The grade of your property is designed to direct water away from your home towards ideal areas for drainage. Keep these frequently asked grading questions in mind before starting any landscaping projects.
Why is lot grading important?
Proper lot grading keeps surface water away from your home. Your lot should be sloped away from the home to allow all surface water to soak into the ground or flow to the property line. Changes to the grade of your lot can significantly impact how water flows across your property. This can damage your foundation, causing erosion or flooding basements and streets.
What am I responsible for as a property owner?
Property owners are responsible for maintaining the lot grade elevations established by the original grading plan. When hiring private contractors for landscaping or yard alteration, ensure that they respect the intended drainage design when carrying out work. This will reduce additional costs and stress that stems from improper lot grading.
Where can I obtain the grading plan for my property?
If a grading plan exists, residents can review the original plan by submitting an Access to Building Permit Records request. If there is no grading plan on record, please call 3-1-1 for additional grading inquires.
What is a violation of the drainage by-law?
Any action that negatively impacts the intended drainage of a lot violates the drainage by-law. Swales are not to be filled, piped, or obstructed by any landscaping feature such as sheds or gardens. Consult the drainage by-law before altering your lot.
I’m planning minor landscaping, how do I know if I am violating the drainage by-law?
Small gardens are permitted just as long they do not interfere with the intended drainage of your property. Do not fill in sloped swales or depressions. Never cover a catch basin, they are designed to help remove excess water from your lawn.
Why do I have a catch basin in my backyard?
Catch basins assist both you and properties abutting your lot in removing excess water. Never block a catch basin as that may increase the chances of local flooding. Never pour anything down a catch basin as this leads directly to a nearby waterway. To find out how to dispose of household hazardous waste, please consult the Waste Explorer.
Where should water be redirected?
Water from a downspout should flow onto your property and soak into the ground. Never direct water onto a neighbour's property, a sidewalk, right of way or easement. If space is limited, redirect water to the intended drainage point. Your downspout should be directed away from your home to a permeable surface such as grass. Extend your downspout at least four feet away from your foundation while respecting your neighbor’s property.
Water is pooling on my lawn, is this normal?
Your lot is designed to allow water to infiltrate back into the ground while draining excess water away from the property. This recharges ground water aquifers and reduces the strain on the municipal storm sewer system. If water has not disappeared after 48 hours, please call 3-1-1.
What should I do if my neighbor’s downspout drains on to my property?
Speaking with your neighbor is the first step. Inform them on how their drainage may negatively impact your property. If this does not work, call 3-1-1.
If you still have grading inquiries that have not been answered, please call 3-1-1 for more information.