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Reasonable parameters for pitch of lawn

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Stonehenge, May 30, 2002.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I'm having some problems with a customer who firmly believes that we haven't done our job with regard to the grading of her yard prior to sodding.

    I believe we've done just about everything that we can; it's just that the original drainage plan, coupled with the grading of adjacent lots prior to our arrival, has limited our ability to make water flow.

    What's a common grade/pitch for grading lawns as set forth by engineers in drainage plans? With this one we have about 1" per 10', and it just doesn't seem like enough to make the water flow.
  2. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    I believe that 1"- 10' is standard for paved areas, but turf requires 2" - 10'. This is most likely due to the irregularities of a turf surface compared to solid ones.

    I've run into this senerio with the proper grading, though. I found that once the sod took root and the lawn smoothed out, watershed was improved by the grass using more water and the surface becoming more consistant. Not to mention they watered the heck out of the new sod ( as recommended ) so it appeared mushy for a long time 'til it got "settled".

    How long ago was it installed?
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    For brick pavements the recommended pitch is 1" every 4', and we'll go to 1" per 8'. But that's still more than what we've got for this lawn.

    And 1" per 10' is generous - it's actually less than that.

    I'm trying to strike a balance between being reasonable (fixing what needs fixing), and wasting my time.
  4. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    On pavers I aim for 2" fall for every 8'. On Grass I look for a minimum of 4" fall for every 8'. Even then it drains very slowly.
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    That's what I'm thinking, too. We just finished a yard a few days ago that had 3' drop over 160' - even that is just shy of 1" per 4', but that one was relatively easy.

    To be able to grade this part of this yard I'm thinking I'd have to pull out my screed pipe. And even then, step on the sod when it's wet and the grade will be off.

    Are there any sources anyone can think of that I can cite when talking to this person, as to minimum pitch requirements for turf areas?
  6. Shawn Burns

    Shawn Burns LawnSite Member
    from N.C.
    Messages: 181

    I don't know about resources you can use, but i do some hydroseeding for a grading contractor that pitches his lots at 6%. These lots are flat(relativly) and slab houses are being built on them. Don't know if this helps any.
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    I worked for an engineer. Absolute minimum on a lawn area was 1%. Keep in mind that we are in an area that is usually sandy. We tried to keep a 2% minimum when ever possible.
    It looks great on paper, but when you think of evenly sloping loam 1" over 8'4" with a rake it is pretty hard to do ... you can not eyeball that.
    We did have problems in areas we designed at 1% because the contractors simply could not or did not grade to that fine a tolerance.
    Stick to 2% minimum.
    The standards used in the Landscape Architect Registration Exam have 2% as the minimum slope in an unpaved area as well.
  8. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    That's helpful info. Thank you.

    In looking at data from our last visit and last shooting of grade, there was about 8-10" drop over 120', or just a hair more than half of 1%.
  9. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Funny I notice this thread today .... did a job last year and was limited by concrete as how we could grade... the concrete was not there when it was bid ....long story short... guy was holding back $500.00 ...said it was not graded properly .... we did the absolute best you could do.... it was 1% ..NOT ENOUGH FOR TURF... sure it was fine for the concrete that was poured.

    Again ... long story short....told him to keep the $500.00 that there was nothing more we could do for him.

    Things like this will happen once in a blue moon ...piss'es you off. We strive to do our absolute best to ensure that each and every customer is happy.

    2 to 3 % is what we aim for.

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