Digging up large yard

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Old 08-31-14, 11:54 AM
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Digging up large yard

We have quite a large yard we are trying to fix up. It's covered in a mix of clay-ey soil and gravel down to a depth of about six inches.

What we want to do is dig up the yard to a depth of six inches to a foot. Then we'd either:

- get rid of all that we've dug up (basically, the top six inches of the whole yard), or
- somehow put all that we've dug up through a sifting operation so that we can sift out the soil, leaving the gravel and rocks, which we can then get rid of.

We've tried doing it manually - a pick and shovel - and it near killed us after we got about a square yard done.

Is there a way to do this with some sort of machinery? Something we could hire?

Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 12:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums from down under.

I've never heard of sifting dirt on location but it may be possible. You may have to dig up the dirt and replace it with some type of top soil.

As far as hiring.... I'm not really sure what kind of rental places you have there. You're going to have to check them out and see what's available.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 12:47 PM
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From down under? Hello from an ex pat Aussie here - born and raised around Sydney, got here to the US a year ago.

What kind of equipment should I look for? I have no idea at all
 
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Old 08-31-14, 12:56 PM
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No.... I'm not from Australia. I saw you were in your member profile. You need to change it now that you are here.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 12:56 PM
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Equipment

I would be looking for skid steer loader with a roto tiller attachment.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 12:58 PM
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Bare bones would be a Bobcat with a loader attachment and a dump truck. I don't know what size yard you have. Probably best to dig out the bad material and pile it. Then rent the dump truck. You will need a place to dispose of your old material and a place to get good top soil.

Cheap top soil around here is sometimes called river run. It's mostly silt and has almost no nutriments. Dries as hard as rock. Be sure to get your top soil from a good source.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 02:03 PM
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There is a good chance that it would be the same cost or cheaper to hire someone to dig and haul away than doing it yourself.
Here good fill is kinda scarce and although not really worth much we would have no trouble having someone haul it away for free if we load them.

Give us a close estimate as to how many square feet of yard you are talking about.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 03:50 PM
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My first concern would be, what is under that 6 inches. I've seen some areas where as bad as it is, the stuff underneath is worthless.

Second would be the overall grade. We constantly advise people to improve their drainage, but the thought of digging up their entire yard is unimaginable. You are already there so don't miss the chance.

Ditto on bringing in an experienced contractor with the right machines. You will have plenty of finish work to do and you will need that back in good shape. Their machines will be bigger than what you would rent, they know how to use them and they will have sources to get rid of the old and bring in the new. And they will have references so you can see what they can do.

In Maine we can't touch any kind of digging without contacting "Dig Safe", not sure what is required in AZ.

Bud
 
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Old 08-31-14, 05:11 PM
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What are you intending to do with the yard? 6 inches is not enough for grass or a garden unless there is something useful down deeper even here in NC where it rains more frequently.
 
 

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