buying a house with a sloping backyard

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Submitted by HelloImaMac on July 26, 2020 - 8:42am

We are considering a home in sabre springs area. The main issue I see is that there is close to a 45 degree slope towards the house in the backyard.
Should I be concerned about potential water damage even though we are in San Diego ? will this sloping backyard affect the resale value of the house ?

Any thoughts ?

Thanks !

Submitted by gzz on July 26, 2020 - 11:02am.

I assume you mean 95XX?

That isn't 45 degrees, and the grass will easily absorb 2 inches of water. You just can't expand the paved patio and will have to keep the grass in good shape so the soil doesn't dry out and compact.

I have a less dramatically sloped yard, though away from the house, and the bottom doesn't get any more soggy than the top. The ability of soil to absorb water is huge.

Looks like it has its initial owners from 1993, which also suggests the house isn't a lemon.

I think if you like it, you should buy it before someone else does. Inventory in the area is close to zero.

Submitted by sdrealtor on July 26, 2020 - 11:38am.

I live in a such a property and here is how I view it. With an upslope you have no view which would be a big premium but you know that already. If there was not an upslope there would likely be a fence where the bottom of the slope is. Then there would be a house 10 to 20 feet on the others side of that fence. That upslope provides you with a bigger buffer between the house behind it. Id rather have one than a lot with a level shorter backyard and closer rear neighbor given the choice.

Now what to do. With an upslope you can push back into the hill. If you push back far into it you will have to build an engineered retaining wall which can be very expensive. However a wall 30" or less is considered a sitting wall and does not require such engineering nor permitting. I was able to push about 8 feet back into the slope and build a 30" sitting wall enlarging my usuable space. I had drains put at the bottoms of the slope behind the wall. Going on 21 years here and nota single problem with any of it.

Dont know the exact situation you're in but on the face of it not a big issue to me

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 26, 2020 - 12:42pm.

I have many such slopes. Gardening on that hillside will get you in shape.

Submitted by an on July 26, 2020 - 2:44pm.

It really depends on the drainage of the house/area behind your house. You can ask the current owner. I know someone who's house has a big slope like what you described and does get "waterfall" during big rain storm. But if your house has proper drainage, then it should be fine. Just make sure the water doesn't puddle around the foundation.

Submitted by Hobie on July 27, 2020 - 4:27am.

Adding that low retaining wall adds substantial support to the stability of the slope.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 27, 2020 - 8:03am.

How longs the house been there?

Submitted by HelloImaMac on July 28, 2020 - 3:40pm.

Thanks for the comments.The house was built in 2001 and the zip code is 92128 (Sabre Springs)

Yes the lack of a view is a negative point for this house. But the location and sq-ft/upgrades suit our price point and our tastes.

Submitted by svelte on July 28, 2020 - 5:48pm.

To me it would come down to two things:
1. The distance from the foot of the slope to the house
2. Whether the house on the hill has any windows that could look into my back yard.

I'm not as picky if the uphill neighbors could be in their back yard and see my yard, but I don't really want them in their house doing that.

Distance to house: I'd be good at 30 feet plus, if I really liked the house 25 feet may be OK in some cases, but I really wouldn't go smaller than that. Just my preference. In 25 feet I could do a lot of underground drainage to make sure the runoff stays away from my house. I would certainly go with oversized underground drain pipes. Way oversized. Up here in my neck of the woods, there are some newer yards with a 10-15 foot deep back yard then a very steep slope. That would rule them out to me.

A third factor: who owns the slope? If it is your yard, you can ensure it is properly maintained with vegetation to keep the soil stable. If it is your uphill neighbors or the HOA, that's a different could be looking at mud coming down that hill some year.

Submitted by svelte on July 29, 2020 - 5:45am.

gzz wrote:
I assume you mean 95XX?

That isn't 45 degrees..'

Not sure what you mean by 95XX.

Submitted by ocrenter on July 29, 2020 - 10:11am.

HelloImaMac wrote:
Thanks for the comments.The house was built in 2001 and the zip code is 92128 (Sabre Springs)

Yes the lack of a view is a negative point for this house. But the location and sq-ft/upgrades suit our price point and our tastes.

Due to lack of inventory plus description, wasn’t too hard to look up on Redfin.

The slope looks good, not too steep at all, seen far worse!

The only thing is via the photos you are able to see neighbor’s windows, which means they are able to look down as well. Just get some trees to block that line of sight and you should be good.

Best of luck!

Submitted by SD Transplant on July 29, 2020 - 4:27pm.

I love my sloped backyard. I had more than a dozen eucalyptus trees that were cut and for the last 5 years I planted fruit trees. I should have done that when I moved in (10 yrs ago). Best of luck.

Submitted by bpnbpn on August 1, 2020 - 1:25pm.

In general, I really like having slope in my backyard. Not a huge believer in feng shui but I have heard it is a great feng shui to have slope (something to do with good financial growth ;-))

If you keep the slope with appropriate plants, trees and greenery, it will really look great. As everyone said, just make sure the house on top of the hill is not directly overlooking your backyard. You could grow trees at the top to hide that as well.

Having a retaining wall with proper drainage will do the trick. Depending on the size of the slope, I have even seen some folks built stairs and seating area in the middle, again I am not a huge fan of that either. It's just more land for you to play with...

Submitted by svelte on August 1, 2020 - 8:20pm.

I should have also mentioned I owned a house with a 15 foot high slope in the back yard for 20 years. The back yard was probably 30-35 feet deep and I added a couple of feet of depth by building a 30 in high retaining wall myself and facing it with stacked stone. That was my project for the summer. Info on here is correct - no permit required up to 30 inches.

I had to ensure my back yard design allowed for adequate slope away from the house and away from the hill and eventually got it all sorted out. I first tried a perforated drainage pipe and I can tell you that is not a good choice. Switched it out for large solid pipe and problem solved. Never had another issue nor gave it another thought.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on August 1, 2020 - 9:42pm.


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