How Much Does It Cost to Reslope for Landscaping?

Average range: $700 - $1,700
Low
$400
Average Cost
$1,300
High
$5,000
(1,000 sq. ft. yard with some additional fill dirt needed)

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How Much Does It Cost to Reslope for Landscaping?

Average range: $700 - $1,700
Low
$400
Average Cost
$1,300
High
$5,000
(1,000 sq. ft. yard with some additional fill dirt needed)

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Reviewed by Sophia Fennessy. Written by Fixr.com.

You can resurface, regrade, or even restructure your yard to accommodate your dream landscape. Many terms are used to refer to resloping. This is simply moving dirt from one area of your yard to another or removing it entirely. Most of the time when you’re resloping for landscaping, your reasons for doing so are cosmetic so that the shape of your yard works with your desired design. However, because landscaping usually involves irrigation, a key consideration when starting any resloping project is to ensure that your yard’s new shape allows for water to drain away from a home’s foundation.

The cost of resloping for landscaping depends on the size of your yard, existing damage, and the type of soil currently on your property. The backyard leveling cost for a 1,000 sq. ft. area ranges from $700 to $1,700, with most homeowners paying around $1,300 to regrade a 1,000 sq. ft. yard that needs fill dirt and topsoil brought in. Costs can be as low as $400 for resloping 1,000 sq. ft. yard with no additional fill dirt needed and as high as $5,000 for resloping 1,000 sq. ft. yard with lots of additional fill dirt and topsoil needed.

Cost to Regrade Yard

Average Cost to Regrade a Yard
National average cost$1,300
Average range$700-$1,700
Minimum cost$400
Maximum cost$5,000


Reslope for Landscaping Cost by Project Range

Low
$400
1,000 sq. ft. yard with no additional fill dirt needed
Average Cost
$1,300
1,000 sq. ft. yard with some additional fill dirt needed
High
$5,000
1,000 sq. ft. yard with lots of additional fill dirt and topsoil needed

Average Cost to Regrade a Yard by Inclination Degree

The cost to reslope a yard for landscaping depends on the amount of fill dirt that needs to be brought in and the size of cut required to level the ground. Most contractors give you a quote based on a change in elevation in 1 ft. increments, with most jobs requiring a leveling of about 2 ft. between the low and high points. The costs below are based on resloping a 1,000 sq. ft. yard.


Cost to Regrade a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-feet Height Yard

Cost to Regrade a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-feet Height Yard


Height of SlopeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
1 ft.$1,100
2 ft.$1,400
3 ft.$1,700
4 ft.$2,000
5 ft.$2,300


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Cost to Fill and Level Land

As stated above, the biggest part of the resloping process completed by the construction crew is leveling the high and low points of your yard to the level grade line so that you can design your new landscaping and improve the overall drainage of your property. When the leveling begins, the crew will first level the high points by removing soil and placing it in the low points. Once the high points have been leveled and all of the dirt has been reallocated to the low points, it may be necessary to bring in more fill dirt to raise the low points to the level line.

Fill dirt prices vary by region of the country, but you can expect that the cost of fill dirt per cubic foot to be $8 to $18. The fill dirt cost per yard is $7 to $12. The costs in the table are based on an average fill dirt cost of $12 per cubic foot.


Cost of Fill Dirt per Yard and Cubic Foot

Cost of Fill Dirt per Yard and Cubic Foot


YardsCubic FootCosts (Materials Only)
127$324
254$648
381$972
4108$1,296
5135$1,620
10270$3,240
20540$6,480
30810$9,720
401080$12,960
501350$16,200


Cost of Topsoil per Cubic Yard

Fill dirt is different from topsoil, which homeowners will also need to bring in for a resloping job. While not every homeowner who regrades their yard will need a final layer of topsoil, if you’re leveling 1 your property to specifically install landscaping, topsoil is a necessity. There’s a simple reason for this. Fill dirt has little to no nutritional value for vegetative growth, and topsoil is nutrient-rich.

