If you are developing a site, you may want to pay someone to do rough grading before the final grade. Both types of grading use similar earthmoving equipment, but as implied by the names, rough grading is similar to a rough draft of a paper, while the final grade is ready for planting or further development.
To help you decide, here's what you need to know about rough grading.
1. Many Different Professionals Can Offer Rough Grading
If you are hiring several contractors to work on the plot, keep in mind that many of them may be able to offer rough grading. In some cases, you can have the people who prepare the site do the rough grading, and in other cases, you can pay the landscapers or the construction crew.
You just need to ensure that they have experience and that you are all on the same page in terms of expectations.
2. Rough Grades Should Include Drainage Swales
Your rough grade should include outlines of the swales and depressions that will be part of your final storm drainage plan. These areas don't need to be completed along with the rough grade, but you should have them outlined on a survey so the grader knows how to set up the area.
3. The Grade Should Be Slightly Above the Final Target Level
Ideally, rough grades should be slightly elevated in comparison to how high you ultimately want the land. Keep in mind that the ground will settle as you work on it, and with all the heavy machinery driving over it, it will settle even more than usual.
If the rough grader leaves a bit of extra dirt, that allows for settling to happen, and when the final grading happens, any excess soil will be smoothed in. Otherwise, you may end up needing to bring in more fill dirt.
4. You May Want to Request Gravel Driveways
Most rough grades also outline pathways through the work site. To give these areas a bit of extra durability, you may want to ask the earth moving team to cover them with gravel. Then, you can integrate that into your final pathways or have it removed when you are ready to pave.
5. Rough Grading Should Happen Near the Beginning of the Project
If you decide that a rough grade works for your project, you should schedule that near the beginning of the project. If you have half-dug basements, scaffolding or other materials around, they may get in the way of the grading machinery.