It’s exciting to look out over a fairly undeveloped land or a ho-hum backyard and imagine a homey retreat with all the features and amenities your heart desires. But simply installing a patio, fire pit, or water feature on the land as it is may not be the best idea—or even possible. First, an understanding of the land is necessary, to prepare it for all that’s in store. Here’s why understanding the land is important to excavation contractors in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
Prepping the Site
One of the first of probably many skilled people to work on your landscape project is your excavation contractor, whose job it is to prep the site. The landscape must be cleared and shaped before you construction of a patio, pool, a retaining wall, or any other backyard feature can begin.
Site prep is vital whether the lot is already perfectly level and clear of obstacles, or whether it is as steep as a ski run, overgrown with shrubs and trees, strewn with boulders, or has a spring-fed pond.
To properly prep the site for your new landscape, your excavation contractor will need to understand your plan, such as if your intended use for the land requires removing or bringing in soil and rocks, installing an in-ground pool, or prepping the land for retaining walls.
Evaluating Your Landscape
The excavation contractors will also look into any potential difficulties that could arise in executing your plan, including unstable soil, steep slopes, or poor drainage. Landscaping rarely goes perfectly according to plan, and it’s better to expect land-related challenges as much as possible, to minimize surprises.
One main concern is soil. Soil varies in type and composition, sometimes from one neighbor’s yard to the next. Some soil types are strong enough to support a large hardscape project while another type may need to be prepared and shored up. Some soil is rocky and sparse, while some offers a gorgeous deep layer of rich topsoil.
Another concern is water. Any water running through or on the property can be both a delight and a concern. The presence of an underground spring can also be cause for concern: the freeze-thaw cycle and unstable water-logged soil can cause significant damage to even the most well-built patio. On top of that, it’s important to consider how water flows through the property, especially during heavy rains or snowmelt runoff. This can mean a recommendation to install retaining walls or excavate drains that will channel water away from the home and/or the proposed hardscape.
The Actual Excavation Process
Excavation shapes the land. The process includes removal of large obstacles that cannot be removed by hand, such as dead trees, old crumbling structures (including their foundations), stumps, or large rocks. It may also involve removal or repositioning of existing underground utilities. Once debris has been removed, the next step may be removing or adding dirt as needed depending on the intended use of the land. This includes excavating for pools, backfilling, providing proper drainage, and re-introducing desirable landscape features such as boulders.
Grading Before the Build
Grading evens out the land after excavation has done the initial prep work. Grading smooths the land and gives the hardscape construction crews a dry, level area and stable soil to work on.
Once the site is prepped properly, the ground beneath your new patio, walkways, driveway, pool, or other features will be stable and will support your new landscape beautifully.