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  • Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

    I'm about to start building a fence and figured I might as well flatten the back yard, since my wife wants a hockey rink there.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out whether a bobcat-like machine rented from home depot would be able to do the job or not.

    A little of the yard is already at the level where I want it,so I could start there, and dig towards the higher side, flattening it as I go.

    Can someone offer some advice about this? Specifically:
    • Is it worth the 300$/day rental fee to get the mini-loader or should I just hire a bunch of guys with shovels for a few hours?
    • Is it worth the 200$/day rental fee to get the sod cutter to save the sod, or would it be cheaper to reseed the grass?
    • What's the cheapest means to get rid of the stuff I dig out? I'm assuming it'll be clean fill, but I don't know what to do with it. My trailer can hold a tonne at most, and I've got about 4.5-5 cubic meters to dig out.
    • Does sod generally count as clean fill too?
    Andrew Smith
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  • #2

    Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

    If it was me, I'd just hire someone with a Bobcat and one of those dump trailers. There are a ton of those guy around here. It would probably cost about the same as renting the Bobcat... about 2-3 hours work for someone who knows what they are doing. Probably not as much fun as playing the the mini-loader though.

    Clean fill around here means less that about 5% other stuff, including sod. Now, you were to hid the sod at the bottom of the trailer....
    the other Ken
    ------
    "Each flitch, each board, each plant can have only one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential" - George Nakashima

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    • #3

      Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

      Check if you need a permit and a grading plan first.
      Steve The Drill Sergeant
      Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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      • #4

        Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

        Where would I check that?
        Andrew Smith

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        • #5

          Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

          Here in Ajax I would goto the planning/building inspection counter at city hall. Not sure for thornhill. Where I am you need one for any type of grade change from the site plan you have for the property. You don't need a new site/grading plan if your just digging a pool or putting in a garden.
          Steve The Drill Sergeant
          Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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          • #6

            Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

            If you're living in a subdivision be sensitive to the effect of your grading changes on the neighboring lots. You don't want to make anyone else's lot into a swamp.

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            • #7

              Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

              Originally posted by bender View Post
              If you're living in a subdivision be sensitive to the effect of your grading changes on the neighboring lots. You don't want to make anyone else's lot into a swamp.
              He's lowering so maybe make sure you don't flood yourself.
              Steve The Drill Sergeant
              Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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              • #8

                Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                Yeah I'm also doing the fence with the neighbour and I'm putting in extra work to make sure we keep the water away from his basement (one neighbour is lower than me, the other is higher).

                If a pool doesn't need a permit - this certainly won't either. I'm taking off at most 60cm on a relatively small area. Most of it is almost flat and at the level I want it, but not flat enough for a rink.

                I did the locates too, nothing there (which I already knew from years past). It's a relatively simple project, just a lot of manual labour. Even with a loader I'm assuming I'll be wheelbarrowing the dirt to the front. And got to figure out whether to keep the sod or not.

                The neighbour mentioned that at some point he paid someone to come level his back yard and they farted around for a day with a bobcat, still isn't flat. So I'm extra wary letting someone else do the grading.
                Andrew Smith

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                • #9

                  Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                  Don't be too sure on the permit. Some areas are very strict in grading. And even if you don't need a permit you can be held liable if you cause water to flow onto a neighbouring lot
                  If a man speaks in the forest, and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong

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                  • #10

                    Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                    Running a bobcat and cutting level in sod ain’t the easiest thing to do. You’ll also need a truck to haul materials away. It may also require some new dirt for proper leveling.
                    Figure out how you will ensure it’s level.

                    Alternatively can dirt be added to level the existing yard?
                    Egon
                    from
                    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                    • #11

                      Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                      Running a bobcat and cutting level in sod ain’t the easiest thing to do.
                      Especially for me, I've never used one

                      Alternatively can dirt be added to level the existing yard?
                      Sadly no. At the low point the level is currently where it's supposed to be (~15cm below the brick) so I'd be covering the doors with dirt if I were to raise it.

                      On the high side it's less clear whether the house was designed with this grade in mind or not - there's a covered deck there and no brick to easily check the level. My guess is that the house design tolerates, rather than requires, the higher soil on one side.

                      I guess an easier way to deal with it is to level half the back yard using just a sod cutter and shovel, and leave the higher half for another year. There may be little enough dirt there that I could just spread it around and not worry about disposing of it.
                      Andrew Smith

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                      • #12

                        Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                        Especially for me, I've never used one

                        If that is the case consider other methods.
                        Egon
                        from
                        The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                        • #13

                          Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                          Most people would need to hire a crew with shovels to fix the mess a Bobcat often leaves.
                          billh
                          Beaverfever1988 likes this.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                            Sure, but digging out 8-10 cubic meters of who-knows-what by hand is equally unrealistic for me.

                            If that is the case consider other methods.
                            There's a first time for everything, no? I'd still be writing software, hiring plumbers, and buying stuff from IKEA if I never tried anything new
                            Andrew Smith

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                            • #15

                              Re: Flattening a backyard and disposing the fill

                              I think you'll find your looking at 16 to 20 cubic meters once it loosen up . If you have a place close by to dump it your probably looking at 4 to $500 for someone one with a truck and equipment to do it.

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