How to make level ground in the backyard?

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 what?
Sorry if these are stupid questions - thanks for your help.
Bluesman
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How close are you to sub grade? If you lower than the subgrade, bottom of the slab get some sand and fill it in. It will take more than you think.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

What type of patio?
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Don't disturb the soil unless / until you absolutely have to.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

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.
R
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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?
Thanks guys.
Bluesman
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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 basement/crawlspace.
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.
Anthony
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

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?
--
Respectfully,


CL Gilbert
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