Fill dirt is often used to grade new construction and is usually less expensive than other types of soil. If you decide to grade your lawn with fill, purchase the product from a landscaping supply business and have them deliver the load to your house. Select richer fill dirt, if possible, to avoid the less desirable red clay. If the clay is all that is available in your area, you will need to purchase topsoil to layer over the bulk of the material.
Remove plants from around the foundation, and scoop away the grass if you are planning to reuse it. You can always reseed to establish a new lawn if you prefer. If taking up the grass, dig it up in large square sections and place it, along with the plants, to the side in the order you removed it.
Place stakes in the ground so that you can establish a slope line for the yard to drain properly. Insert wood stakes in the ground, creating rows of stakes that run from the house to the edge of your property. Rows should be spaced 4 feet apart, and stakes in each row should be placed every 10 feet.
Run a string along each row of stakes. Locate the highest point in your yard, and place the strings at that point at ground level. Level the strings on each row to match that height. Your lawn, closer to the house, will need to be raised higher than this mark in order to drain water away from the house.
Raise each section of the string from the high point in the yard onto the house. Each 10-foot section needs to be raised 2 1/2 inches above the one before it. For example, the first section, next to the high point and closer to the house, should go up 2 1/2 inches; the next closest to the house, 5 inches; and the next 7 1/2 inches. Stop at the final section.
Raise the final 10-foot section of the string that is closest to the house 6 inches above the section before it. The angle of slope 10 feet from the house should never be less than a 6-inch drop.
Fill in the area with fill dirt so that the soil is up to the string lines. Use a wheelbarrow to transport loads of dirt to the different areas, and then spread it out with a rake.
Roll the yard with a lawn roller, which will pack down the soil. This packing will lower the soil below the lines. Add 2 inches of topsoil on the fill dirt to raise it back up, and re-roll the lawn.
Remove the stakes and roll the lawn again at a perpendicular angle to the rows of stakes. Water the soil and place the sections of grass back in place. Alternatively, reseed the area with grass seed.