Flagstone pathway alongside backyard in Tigard, Oregon

Grading and Excavation

Oftentimes, a landscape calls for the movements of large amounts of soil. Whether this is needed to solve a drainage problem or simply to provide a sense of excitement and aesthetic appeal, we have the experience and necessary equipment to help.

Grading Your Site

Site grading invovles reshaping and recontouring the earth, which is a facy way of saying "moving a lot of dirt around." Try to work with the existing contours whenever possible to minimize time and expenses. The grading operation consists of two basic operations: cutting and filling. A cut involves removing dirt (that is, cutting into a hillside), and a fill involves adding dirt to the original grade. To avoid having to move excess dirt to or from your site, try to balance the amount of dirt you wish to cut with the amount you wish to fill.

Choosing the Right Slope

Site grading accomplishes two things. The first is functional and involves creating realtively flat areas and walks. The second enhances the aesthetic and sensory qualities of the site. Remember that a completely flat area can be just as undesirable as an excessively steep slope. Water will inevitably collect and remain in a flat area. For this reason, provide a slight slope to play areas, patios, and other areas of use. What we are really trying to do is to find a balance between creating relatively flat areas and avoiding water incursion and ponding. Recommended slopes for different areas are shown below. Note that a 0 percent slope is never recommended.

Suggested Slopes for Good Drainage
Type of Area: Minimum Slope: Maximum Slope:
Walkways and entrances 0.5% 5%
Patios 1% 2%
Lawn/play areas 0.5% 4%
Swales 1% 10%
Grassy Banks   25%
Planted Banks (vines or groundcover)   50%


Natural Landscape and Irrigation is located in Lake Oswego, Oregon and specializes in grading and excavation in the Greater Portland Metropolitan Area including Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn and surrounding areas. Please feel free to contact us for more details.


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