Piling chunks of concrete against foundation before grading with topsoil?

My yard, particularly the back, needs graded away from the house in a serious way.

I have a pretty good size concrete patio that was under the deck I tore off last year, not reinforced, standard 4-5" thick.

I have a good foot (vertically) to fill in along the back of the house in order to get the yard graded away sufficiently.

Is there any reason not to use chunks of the patio maybe 2 layers deep right by the foundation, and 1 layer deep along those? 1’x1’ pieces or so, maybe 1’x6". I’m not putting grass there, just planter beds.

If I do that all along the back and then do 1 layer along the side of the house, I think I can probably do away with most of it without getting a dumpster or otherwise paying someone to haul it around the front of the house and off.

Not an expert but I have some construction experience.

The material that sits up against your foundation is called backfill. Backfill is supposed to drain well so that water does not collect up against the foundation.

1’x1’ pieces are probably not a good idea. If you could break them up into much smaller pieces, that rubble would probably be fine.

I wonder if it would be beneficial to put the chunks down in a shingle pattern, using the solid concrete to guide the water away from the house? Might not help, might not hurt tho. Plus you’d feel like yo did something clever, so it’s a win-win.

I’m no expert,but I am pretty sure that backfill must be a uniform material–all the granules should be the same size .

Pea gravel,sand,or soil can be used. But it should be composed of a single type and single size of particles. This allows for the fill to be compacted into a tight density that does not subside. If you put in large chunks of “foreign” material , the fill will not have a uniform density,and over time it will sink ,as water flows unto the empty spaces that get trapped under the chunks of concrete.

All reasonable responses, thanks! Looks like my best bet is just break it out and have it hauled off.

Or maybe have a go at masonry work. Use the chunks to build the southern walls of your planter boxes. I reckon they’d absorb a nontrivial amount of heat during the day and keep your roots warmer at night.

It’s not exactly backfill though. You’re raising the ground level by the house, I assume for surface runoff drainage. The actual backfill underneath should be well compacted already. You can put those chunks down on some gravel and fill with gravel, sand, or soil depending on what you’re doing for the planter beds.

Yeah, that’s true. The actual backfill is surely compacted. The problem is that I don’t think the place was backfilled and graded properly. Or, that the previous owners did some ‘landscaping’ that took some soil from around the house and created a backslope. They did all kinds of other hinky shit, so that wouldn’t surprise me.

That’s actually not a bad idea at all. In fact I kind of love it. When I tore off the deck that was over that patio, I used almost all of the wood to build a sweetass treehouse. It would be cool to use the concrete for the edge of the planter bed. I would guess some concrete stain would take just fine on the broken edges if I wanted to color them a bit.

I was actually considering using landscape block in another spot, this would be a good idea there, too.

We might have a winner, here…

Both houses I have owned had stupid landscaping that directed water toward the house. I guess some people don’t understand that water runs down hill.

At least in my current house some of the problem can be attributed to clay which swells with water and can raise the surface. Soon I’ll have more grading done to get a good drainage path well below the grade.

Inigo has an excellent idea there.

My name is Inigo Montoya.
I willl help you with your concrete disposal quandry.
Prepare to landscape.

My house is definitely in a clay bathtub. I did a half-ass perk test when I was putting in the drain line for my sump pump, and well…my soil doesn’t perk. So what was happening is all the water that was draining down the foundation was trapped by the clay and forcing its way between the foundation and footing, and up any cracks in the floor. And after a few days of rainstorm, it would seep for DAYS. Putting in the pump alleviated most of the problem, but I still get some from wall cracks during hefty rains.

Heh…I drilled a circle of holes to break out the well for the sump, and when I did it was like I had a little decorative fountain in my basement. It’s a wonder the floor didn’t fracture all over. Still can’t figure that out.

Checking back in on the re-using concrete topic. Man, that was a great idea. I ran it by my wife, and she liked it too.

Rather than edging block, which I was originally envisioning, we’re going to piece together for patios. My plan is to have a small (8x8 ish) deck right outside the door, and have a 6" step down to a 3’ or so wide skirt of pieced patio. Then in another spot, an organic-looking shape bordered by the planter beds near the house on one side, and the drainage dry creek on the other. Wife’s always wanted a ‘paver’ patio with grass in between the pavers, and I think that considering the depth of the pieces we’ll be using that’s perfectly do-able.

Also, I’m going to try to preserve some larger square-ish chunks to use for a few steps down the grade on one side.

I think I’ll stain them rather than leave them ‘concrete’ colored. I was going to use pea gravel for a few areas, but I think this will look much nicer.

** tips hat in respect **

Acid staining