Grading My Backyard By Hand

 
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:10 PM   #1
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Grading My Backyard By Hand


Well, about 11 months ago we moved into a fixer upper... We have done a LOT of work, but still have a lot left to do.

I was refered to this forum by someone at a forum totally unrelated to DIY work and after perusing the posts and answers I think I will hazard a first post here.

Today's querry is about grading.

When we moved in there was quite a problem with runoff going straight up to the house. The home is a slab foundation single story with no basement. Even so, I was concerned about the couple inch deep standing water that pooled against the wall and on the patio.

I installed gutters and dug 100 feet of drainage ditch to the street, put in 3.5 inch corrugated pipe, backfilled with pea gravel topped with decorative rock and sent the runoff from the roof to said burried pipe directly. I piled the dirt from the dig in such a way as to move the water away from the house by 6-10 feet. Works great so far.... The side of the house is no longer a sidewall for a big ol puddle.

Except....

Except for the fact that the water that ran from the yard to the house now pools in the center of the 25 foot wide backyard. I expected this, but would like to put in a lawn and stepping stones someday.

So I am in the process right now of shoveling out a swath to take the water from the center of the backyard over to the rocks and pea gravel and HOPEFULLY out to the street.

I guess I am just looking for any tips anyojne might care to offer about doing this right.

I am concerned about silting up my pea gravel with what is now a 2 inch deep 25 foot long MUDDY puddle

Any tips on how to properly grade the land, filter the silt, or anything else would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Charles
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:28 PM   #2
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


I would have used 6" pipe for that. You may wind up with a future prob.

Also, did you use red rosin paper over the gravel, this acts like a filter to trap the dirt from entering your leach pipe. If not you might want to consider this option.

Bob

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Old 02-16-2005, 10:40 PM   #3
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Assuming you have enough slope on across the lot to actually carry the water away (not less than 3" slope in 25 feet), one way you can obtain a nice uniform slope from point A to point B is by driving a a stake in the ground at the point you want to start grading (at the street) and at the point you want to stop grading (at the lowest point of the puddle). Taughtly pull a string between the two stakes making sure to tie it at the same height above the ground at both stakes. As you grade the ground beneath the string maintain that same height from the string to the ground. Once you get that 'path' established grade the adjoining ground to the same height.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:24 AM   #4
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Yeah, as Bob said, it is best to surround the gravel around the drain pipe with something, I use landscape fabric. You don't need gravel on the surface usually only surrounding the drain pipe. When you say corrogated pipe, I hope you are referring to drain tile - pipe will holes in it. You did put the holes facing down right?
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:45 PM   #5
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Well, I am sorry to say I did NOT use fabric around the drain pipe when I laid the trench and pea gravel. Live and learn, and god I hope not but it may be I end up redoing it some year. So far its worked well and we have had about 9.25 inches of rain (that doesnt seem right! but I just checked it on wunderground) Anyway it still spills clear water from the exit pipe.

The drainage ditch is about 100 feet long, about 1/2 of that is in between a board fence and a walkway. It is dug about 18 inches (and shallows out to zero) deep, filled with 2 inches of pea gravel, laid with corrugated pipe, and then filled up the rest of the way with pea gravel. I laid "Sonoma Gold" basically a yellow-white crushed rock about 2 inches around over the top for looks.

The pipe itself is the thin walled black corrugated pipe with what looks like exacto knife holes all the way around it spaced several inches apart. It is (I believe) 3.5 inches in diameter and yes I kinda tested it. It did not crush under the rocks. I stood on a piece and it deflected slightly but did not crush either. Since it is in an area that it will not be walked on I did not worry this. In the one area that it passes under a loose rock walkway I actually enclosed the corrugated pipe in a sturdy walled white pipe with the holes pointed dwonward. I also laid a stepstone over the trench so that no direct pressure could come down on it. The gutter downspout goes directly into a cement block I poured with an elbow inside it which is underground and connects to the pipe. At the beginning of the run surrounding the block and extending 5 feet square into the backyard I dug a square sloped hole which I also filled with pea gravel. I dunno if this is properly termed a catch basin or not.

My supposition was that anything that didnt make it through the pipe would make it thropugh the pea gravel and out to the street. Wish I had the advantage of this forum when I did that project.

Anyhow, the concern now is 2 fold. One is to find a good technique of getting a subtle even slope away from the patio, and the second is, when I break the "dyke" that holds back this muddy water from the middle of my yard and send it through the 5 foot square and the pea gravel where the pipe is laid, just how I might be able to filter that muddy water some so as not to silt up the gravel badly. I am thinking if I dig down and basically "fence off" the rocks in the "catch basin" with landscape cloth as described above if this would filter it enough to keep my pea gravel from silting up too badly.

Hope I am describing this correctly.

Thanks for your blunt input. I shoulda wrapped the pipe. I am surprised at the suggestion of a 6 inch pipe for gutter runoff, but I bow to greater experienced minds.... I am stuck with what I have in there though :-)

Thanks gents!
Charles
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Last edited by CGofMP; 02-17-2005 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:07 PM   #6
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


A cheap and easy way to filter it is to put some hay bales in its path letting the water filter through the hay bales before it gets to whereever you want it to go.You see this all the time on the side of the road when they do consturction, you often see the drains being protected by a ring of hay bales around them.
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:12 PM   #7
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Mike that is a superb idea.... I'll do it.

That will work for the initial (and worst) flood of silty water... I will then need something a bit less dramatic there for when I move the hay bale

Excellent....
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:48 PM   #8
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


I'm confused at your confusion at getting a "subtle even slope away from the patio". What are you having difficulties with specifically?

Anytime I am dealing with terraforming a yard I tap stakes into the ground in the corners of the area and stretch some string to the all that is all at the same level. Then you can stand back and walk around it all and really see what it going on. The mind plays tricks to the eye, especially on a compound slope with it sloping in 2 directions, but the strings will show you want is really going on and then you can figure out where to put the fill.
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:55 PM   #9
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley
Anytime I am dealing with terraforming a yard
Ter-ra-for-ming ooooooooooooooh I'll bet you can charge more to ter-ra-form than you can to grade, huh? I can hear it now "Mr. and Mrs. Blaughman, ter-ra-for-ming your yard will result in a much nicer finished product than just plain grading. The modest additional investment will be more than offset by the increase of your home's curb appeal value. Shall we go ahead schedule the ter-ra-for-ming now?"
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:57 PM   #10
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Then, to do the work, send a couple of crackheads with thier Ho's.

Bob
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:59 PM   #11
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Lmfao
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:14 AM   #12
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


You guys is foony!
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Old 02-23-2005, 12:02 AM   #13
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Gentlemen, Just wanted to express my thanks to you for your ideas and help. I particularly appreciate the time that Mr. Finley took to type up the long responses, though again, I appreciate everyone's input.

I think I will be able to do this thing thanks to all of your help. The trick with the string, while I have read about it a few other times just did not "CLICK" till I read it how it was written here.

Again, thanks gents.

Charles
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:33 AM   #14
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Gents?........I'm like...looking around and crap.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2005, 07:09 PM   #15
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Re: Grading My Backyard By Hand


Quote:
Originally Posted by Glasshousebltr
Gents?........I'm like...looking around and crap.

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