How To Measure Grading Slope Around a House Foundation

Measuring ground slope from foundation.
Using string and line level to measure ground slope 10′ from foundation.

To ensure proper drainage, the ground around your home should slope approximately 6” downhill away from the house foundation over the first 10’ feet.

Here’s how to measure the slope around your home’s foundation.

Materials Needed:

  • Two wooden stakes
  • 12’ of string or twine
  • Hammer, mallet, or ax
  • Line level
  • Tape measure

To Measure Ground Slope:

  1. Hammer a stake into the ground next to your home’s foundation.
  2. Tie one end of the string around the stake at ground level.
  3. Measure out 10’ from the foundation, and hammer a second stake into the ground.
  4. Pull the string taut, and tie the end around the second stake.
  5. Place the line level in the center of the string.
  6. Slide the string up or down on the second stake until the line is level.
  7. Measure the distance between the string on the outer stake and the ground to determine the slope. The string should be at least 6” above ground.

Repeat this process on all sides of your home, and any place the grade changes, such as terraces or driveways.

Using line level on string to measure ground slope around foundation.
Using line level on string to measure ground slope around foundation.

If your home doesn’t have adequate slope for drainage, consult a professional grading contractor about moving soil and correcting the grade.

You may also want to consider routing water away from downspouts or installing French drains around the perimeter of your home to carry away excess water.

If your lot setback doesn’t allow for 10 feet of space around the house, you’ll need drainage swales or underground tiles to carry water away from the house.

Further Information


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