What to do with large depression in lawn?

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  #1  
Old 10-22-15, 05:54 AM
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What to do with large depression in lawn?

Apologies for length of this post. Okay, so daughter is about 3 weeks into her first home ownership [or life sentence at hard labor, as my grandfather was quoted as saying]. Nice little house on Space Coast, built in late 70's but with recent complete rehab of interior. Most things needing to be done are exterior and related, i.e. painting concrete floor of screened porch a lighter color, removing some large landscape stones from the front door area, etc.

One of the items on the list is a large depression in the backyard, adjacent to a raised deck. The deck is a bit weathered and needs a good cleaning and maybe staining, but the issue at hand is the large depression where sometime in the past there had been an above-ground pool partially dug in. I haven't determined exactly how deep it is because up until recently (last weekend when we cut the grass) it was filled with weeds. While there I sprayed the area with Roundup, so next visit (Halloween weekend) I should be able to get a better feel for what she has. In addition to the weeds, the previous owners had been disposing of some grass clippings, maybe not for long but noticed several piles where a bagger had been emptied. The depression is about 20 feet across and appears to be at least a foot below grade, possibly more.

So the $64,000 question is what to do with it. Some ideas and comments:

1. Fill it in? Access to backyard somewhat limited. There is a vacant lot to the rear that is cleared (and realtor mentioned possibly could be for sale), but there are lots of trees. Don't think getting a truck through would work, plus chain-link fence. I think fill dirt would have to be dumped in front and wheelbarrowed in. Layout of front and ease of access for wheelbarrow to back makes this look tough to do.

2. Pond? Might be do-able, but cost could be prohibitive. On the plus side, there's power available.

3. Deck addition over it? Cost a big factor here, also. I did a down & dirty guesstimate @ about $800 if I was to DIY it.

Here's some pics:

Overhead. This is an old image where the pool is still there:

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Ground level shot now, depression is on near side of raised portion of deck:

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Any ideas, regardless of how far "outside the box", gratefully accepted.

tg
 
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  #2  
Old 10-22-15, 06:12 AM
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It looks like they may have just thrown the dirt around the yard when they dug it out so it's still there. You just have to find it and put it back.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:12 AM
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The raised deck is there because of the old pool and really doesn't fit as a stand alone item. Is she entertaining a hot tub in the future that could incorporate the deck into usable space again? I don't know how deep the old pool was, but the height of the deck makes me wonder. Is what you are looking at fill that was not properly compacted and therefore has sunk? If so, may not be suitable for building anything on.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:16 AM
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A small skid loader may be able get back there from that empty lot and the fence was opened up.
They should be able to pull back that piled up dirt and level it out.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:17 AM
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A pond, to me, sounds like mosquitoes and money. And, personally, if I were to opt for a pond, I would want it to look more natural than simply hiding a spot where a pool had been, so killing the weeds would only be a dent compared to what would be necessary to make it appealing. You're right, it does look tight, but I would opt for having her line up a few younger guys and/or gals, her age or so, to share the sweat, borrow or rent whatever more you need to keep 2, 3, or maybe 4 wheelbarrows running back and forth, rake it out, and seed it.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:18 AM
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I wonder if it was an above ground pool that they partially set in the ground.

IMO the best thing to do would be to regrade the yard although it looks like you'll have to put your thinking cap on to figure out how to get equipment back there. Maybe take out one section of chainlink fence.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:25 AM
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I would make nice with one of the neighbors to get their permission to drive across their property if you take care of any possible yard damage to their property.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:33 AM
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I think toolmon has the right idea. Looking to the right of that deck there is an obvious drop off. Filling in the hole where it is might result in an obvious bump in the back yard. Time to do a landscape design to slope away from the house and level the back yard. In the process that bump and hole will disappear.

Bud
 
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Old 10-22-15, 06:47 AM
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That would be a lot of dirt to move by hand. I would guess an easy 10 yards? Would a Bobcat fit through the vacant lot or through the front? With a Bobcat, you could move dirt & or regrade the entire yard. It might take a day or two & a couple, of day workers.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 07:35 AM
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I agree that you may not need to add dirt if you regrade, which is what seems to be needed.

No contacts left in the Corps who can chopper a bobcat in for you?
 
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Old 10-22-15, 07:47 AM
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Bobcat makes a walk behind MT55 which should definitely be able to get back there. Others may know how well it might do the job. Plus, you would need to find a rental place that has one.
MT55 Mini Track Loader - Bobcat Company
Other manufacturers may have equipment build to access through narrow openings.

Bud
 
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Old 10-23-15, 06:45 AM
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Okay, sorry about not getting back to this.

