Digging holes, grading


Old 05-09-07, 12:42 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7
Unhappy Digging holes, grading

My house was built in 1980. So the yard is about thirty years old and the back yard has had essentially nothing done to it. I think it has everything wrong with it that can be wrong with a yard. It is slanty, made up of hard North Georgia clay and rocks, and tree roots from many large trees. When the builders cleaned up, apparently they just buried everything. So anyplace I dig, I hit wire and nails and lumber and tar paper and I don't know what all in addition to the normal rocks, roots, etc.

I would like to just get a good soil bed to plant a few plants and level up a place for a patio but it takes me all day to haggle out a small hole. I have thought of dynamite but the neighbors might not approve. I use normal hand tools: pick, shovel, axe, hoe. A neighbor rented a power tiller but almost wore it out and barely scratched the surface of their yard. I figure there must be an easier way (better tools, outside contractors, etc.) and this is the place to have someone to show me the Way.

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Old 06-04-07, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
If lawn is as bad as you say and you have lots of cash, then you could hire someone to come dig it up, haul it away, and bring back topsoil. That's expensive. You can kill the lawn with nonselective herbicide, till it, remove the debris, get a soil test to learn what amendments need to be made. Your Cooperative Extension Agent can help you with this and recommend the best grass seed variety for your area.

Another option might be to get someone in to grade the lot and haul in about 6" of good top soil. Remember the lawn needs to slope away from the house to carry water away from foundation. You do not want to direct water onto neighbors! Ideally a slope of 6" in the first 10'. In areas where soil is heavy clay, many resorted to gardening in raised beds and containers.

Before doing anything, I think I'd consult with a landscape engineer or local landscaper and discuss your problems, get quotes, etc. Then, you can rethink your options.

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