What is site grading?

Site grading is the process of adjusting the slope and elevation of the soil around a home or building. Prior to construction or renovation, site grading may be performed to even out the surface and provide a solid foundation. For existing buildings, grading may be required to improve drainage and create the desired appearance for landscaping features.

Successful grading projects often require input from professional engineers. These individuals inspect the land to evaluate soil conditions and drainage problems. Geotechnical or civil engineers may also refer to local contour maps to learn more about elevation changes and how rainwater reaches local water bodies. Based on the advice from these professionals, homeowners or contractors can regrade the property as needed.

One of the primary concerns of site grading is to control the flow of storm water. Left uncontrolled, storm water may collect around the foundations of a building, leading to rot or safety issues. Excess moisture within the soil can also impact the ability of plants to grow, and can lead to a spongy or marshy soil texture.

I saw an advertisement for free dirt and I need some for my garden. Is it okay to make arrangements for delivery?

Think twice before making arrangements to have “free dirt” delivered to your home. There are usually costs incurred for the proper disposal of large quantities of dirt, so builders looking to avoid paying these fees will look for people who will allow them to deliver it to their homes. This dirt is from a building site and may be contaminated. 

Often, far more dirt than what is agreed upon is delivered, leaving the homeowner with the burden of disposing of it. These large dirt deliveries can have negative impacts on the drainage system, and may affect you or your neighbours’ properties. Road use agreements are also necessary when hauling large amounts of dirt, and if the delivery person did not have these agreements in place you could be on the hook if an agreement is not in place and damage is caused.

There is an area on my property that is always ponding with water. Can I fill it in with dirt to fix this?

The contours of your property could be a part of the natural drainage system. Before you carry out any of this work, please give us a call to discuss your plans. A development permit might be necessary.

It is also possible that there is a wetland on your property. For more information on wetlands, click here.

Do I need a permit to landscape my yard?

If you are planning on planting a garden or installing a rock garden, a permit is not required. If the work you will be completing requires you to haul more than 40 cubic metres (about five loads) of dirt in or out, or if you are planning on creating or filling in a wetland area, a permit is necessary and we ask that you contact our office so we may assist you with your plans.

Planning and Development Services
Phone: 780-464-8080
Fax: 780-464-8142
Email: planninganddevelopment@strathcona.ca

Last updated: Friday, December 08, 2017
Page ID: 45441