The yard is more level overall than it appears in the pic. Those pics were taken prior to us running the lawn mower around; the varying height of the grass (it was pretty thick) gives the impression of evenness of the ground. Complete re-landscape of the entire yard probably not an option, although not out of the question and would solve having to bring in fill; just push stuff around until the hole's gone and seed/sod. A foot deep @ 20' diameter is roughly 12 yards (found a cool calculator on a Bobcat business's site).

As to the deck, I agree it is a bit out of place sans an above ground pool. Mark, I think you're right and it's what I assumed, that it was dug in. She's not going to be ready to jump into a large project having just moved in, so we'll see. My first suggestion would be to lose that deck. The ground-level section to the right is newer and could stay (minus the cut off tree trunk/table which she's already decided has to go).

Stick, I was in fixed-wing; rotor-head guys are nutty.

The pond idea was just a passing thought; it wouldn't be visible from the house/screened porch anyway, only from the raised deck.

I'll have more time to eyeball and survey Halloween weekend when we visit. Stay tuned.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 01-02-16 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:29 AM
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Stick, I was in fixed-wing; rotor-head guys are nutty.
I'm going to have my dad call you - CWO 4 US Army, Retired Rotary Wing Pilot

Please get us some new pictures when you're over there with the grass tamed.
 
  #14  
Old 10-23-15, 09:16 AM
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2. Pond? Might be do-able....

You live in Florida and you're thinking of a pond?

I don't think I'd do that.




 
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Old 10-23-15, 12:30 PM
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Hmm, well she likes pets....
 
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Old 10-23-15, 01:41 PM
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You didn't tell us if you can get a Bobcat, in there.
 
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Old 10-24-15, 04:06 PM
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I'm thinking it would go in on the one side entrance. Might have to take down a pole and couple of feet of chain link, but would probably work. More recon next weekend.
 
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Old 12-30-15, 07:57 PM
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Update.

I'll get some pics up shortly, but over Christmas weekend we rebuilt the deck over the depression. We dismantled the raised portion over Thanksgiving weekend and the ground level one in conjunction with the re-build. Came out pretty well if I do say so myself although needs a post-construction cleaning and she wants to stain it so all the wood looks more uniform (in addition to providing some protection from elements). Also she now has about 300 sq ft of bare ground where original decks were located.
 
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Old 12-31-15, 07:05 AM
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I just finished watching a documentary about sink-holes. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVGFJeIxOsA). They mentioned Florida as being one of the areas with significant problems. After reading/seeing the original pics, it kinda took my breath away!lol

Glad your project turned out well! :-)
 
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Old 12-31-15, 09:49 AM
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If you built the deck over the depression, are you worried about water pooling below the deck? I assume you put something down to prevent weeds from growing up through the deck but that might also capture and hold water.

- Peter
 
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Old 12-31-15, 09:58 AM
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Very sandy soil, of course, and no sign of any water collection even after hard rain. The high end (towards the house) is essentially on grade. The low end away is about a 2 foot drop. There's some weeds under there, but we can get to them with Roundup if needed. Now if Google Earth will just make a fresh photo pass over the neighborhood, we'll get to see a good overhead view.

mxmom, the sinkhole issue is somewhat restricted to a band across the center of the state (although can happen pretty much anywhere). Where we are in Sarasota county they're almost unheard of. Daughter is in Brevard county, also low incidence. Mostly seen 50 miles or so either side of a line from St. Pete to Daytona and more or less along the route of I75 up the middle from Tampa to the state line. The Tampa Bay area is very active.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 01-02-16 at 07:20 AM.
  #22  
Old 01-02-16, 07:20 AM
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Here's some pics. Don't pay attention to the dark streaks and dirty spots on some of the recycled pieces; I didn't have my pressure washer with me this trip for final cleanup. And it's still a work in progress, railing and some other elements will get additional fine-tuning.

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Old 01-02-16, 07:26 AM
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Here's another angle where you can see the location of the original 2 deck sections (big dirt patch). She's still deciding what to do with the bare spot; I suggested large flower plots or possibly sod ($$$). It's about 350 sq ft I would say.

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  #24  
Old 01-02-16, 08:02 AM
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Can I poo-poo you on the use of deck blocks instead of proper footings? Not sure what code is in a hurricane zone, but I would suspect you want it anchored in some way.
 
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Old 01-02-16, 09:27 AM
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Depending on how it cleans up you might want to use a solid deck stain to make the old and new look more uniform. Latex holds up better in the fla sun than oil base.
 
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Old 01-03-16, 06:37 AM
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You can poo-poo, czizzi. I'm going to anchor the low end, the other end 3 posts were recycled in place from old deck and already footed (is that a word?). Got six months until 2016 season.

Mark, that's what daughter said about the stain. I was just doing some research reading yesterday about products to use. Will have to see how it all looks after cleaning.
 
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