Dirt Work

Before I could even begin digging, I needed to have enough dirt. The area that I was building on was sloping, and it needed to be flat and at the highest ground level in order to maximize runoff effectiveness. Also, there needed to be a decent driveway area that sloped as gently as possible to the road. This meant I was going to need LOTS of dirt. And I didn't have the slightest idea where to get it.

I started off by digging up other parts of my yard. There were some things I wanted to change, and I took this opportunity to dig out some areas in my back yard and use that dirt for the garage. I bought an old 1980's John Deere riding lawnmower and a dump trailer that attached to it. It was slow work, but it did give me some of the dirt I needed.

Next, I contacted the large dirt hauling companies in the area. The amount of money they wanted seemed absurd, but I decided to order one full dump truck load (about 8 yards) to see how far that got me. Well, it cost a fortune and barely made a dent in my dirt needs. Never doing that again.

My next step was to search for free dirt listings on Craigslist. I went to a couple construction sites and loaded up my pickup truck, but the problem was that they were all too far away from me, and it wasn't worth the wear and tear on the truck to haul so much dirt over such long distances. Not to mention I had to shovel the dirt out of the truck by hand.

At this point I had all the dirt I needed for the garage foundation, but I still didn't have a driveway.

Finally, I found a guy in the neighborhood next to mine who had a full size dump truck. He could get fill dirt from a quarry that was about 10 miles away. There were 2 grades of fill they offered. One grade was basically just big chunks of rock, the other grade was actually good quality dirt. I ordered 2 loads of rock to serve as the base for the driveway, then covered that with 3 loads of clean dirt. Worked perfectly and wasn't terribly expensive.

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