LANDSCAPING AND GRADING
Your yard is graded so that surface water drains away from your foundation and is consistent with the overall drainage pattern for your property in relation to your neighbors. These patterns should not be changed when you work on your yard or install landscaping. Drainage swales facilitating water run-off should not be leveled and should be kept clear of leaves and debris.
It is extremely important to maintain the slope of the ground away from your home. The backfill around your foundation will settle over the course of time and this settlement may cause low areas in which water may become entrapped against the foundation. Water entrapment near foundations is a prime cause of wet basements, footing settlement and foundation movement in expansive soils and high humidity problems in cold climates. During this settlement period, it is important to fill these low areas in order to maintain positive drainage away from the house. Similarly, it is unwise to plant shrubbery within two or three feet of the foundation because of water entrapment. Further, avoid lawn sprinklers from wetting the house or causing puddles to form alongside the foundations.
As in the case of backfill settlement, settlement may occur over trenches that were dug for sewer, water and utility services. It is similarly important to fill any depressions caused by settlement.
In spite of your understandable desire to beautify your yard as soon as possible, we recommend that you delay major landscaping projects until after the first year of occupancy at which time most of any settlement that is to occur will have taken place.
Your lot may be seeded or sodded in order to establish a stand of grass and to stabilize the lawn for erosion control. In the case of newly seeded/sodded lawns, it is imperative that the lawn be heavily watered particularly during the early morning hours until the lawn has "taken". Please review any specific lawn care directions that might be applicable to your particular situation.
To prevent soil erosion, plant ground cover, grass or shrubbery on slopes and banks and direct water run-off to avoid the formation of gullies. Erosion caused by water running off the roof can be minimized by installing sod or rock from the foundation to well clear of the roof overhang. With gutters and downspouts, soil erosion can be minimized by the installation of splash blocks.
Before digging in your yard, make sure you know the location of buried electrical, gas, and telephone lines. If in doubt, your local utility company is normally very willing to locate the lines for you.
In the case of wooded lots, we are extremely sensitive to preserving the natural beauty of the environment. Further, in many cases, tree removal is carefully monitored and controlled by tree specialist under the jurisdiction of the local municipality. If you wish to remove existing trees from your property, take care to check with the local governing authority as unauthorized removal may result in a fine. Any trees to be removed should be cut to within 3" from the ground and the wood cut into manageable lengths for future handling.