Cost to Level a Yard

There are many advantages to leveling the land on which you are going to plant or build. For example, the strength of a building depends largely on the quality of the ground on which it was built. It must be thoroughly cleaned and leveled to allow for the creation of a solid foundation that can maintain the building.

How Much Does Leveling a Yard Cost?

The cost of leveling a yard depends on some factors like the size of the yard, the complexity of the job, the geographical location, the contractor you are going to hire, and the type of soil.

Depending on the type of equipment needed and the contractor, be prepared to spend anywhere between $60 and $160 per hour on average. You will have to pay the most for the labor because the procedure itself is simple. Expect to pay anywhere between $550 and $850 for a simple job, while a complex job that will take more than a day will set you back anywhere between $2,550 and $5,600. The equipment, the professional labor, and the fill dirt should be included in these estimates.

Though, the cost may be even higher if there is a slope steeper than average or heavy vegetation. This is available also for the soil. If the soil is not at reach and easy to dig, but rocky and hard to excavate, then the expenses will increase.

As you probably notice, there are many factors to consider and every project is unique, so it is difficult to give an exact price.

According to one professional from the Angie’sList website, the costs for most residential jobs are anywhere between $1,200 and $6,300.

Members of the DSLReports.com forum said that the costs of leveling a yard would be anywhere between $5,200 and $21,500, depending on the size of the area that has to be leveled.

According to LawnSite.com, the costs of yard leveling are anywhere between $17 and $35 per yard, without the cost of the fill of dirt necessary for leveling the yard.

In the table below you will find the average cost for leveling a yard depending on the type of job.

Type of Job Average Costs
Topsoil for filling $10 to $25+ per cubic foot
DIY Rental $125 to $300 for a Bobcat-like tractor with attachment
Manual labor with a landscaping service $40 to $100 per hour
Hiring a professional with heavy equipment $90 to $225 per hour or $600 to $1,400 per day at a minimum.

Leveling a yard details

Level Yard ProfessionallyIt is very important that the soil on which you are going to build is perfectly clean. This involves removing all the stones to allow the building’s foundation to be built evenly. If there are traces of old construction on the ground, they will have to disappear.

In order for the ground to be perfectly clean, it will have to show no signs of vegetation. The trees will have to be cut down and their roots removed from the ground, just like the lawn or any other plants growing in the future built-up area.

You might also like our articles about the cost to widen a driveway, remove brush, or the price of soil.

For more accurate work, it will be necessary to delimit the space to be leveled and do some precise measurements. With a laser measuring tool, you can mark exactly what unevenness will need to be removed and you will be able to make sure that the ground is perfectly straight.

What are the extra costs?

If you want to plant grass or lay sod after leveling then you should budget for a professional to do this job. Professionally installed sod cost around $3 per square foot.

In most cases, the fill dirt may not be included in the initial price offer, which could include only the leveling. Depending on the geographical location, you will have to pay anywhere between $10 and more than $25 per cubic yard. You will need around 10 cubic yards of soil for every 1,000 square feet. You will need this soil if the one that already exists on your property is of bad quality or if you have to fill a steep slope.

The contractors will add metal braces if there is a risk of slope erosion when adding soil. The price of these braces starts at $15 and can go up to $25 per four-foot section.

There are situations when you will need a French drain in order to drain the water from the foundation. Expect to spend anywhere between $850 and $1,600 for this job.

A grading permit may be required, depending on the geographical location and the complexity of the job. Depending on the purpose of the project expect to pay anywhere between $60 and $1,100 for this permit. Though, the majority of the projects should cost less than $420.

There are cases when a land survey may be required in order to avoid crossing the neighbor’s property line. Expect to pay anywhere between $260 and $520 for it.

Important things to consider

Fill dirt can be yellow soil for fillings and topsoil for gardens.

If you are going to build something on level ground, it is important not to leave vegetation behind, to prevent it from rotting under the ground layers or retaining moisture, thus affecting the foundation of the building.

How to level a yard with topsoil

How can I save money?

The best way to save money on a project like this is to do it by yourself. This way you will not have to pay for the labor costs. You can find online guides that will show you how to do it step by step.

Take into consideration renting the equipment locally if you have this possibility. In case you already have a tractor, for a scraper attachment you will have to pay anywhere between $60 and $90 per day, while for a small backhoe the costs will be anywhere between $110 and $260 per day, depending on the geographical location.

However, if you decide to hire a professional try to find more price offers and choose the one that is the most advantageous for you.

It is recommended by the Fixr.com to create a rain garden instead of re-sloping a yard. Such a garden is made to hold the water and reabsorb it into the ground. If you decide to build one, expect to pay for the materials anywhere between $6 and $9 per square feet.

Alec Pow
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