Buying a plot of land to build your own home and grow your own food is an exciting first step on the path to a sustainable lifestyle. Now the real fun begins – along with plenty of hard work. But before you move forward, the land must be excavated. Heavy equipment will be used to clear unwanted vegetation, move earth for proper contouring and drainage, and level the ground where the house will stand. The instructions you and your building contractor give the excavators will give you a jump-start on creating the efficient, sustainable lifestyle you desire.
What to Clear and What to Keep
Brambles, overgrowth, and debris all need to be removed from the property. Some trees may need to go, also, to make room a garden and orchard, the house, and other structures. If there's a healthy shade tree or magnificent evergreens that you want to keep, make sure that the tree roots are properly protected from damage by the excavation and construction process. Identify natural features such as a pond, a meadow, or a small stand of trees that you want to integrate into your property layout. Mark these features with bright colored stakes and construction tape to prevent them from being disturbed during excavation.
Grading and Topsoil Preservation
The land where your house and other structures are to be built must be leveled and the surrounding areas contoured to an angle sufficient for proper drainage. The grading process is likely to displace nutrient rich topsoil. With proper planning, the topsoil may be moved to areas where you plan to grow an expansive garden. Areas where brush and tree roots have been removed, and areas where the soil has been graded are susceptible to erosion. Some excavation companies offer erosion control services, but you may also take the do-it-yourself route using ground-cover plants or temporary erosion fencing.
Specific Excavation Needs
Ensure that your excavation plans include grading, filling and leveling for the specific activities you'll need to maintain your sustainable lifestyle. For example, you'll need extra space leveled for parking a small tractor, for a workshop and garden shed, and for a barn if you expect to raise any livestock. You may also need soil cut from one area of the property and moved to another for planting an orchard. And if you don't have a natural pond on the property, now is the time to have one dug that you can stock with fish at a later date.
For more information, talk to a professional like Gerard Excavation LLC.