Type of soil for regrading

Asked October 12, 2017, 2:36 PM EDT

What is the best type of soil to use when regrading around the foundation of our house? Is clay or fill dirt better? Does it matter?

Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

What do you mean by 'regrading around the foundation', and why are you doing it?

Are you regrading (often with power equipment like a Bobcat) to improve problems with how water crosses your property, to make it flow away from your home?

Or are you trying to re-plant your foundation gardens and are looking to improve your soil?

In the first case, you usually don't need to add soil and just use your native type.
In the second case, we would suggest adding organic amendments to your existing (part clay) soil such as Leaf-Gro, compost, or aged manure.
Leaf-Gro is made in Maryland and comes in bags and bulk. You can find suppliers of both by searching on-line.


We have to add soil around the foundation and slope it away from the house because the dirt has washed away and the water does not flow away from the house. Is clay or fill dirt best for this purpose?

A good quality fill dirt would be fine. The problem is that none of this is regulated.
It would be good if you could take a look at what you are getting.
It shouldn't be filled with debris or wood or bricks, large stones. It shouldn't be slick or slimy-looking.
We aren't sure what "clay" suggests. Generally our soils here are part clay. We're not aware that you can buy clay alone. Clay as a soil type increasing water and nutrient-holding capacity.
Here is a common question we hear:
"I think I have clay soil like most everyone else in my county. What can I do about it?
Most Maryland soils are made up of mineral particles- sand, silt, and clay (about 45%); organic matter (about 1-5%); and air and water- pore spaces (about 50%). Soils are classified largely by their texture and that is determined by the relative amounts of sand, silt, and clay. Clay gets a bad rap, but it is an important constituent of soil because it holds nutrients and water. But too much clay can cause problems. Soils high in clay (more than 50%) feel sticky, don’t drain well, and become rock hard when dry. You can’t change the texture of your soil (the percentage of clay) but you can improve soil structure (the arrangement of individual soil particles)."