After the area is level, the contractor will cover the entire resloped area with about two inches of topsoil. Topsoil cost per yard is between $12 and $55. On average, homeowners will pay $30 per cubic yard. When talking about buying topsoil to fill an area, the terms “yard” and “cubic yard” are used interchangeably because topsoil always fills a three-dimensional area (cubic yard) and not a two-dimensional area (yard). One cubic yard of topsoil weighs about one ton, so topsoil cost per ton is between $12 and $55. The cost of topsoil per cubic yard does not typically include delivery. In most parts of the country, homeowners should count on delivery charges doubling the final cost.


Cost of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 Cubic Yards of Topsoil

Cost of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 Cubic Yards of Topsoil


Amount of TopsoilCost (Materials Only)
1 cubic yard$30
2 cubic yards$60
3 cubic yards$90
4 cubic yards$120
5 cubic yards$150
10 cubic yards$300
20 cubic yards$600
30 cubic yards$900
40 cubic yards$1,200
50 cubic yards$1,500


Cost to Regrade Lawn

The landscape leveling cost includes clean-up by the construction crew once the project is completed and fill dirt from on-site. It does not include extra fill dirt, which costs on average $8 to $18 per cubic yard. The ground leveling cost does not include the cost for a structural engineer to perform a land survey. Surveys average $600. Most construction costs will not include the actual landscaping design, which costs $14,000 on average for new construction or resodding of the area ($3,000 on average). The national average cost to regrade a yard is $1,300 for a 1,000 sq. ft. area that needs fill dirt and topsoil brought in.

The first step to any resloping project is to have your property surveyed by a professional. They will mark your property’s high and low points to determine the slope (also called the rise), which is the vertical difference between them. With these calculations, the surveyor determines the level grade line: the level at which water will not run downhill but instead evenly soak into the ground.

It’s also important to have your property surveyed before the sloping begins because the surveyor will identify existing pipes, drains, and wires on the surface and beneath the ground. Depending on the job, some of this infrastructure will need to be relocated once grading is done. Keep in mind that a survey (especially if this is the first time the homeowner has had one done) can reveal many surprises with the infrastructure below ground. These potential surprises should be accounted for in your budget.

Once the survey is complete and the contractor knows the level grade line, the construction crew will add fill dirt to the low points to reach the grade line and remove earth from the high points to do the same. The slope (percent of rise) determines the amount of work and time the construction phase will take. The type of soil that crews have to remove from high points impacts the cost. Soils that are packed and rocky take longer to excavate than loose, loamy soil that’s easier and lighter to move.

When the yard is level, landscapers add a layer of nutrient-rich topsoil over the fill dirt. Your landscaper will then finish the area with sod or other landscaping design. The resloping process should take between six and ten hours on average, depending on the size of the yard and the severity of the slope to be corrected.


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Lawn Grading Cost per Acre

Even though the average American yard is far less than an acre, professional contractors usually base their quotes on an average cost of grading land per acre. The final cost to regrade the yard includes hourly labor, materials (e.g., fill dirt), and equipment (e.g., backhoe). If the entire acre (43,560 sq. ft.) needs to be regraded, you can expect to pay between $35,000 and $45,000. For a ¼ acre yard, the regrading yard cost will be between $9,500 and $10,500. Those costs do not include any extra fill dirt that needs to be brought in.


Cost to Grade a 0.10, 0.15, and 1 Acres of Lawn

Cost to Grade a 0.10, 0.15, and 1 Acres of Lawn


AcresAverage Cost (Labor Included)
0.10$4,700
0.25 acres$10,000
1$40,000


Grading Cost per Square Foot

Most homeowners will pay nowhere near the average cost to regrade an entire acre. The average size American yard is between 5,000 and 10,000 sq. ft. It’s not common for the entire yard to be regraded, so the final cost to regrade a yard varies. Homeowners should expect to pay about $1.10/sq. ft. to reslope if no additional fill dirt is needed.


