Monday, April 30, 2018

Starting to dig up the front yard

We want to give the front yard the same treatment as the backyard -- dig out the rock, to get enough dirt that the plants are happy.  We've started by working on the corner, finishing the River of Rocks.  Now it's time to do the yard proper.

We want to stay well away from the two large trees in the front yard, and we are not sure how far away we need to be, so let's start along the property line.  The idea is to dig a trench along the property line to expose the underlying rock formations, so that we can see how much dirt, and how much rock, we have.

We start by digging it out by hand.

We know roughly where the gas line is in the front yard, from calling 811, and we should be well away from it.  It runs parallel to the property line (which we have marked with yellow plastic tape), about 6 to 7 feet from the property line (except as it gets close to the house, or close to the street).  So we have plenty of room to work before we involve the gas line.

Expanding our starting hole, we find the main water line for the sprinkler system, and some remnants of older versions of those pipes.

We continued working on this by hand for awhile, and then decided to try using power equipment, specifically a trencher.

I rented ($182.18) a trencher from Home Depot.  Came on it's own trailer.

The idea was to dig two parallel trenches, on either side of the hole that I was already digging from that hole back to the street, stopping before we got to the gas line area.  Of course, I've never used a trencher before.  It took hours (literally) to get the truck, drive to a Home Depot that had a working trencher, bring it back (and then reverse all that to return it).  So while the complete operation took about 6 hours, I only actually did any trenching for about 30 minutes.

But during that 30 minutes it did a lot of "work" -- damage really.  It completely destroyed a significant chunk of the sprinkler line.  I did not realize that the main water supply line went thru this area, and the trencher tore it and the wiring up in several places. I will cap it off, allowing the sprinkler system to run in the back yard but we have lost the two zones (10 and 11) for the front yard, until I can rebuilt it completely.

The trench themselves at places are deep, and other places not so deep.

After hours of clean-up, separating rock from dirt and PVC pipe, and moving the dirt off to the side, we can see what was accomplished.  This should put us in position to be more productive in our hand digging.

Even with this start it has still taken 3 weeks to dig much of this out, down to rock.