Starting prep for a patio in the backyard - nothing big, maybe 10x12,
but my yard is slightly sloping and a lumpy mess.
What I have done so far is remove the grass and roots, and cleared the
area of most of the big rocks. (This turned out to be a hell of a job
-- took an afternoon of hard work with a steel rake.)
Anyway, I was thinking I still need to soften ground up to be able to
level it, so I was thinking loosen the soil, then use a 2x4 to run
across the area to level it.
Will this work? Do I need to get something to tamp it down hard or
Sorry if these are stupid questions - thanks for your help.
Stupid? Nah, not at all. It's better to ask questions first than
ascribe blame later.
Since your yard slopes, are you planning on building up the low end to
level it, or cutting in at the high side? In general, as others have
state, you don't want to disturb more soil than you have to. If you do
you have to compact the disturbed soil. This can be low tech, slow and
cheap - pounding the entire surface with the end of a 4x4 - or faster
and more expensive - rent a plate compactor.
The yard does not slope a great deal, but enough to notice...maybe 6
inches every 15 feet or so? I am going to fill in the low side to make
it level with the high side -does that make sense?
I have to disturb the soil to some extent. The ground is lumps-ville.
I am in New England too, by the way.
So I should tamp it down with something after I turn the soil enough to
manipulate it. That is what I figured...I have seen those mini
steamroller things, but I thing I will end up going low tech.
It will be a brick patio. I was going to go with a ground level deck,
but the more I research, the better it seems I am with brick, espcially
at ground level.
The rocks in the soil were big enough and sticking out so that the
ground wouldn't be level with them there. Understand I am not digging
very deep here - only enough to uproot the grass, not much more.
What is sub grade?
Any other tips?
Ideally, your yard should slope away from your house. This allows rain and
roof runoff to drain away from the house instead of ending up in your
However, I understand you are installing a patio.
If you're only doing a small area, you can dig up the sod using a square
edge shovel. If you have a larger area, rent a "Sod Cutter". It makes the
job much easier. We took out a lawn a few years back to put in a new
driveway. The sod cutter worked great.
I'm guessing this is up next to your house? If so, I'd try to avoid digging
down, and concentrate on filling the low areas. I would remove the sod and
any loose topsoil. Then lay down a layer of gravel for your base, and level
the area using the gravel. This will work nice for leveling, and will
still allow drainage. Rent a "plate compactor" to tamp down the gravel (You
walk behind them, kind of like pushing a lawnmower), then lay down a layer
of sand and compact that too. Lay your brick, sweep sand into the cracks,
and run the compactor over the bricks. You'll probably need to sweep more
sand into the cracks.
Depending on the elevation diffence at the edge, you may have to build a
"step" of some type. Or, bring in fill dirt to bring the yard up to the
level of your new patio.
the local tool rental place has an iron wheel (like steem roller) you
can roll over the dirt to mash it down. You use it when you lay grass.
Typically it comes with a hole on the side you use to fill it with
water to give it weight once you get it home. That should work better
than 2x4 I think.
If you are raising the dirt level I dont see why you dug out the rocks
and soften it up just to mash it down again?
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