • To add a concrete patio
  • To correct a drainage problem
  • To stop soil erosion
  • To promote erosion control

Land Grading is Not Land Leveling

We know it’s confusing, but land leveling and land grading are two different things. Land leveling is strictly an agricultural term that is used for surface irrigation.

Leveling ensures irrigating is done efficiently and effectively to make the most use of fertilizers and pesticides. In an unlevelled field, high spots might not be covered by irrigation water, and the dissolved nutrients and/or pesticides might percolate unused into the soil.

So land grading is not land leveling, even though land grading levels the land. Got it? Good. 

Who Works on a Land Grading Project?

Most often building contractors or land owners will collaborate with land development experts and/or land surveyors to measure the land’s slope grading before a new construction project.

This will help them prepare to level the surface.

Sometimes, you’ll have to deal with negative drainage – that is to say, water is flowing toward your proposed building instead of away from it. This is a huge issue for many reasons; water damage can cause cracks in your foundation, mold in your walls and floor, and many health and structural issues. Land development professionals can help you find a solution to this problem for undeveloped land and existing buildings. 

Or, if you’re experiencing negative drainage (meaning that water is flowing toward your structure instead of away from it) or any other drainage issues, you can also work with these individuals on land grading.

Types of Land Grading

Each piece of land is different in terms of its natural grading, soil makeup, and vegetation. This means that the type of land grading performed on it will change. Your land development company may use Bobcat machinery, find drainage solutions, excavate the property, and much more. 

Bobcat Machinery

A Bobcat is a versatile piece of machinery that can scoop and move dirt and then use a different attachment to flatten and smooth out the new surface. They are primarily used in most land grading projects, as they make moving dirt much more efficient and faster. 

Drainage Solutions

Proper drainage is a critical part of any project, as we mentioned earlier. It can be accomplished by grading the land on a slope to carry water downhill and into a stream or runoff, or by installing drainage pipes in the ground. This is an essential part of the land grading process, so make sure you hire a company that knows what they are doing! 


Sometimes, you have to dig yourself a hole to find the best place to build. Excavating involves digging down to create a low-lying area such as for the foundation of a structure or road.

Surface Smoothing

Your undeveloped land might look flat, but we promise that it’s not. When the surface is actually moved, it’s ready for construction. If it’s not, you run the risk of compromising your foundation’s stability. 

Topsoil Installation

This is pretty common too – sometimes your undeveloped land doesn’t have enough dirt to move around to level your land. If that’s the case, it may be necessary to bring in some topsoil. Topsoil is also useful for providing a foundation of healthy soil for plants to grow and is generally more aesthetically pleasing than the existing dirt.  

At the end of the day, all of this grading will ensure your land will have an A+ grade and will be ready to graduate into a building! If you need a residential or commercial land developer, give us a call at 480-660-9798 or visit us online!

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