Managing your own earthmoving on your property can be a difficult task, as many homeowners overlook certain details that need to be considered in order to properly remove dirt, fill in pits, or grade their property. This type of work is not as simple as just renting a backhoe and starting to dig, or ordering dirt and having it dumped into a pit. Note a few things that you'll want to keep in mind if you're doing any earthmoving on your property so you know you get the job done right.
Allowing for swell and shrinkage
The dirt on your property is probably compacted, as soil needs to be compacted during the construction process in order to properly support a home and outbuildings and to stay in place when it rains. This compaction then means that the dirt will swell once you start to dig. Air pockets form once you remove dirt, so you'll fill up a container with loose dirt that is usually larger than the actual area you want to dig. It's good to plan for at least one-fourth more loose dirt than the actual area to be dug, if not one-half. In other words, if you're removing a hundred cubic meters of dirt, you'll want a container that can hold 125 if not 150 cubic meters to ensure it can safely manage that load.
This also needs to be figured when you're backfilling in a pit of any sort, such as when you've removed a pool. If the pit is 100 cubic meters, you'll want to order 125 or 150 cubic meters of fill dirt. Once you start to fill in that pit, you'll be compacting the soil to keep it in place. Tamping it down in this way will make it more compact, so be sure you order enough fill dirt to accommodate.
Very steep grades
To ensure that you have proper water runoff on your property, you might want to grade your soil toward the street or a drainage ditch. This can be as simple as adding more pressure onto a backhoe bucket when you drag it over the soil's edge. However, a very steep grade can mean that soil loses its compaction and it too starts to move toward this grade or slope. If you need a very steep grade to protect your property from collecting water around a home's foundation, consider if a retaining wall might be a better option. This will ensure your property is protected from soil erosion as well as from moisture retention.