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First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some comments.

First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some comments.

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  #1  
Old 08-31-11, 06:57 AM
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Question First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some comments.

Hello all,

Long time reader of this site and finally have my own home to start working on!

I plan on regrading my backyard. I have a significant drop in the back left where a lot of water and an old shed caused sinking and irrigation ( that's my assumption).

My Steps:

-laying out stakes to achieve a proper level (1 foot for every 50 foot going back and tapering off to the sides for drainage)

-cut grass as low as possible and rake up all debris (not sure if its necessary to remove lawn since i am going over it with topsoil?), there are no areas that need to be lowered

-use a vertical mower to soften and loosen surface, there are many bumps that i want to level off with top dressing and the vertical mower should help break up clumps

-I plan on bringing in 20 yards of dirt (hopefully that's enough!), hiring a few guys to distribute it throughout the back

-using a leveling rake to spread the dirt to the marks indicated by the stakes i previously laid out

-use a half filled roller to begin to compact the soil, and leveling as needed. I will eventually fill the roller to full (400 pounds) and create a suitable grade. Might need a tractor to move the roller.

-once the land is properly graded, i will rake in seed for grass and top with straw

-water, water, water

Please critique the above steps and let me know if I am missing something. Thank you! I will try to upload a picture later today.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-31-11, 08:34 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Of course we can't see what you see, so any advice we give would be purely generic. If you wanted to post pix of the area, you can do so: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
Check into the cost of a Bobcat versus hiring a group of people to move the dirt. You will be through faster and it may be less expensive. Of course accessibility is paramount. A laser level may help you in attaining the proper drainage attitude of the lawn. Your basics are covered. The abstracts will come up one at a time, so get ready. Buried cable? Water lines? Sprinkler system? Old footings from abandoned patios? Just to mention a few.
 
  #3  
Old 08-31-11, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Welcome to the forums! Of course we can't see what you see, so any advice we give would be purely generic. If you wanted to post pix of the area, you can do so: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
Check into the cost of a Bobcat versus hiring a group of people to move the dirt. You will be through faster and it may be less expensive. Of course accessibility is paramount. A laser level may help you in attaining the proper drainage attitude of the lawn. Your basics are covered. The abstracts will come up one at a time, so get ready. Buried cable? Water lines? Sprinkler system? Old footings from abandoned patios? Just to mention a few.
It would be great if I could get a bobcat back there but it's a tight fit (about 4.5 ft). I calculated about a total of 5 hours between two people at a cost of around $200. Comparable to renting a bobcat. As they drop the loads, I would use a leveling rake to spread the dirt.

I am not going to be doing any digging beyond a few inches so buried cables were not a concern (cables at a few inches below, is it possible?).

I have attached a picture for a better idea of what I am looking at. I may try to open the entry way a little more to get a bobcat in but I have to speak to the neighbor (not likely).

 
  #4  
Old 08-31-11, 10:59 AM
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I would want to be sure (not assume) why you have the problem to begin with. If it is run off from another garden, do your drains all run out there etc. I was landscaper designer for over 20 years and the biggest problem I had to deal with was water. Too much or too little. You could spend a lot of time and money and have the problem all over again if you don't find and fix the cause of the problem. I also like the other answer. There are really small machines that you can rent (even smaller than bobcat) that can get into really tight areas. They rent for cheap and they can also help with the grading. 20 yards of soil doesn't sound like much to me. Measure out the area and allow extra for compacting. You don't want to have workers standing around while you try to get more soil delivered. Also about the machine. Most have a hitch and can pull the roller so real bang for your buck. Good luck.
 
  #5  
Old 08-31-11, 11:05 AM
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Sorry, last thought. Cables are always a concern!!!!!! You have a dip now but has it always been that way? If you have wash out the cables might have started out lower and now may be at the surface. There should be a local number you can call to find out where all the services are on your lot. Good to know anyway. I won't dig PERIOD unless I check first.
 
  #6  
Old 08-31-11, 11:11 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I will def call before I do any digging and also look into the smaller bobcat.

As for the problem, as you can see from the picture, on the left side my property dips down, likely from irrigation or the waterlogged shed sitting there. I recently purchased the home and the back left side turns into a reservoir, collecting the rain from my neighbors (I am the low spot between the three surrounding left yards). It will likely still be wet back there but my hope is that not to the degree that it currently is. All surrounding neighbors raised their properties and the city will not do anything about the runoff.

A french drain would be ideal but considering the pitch and distance I must go, I do not think it is worth the effort. There is clay underneath so a drain well will probably not work either. This is of course just an opinion and I am open to your thoughts.

Thanks!
 
  #7  
Old 08-31-11, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by demodiva View Post
I would want to be sure (not assume) why you have the problem to begin with. If it is run off from another garden, do your drains all run out there etc.
There are no drains in the rear, the downspout at the house is tied to the storm sewers. A large amount of the water is indeed runoff from the neighbors.
 
  #8  
Old 08-31-11, 12:27 PM
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Can't see your picture, please follow these instructions:
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
  #9  
Old 08-31-11, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
Can't see your picture, please follow these instructions:
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
Ooops! Hopefully this works.

 
  #10  
Old 09-01-11, 06:17 AM
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Thoughts on french drain?

One concern I have is that it may end up taking a french drain to rid all the standing water in the rear. I know building it up will reduce the neighbors run off ( I am about 6 inches lower than all my neighbors to the left).

I have clay subsoil which is the source of the problem. My question is somewhat two fold.

First, should I bring the level up to match my neighbors and assess then whether I should add the french drain?

And with regards to the french drain, if there is a tree in the way (not shown in the picture but to the immediate left) is the only option to remove the tree?

Sorry for all the questions and thank you for your thoughts!
 
  #11  
Old 09-02-11, 05:22 PM
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Bump..I attached a new pic to give a better idea of what I am dealing with.

Here is the pic.



Not sure why the above doesnt work

2011-09-01_18-55-42_593 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 
  #12  
Old 09-03-11, 07:32 PM
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You can raise the level of the ground but the water is still going to find the lowest spot. It might be the middle of your yard or it might be the neighbors but it has to go somewhere. I would hate for you to go to all this trouble to end up having a pool in the center of your garden. One option is to "curb" your back garden along the property line. This would keep the neighbors run off out but yours in. Might help. Do the french drain and go around the tree (this will only work if tree is on the smaller size and root mass is not huge). Go higher then neighbors and let them fight it out. You have the bottom of fence to worry about if you do that (don't want it under ground or it will rot). Some areas will let you tie into the storm drains with big "O" pipe. Check first as it it a huge fine if you do it and it is not allowed. Plant "thirsty" trees. They tend to have huge rut structures which can cause a whole new set of problems. Baby just woke up..have to go. Hope this helps!
 
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