Cost to Grade a 1000, 2500, 5000, 7500, and 10000 sq ft Yard

Cost to Grade a 1000, 2500, 5000, 7500, and 10000 sq ft Yard


Square FootageAverage Cost (Labor Included)
1,000 sq. ft.$1,100
2,500 sq. ft.$2,750
5,000 sq. ft.$5,500
7,500 sq. ft.$8,250
10,000 sq. ft.$11,000


Slope Erosion Control

If you’ve invested the time and money to reslope your yard, you should also protect it from erosion. Erosion, or when soil particles fall to lower ground, can be a problem if you have any slope. The steeper the slope, the bigger the problem unless you’re proactive with a solution.

Plants are one of the best ways to control erosion because thick foliage provides a blanket to diffuse water droplets at the soil surface. Instead of roughly knocking the soil down, leaves disperse rain more gently. The best plants for this purpose include ground cover like Creeping Juniper and shrubs such as Forsythia. Homeowners should ask their landscapers about either of these options. The cost of planting shrubs or ground cover varies depending on the species and the area to be planted. Homeowners can expect to pay between $20 and $100 for two to three sq. ft. of Forsythia or Creeping Juniper.

Mulching a sloped area is also a way to protect from soil runoff. The mulch works in the same way as foliage. It deflects rain so that water hits the soil more evenly. The average cost of mulching 2 three cubic ft. with bark mulch is $275.

The most expensive but effective way to protect from soil erosion is to build a retaining wall, which immediately tiers any slopes on your property and creates level ground. Building a 25 ft. long wall that is four ft. high will cost $5,400 on average. A retaining wall 3 may be constructed of any material, but concrete is a popular choice to protect from erosion and improve drainage across a property.


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Cost Factors for Regrading Lawn

Four additional considerations impact the average cost to excavate land.

First, if your soil is especially compact, hard, or rocky like in New England, excavation time will be longer than in the middle of the country known for loose and loamy soil. Homeowners should expect to foot the bill for a contractor’s additional equipment, such as a backhoe, which costs between $150 and $500 a day to rent. Soil excavation costs per cubic yard or cost per cubic yard to remove dirt ranges on average between $50 and $200. The heavier the soil material, the higher the dirt excavation cost. If the low areas of a yard do not require as much fill dirt as the amount excavated from the high points, then that dirt will need to be removed completely. Dirt removal cost ranges on average between $130 and $180 per cubic yard. Unless you specify where the dirt is going once it leaves your property, contractors take it to a designated construction area or a landfill, which means that distance will not impact your dirt hauling cost.

Second, suppose the area of your property that needs resloped is not accessible to earthmoving machinery like a backhoe. In that case, you’ll spend more on hourly labor to have the work done manually with wheelbarrows and shovels. You can expect to pay between $15 and $22 per hour.

Third, if the land survey you had prepared in the planning stage revealed existing drains, pipes, or wires that will need relocating, you should factor in this additional cost. Moving a drain in your yard costs between $100 and $150 per drain line 4 plus the contractor’s hourly rate, which is around $45.

Finally, if you’re resloping your yard for landscaping, but your home or other outbuilding has already sustained water damage from drainage issues, then you should factor in that cost. Costs vary depending on the extent of the damage or disrepair, but homeowners should expect to pay on average between $2,000 and $6,000 to repair a foundation.

Reslope for Landscaping Prep-work

Before any contractor begins excavating dirt from high points and filling in the low points of your yard, a few preparatory steps will be taken to ensure that the excavation goes smoothly and safely.

  • Vegetation Removal. Before resloping or regrading, you’ll need to clear your yard of all vegetation, including small shrubs, plants, and stump and tree removal. This typically costs between $300 and $500 for 1,000 sq. ft. of land.
  • Power and Utility Lines. Since the resloping process involves digging, you should check the locations of any underground power and utility lines. You can do this by contacting your utility providers and asking professionals to come out and mark the line locations. Notify your landscapers so that damage can be avoided. If you hit a utility line, your home’s utilities may be interrupted until it can be fixed. You will likely have to call your utility company to perform the repair. This type of repair can cost as much as $1,000 or more if there is extensive damage.
  • Resloping land affects public property and potentially the property of your neighbors. You’ll want to have a land survey completed to ensure that you’re only doing work within your property lines and that you’ve identified high points, low points, and existing infrastructure underground. The average cost of a land survey is about $600.


