Those Who Build the Buildings

Those Who Build the Buildings

How Do Calculations Factor Into A Land Grading Project?

Ashley Hart

Lots of calculations go into a land grading project. The job often involves more than figuring out what you want the slope of a hill or even a flat area to be. Here is how calculations factor into the work.


Before you run a single number for a project, you need to be aware of your purpose. Suppose you need to flatten a site for the construction of a new parking lot. There are almost no cases where a parking lot is going to be perfectly flat. A typical parking lot needs a drainage system, and the pavement has to have a small grade somewhere to direct the water into the drains.

You may have some options. If you can create a single slope, you might direct all of the water to one end of the parking lot. Conversely, you may need to grade the land toward the center where a system of drains will collect the run-off.


The calculations you hand to a land grading contractor also have to account for the site's limitations. Local, state, and federal laws often limit steering run-off into locations that affect the water table, for example. A drainage system may have capacity limits, too.

You have to think about how you're going to grade the area to account for these limitations. For example, a company worried about pollution in its run-off may need to direct uncollected water to an artificial storage pond for treatment or transportation.

Soil Type

Soil compaction and drainage are major factors. Especially if you're going to place structures on top of the graded soil, you need to be aware of how much it's likely to settle. You may need to work with a civil engineering firm to calculate how much you want the land grading contractor to compact the soil.

The soil type will significantly affect the area's drainage, too. Some soils have high clay contents, and you may have to rely almost entirely on the grade to carry water away. Conversely, looser soil may contribute to drainage.


Especially when you're trying to grade hills and banks, the aesthetics matter. Gradual grades look more pleasant, but they may render a larger area unused.


Finally, you need to think about how wind, precipitation, and even gravity will reshape the terrain. Land grading will provide years or even decades of benefit, but the results are never permanent. The right calculations, however, can reduce erosion and possibly forestall the need for future grading work.

For more information, contact a land grading contractor near you.


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