Yard Grading


My backyard fence line is the highest point of the yard, which grades towards the house. The back fence is one-half raised vegetable bed with peonies, a Japanese maple and ground cover to one side, and dwarf lilac, euonymus grafted to trunk as a miniature tree, peony and ground cover on other side. The grade seems to have increased over the years, so there is a lot of moss on the west side of the yard and almost no grass. I must reseed every year. There is also a sunburst locust in the middle of this wet area, which is unfortunately about ten feet from the back of the house. This is Thornhill, so no storm drains and the whole street is improperly graded. Can you suggest a low cost, DIY but simple way to deal with this low wet area? Can I grade this myself? A river rock garden has been suggested. Can you suggest anything else? Thank you very much.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. There are options for dealing with wet areas of a yard (ex. bog gardens). However, before considering any option, I would strongly suggest you consult a landscape professional regarding the grading of your property. He or she can assess your yard and advise you on whether this can be remedied with simple do-it-yourself measures or whether professional intervention is necessary to effectively divert water away from the foundation of your house. The Landscape Ontario website can help you find a professional in your area.

You might also find this link to a previous Ask a Master Gardener post helpful. It offers some good suggestions for landscaping your yard, assuming you have had the yard assessed to ensure that the grading does not pose a risk to your house’s foundation.