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Home Irrigation System Cost

Suppose you need to relocate an existing irrigation system 5 after your yard has been resloped. Homeowners will pay between $50 and $100 per hour for a landscaper to relocate or replace a sprinkler system. If your landscaping is new and requires the installation of a sprinkler system, that cost will be around $5,500 for ½ acre.

Adding Landscaping

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the landscape design for your new resloped yard. The cost of landscaping depends on many factors such as the size of an area, foliage type, and extra decorative enhancements. On average, the cost of landscaping ranges between $4,000 and $20,000.

French Drain

If you live in an especially wet part of the country and you’re worried about drainage, a French drain 6 is one of the best ways to ensure that water flows away from any structures on your property. To install a French drain, a contractor digs a trench downhill, lays it with a perforated pipe, and places a drain at the very bottom. The trench is filled in around the pipe with loose rock and gravel. It’s a simple solution that relies on gravity to stop water from pooling and causing a problem. It costs on average between $1,000 and $1,500 to install.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • DIY. Remember that unless the job to regrade your yard is minor enough for one person with a rake, a professional should handle any yard regrading. In some states, this is the law. Whenever you perform any restructuring of your property, there’s always the potential for damage to subterranean infrastructure, including wires and drains. If you’re resloping to fix a drainage issue, a badly eroded yard is an especially dangerous place to work.
  • Home Value. Resloping a yard is a significant financial investment, especially when factoring in the landscaping costs. However, remember that any aesthetic or functional upgrade to your home or property adds value in the long run. Resloping a yard adds even more value over time because the process is mitigating potential soil erosion and drainage issues in the future.
  • Permits and Regulations. Any residential or commercial activity that includes the excavation of dirt with machinery requires special licensing to do so and must be done by municipal ordinances. Every municipality is different, so start the process either with a trusted and knowledgeable local contractor who will procure the permits for you or with the licensing and permits departments for your city or county.
  • Rain Garden. Building a rain garden can be an alternative to resloping and regrading. It’s best for yards that don’t have slopes toward the house but accumulate too much standing water after rainfall. Rain gardens are built in a depression that enables water to soak there and be absorbed into the ground. Their placement should be beneath gutter rainspouts or other places where water accumulates. Professional rain garden installation costs up to $10 to $15 per sq. ft., around $500 to $750 for an average project.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to regrade a yard?

To regrade a 1,000 sq. ft. yard, costs range from $700 to $1700, with most homeowners paying around $1,300. Costs can be as low as $400 and as high as $5,000.

  • How much does fill dirt cost per yard?

Fill dirt costs, on average, $7 to $12 per yard.

  • How much does topsoil cost per yard?

Topsoil costs on average $12 to $55 per yard.

  • How much does it cost to grade an acre of land?

To grade an acre of land (43,560 sq. ft.) costs about $40,000.

  • Can I regrade my yard myself?

If you’re able to regrade a tiny area of land with one person and a rake and do not require any digging or machinery, then you can regrade your yard yourself.

  • How do you landscape a sloped yard?

There are many options for landscaping a sloped yard to prevent soil erosion. These options include planting ground cover and shrubs, building a retaining wall, mulching, tiering with stairs, and building a rain garden.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Leveling: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
2 Mulching: A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile
glossary term picture Retaining Wall 3 Retaining wall: A structure used to support vertical slopes of earth or to hold back water
4 Drain line: The pipe through which the condensation removed from your home by the AC unit drains out of the house
glossary term picture Sprinkler System 5 Irrigation system: Set of equipment used to irrigate lawns
glossary term picture French Drain 6 French drain: An outdoor buried drain line that leads water away from the house. Water runs through a trench filled with gravel into a perforated pipe underneath, which leads the water downhill to a safe area

Cost to reslope for landscaping varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to reslope for landscaping varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources