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Anyone who has ever sat behind the controls of a dozer or skid-steer will tell you there’s an art to landscape grading. Trying to make things look natural, even when nature has put the high and low spots in the wrong places, takes real talent. But grading is also a science, and there are some basic techniques that need to be followed to ensure the landscape not only looks good but also functions properly.

“The grading is really the basis of any landscape design, for the plantings and everything else,” says Bruce Sharky, professor of landscape architecture at Louisiana State University. “What you want to do is have a sensitive grading plan that considers not only directing water but also complementing the building and enhancing views or increasing interest. 

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