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Old 10-08-2014, 01:17 PM
 
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We had a fairly sloping backyard with lots of trees. Our goal - to have a smallish lawn with fescue or zyorgia for the kids to play on. We have had the trees removed and now we are looking to grading the yard. We need maybe a truck load of dirt to level and grade the yard. We also need to dig ditches from the downspouts to avoid a run off from the water from the spouts.

How much does dirt cost? Should we be looking for a specific kind of dirt, considering that we want a lawn or can we add amendments later. A friend mentioned that construction sites might be willing to get rid of their dirt , for free. I am not sure this is so but even if it is, is it safe to use this soil ?

Grading seems quite expensive...they are charging 500$ to 900$ for about 1250 sq ft. Is this reasonable?

We need ditch witches (?) for two downspouts. How much will these cost?

Thank you.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:33 PM
 
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You have to call around to landscape materials suppliers in your area for prices.

Yes you can get free dirt sometime at construction sites but it might not be the best for planting without LOTS of ammending. Most residential construction site dirt has already been tested. Depending on your building jurisdiction.

Loam soil with a good percentage of organics is the best for planting.

Grading ain't cheap depending on what exact you want done. I do it for a living. 1250sqft front yard with no large slopes and easy access would cost you in the $500-$700 range for me.

Again the price of rental trenching machines is also something that depends on the area.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:52 PM
 
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One truckload won't go nearly as far as you think. BDD, does one truckload sound like it would make much of a difference on 1250 sf with a slope?

As for what to buy, I can tell you because we've done it, but on acreage with 20 truckloads (yikes, that was 7 years ago today!) Get a mix of topsoil and compost, maybe 75:25 soil to compost. We did that, and years later, I can tell where the most fill was added during the grading. Sure, I was here when it was done and saw where it went, but the filled areas with topsoil and compost are always more lush and green.

Some garden centers also sell something called a "garden mix". that will be a little pricey, but your lawn will always look better.

That estimate for grading sounds about right, if you have someone who knows what he's doing. Believe me, you don't want someone grading your property unless they're really good.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:01 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
One truckload won't go nearly as far as you think. BDD, does one truckload sound like it would make much of a difference on 1250 sf with a slope?
Yeah... a friend was shocked when she needed 82 truckloads for HER yard!
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:26 PM
 
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Yup Tina it is amazing how quickly dirt is swallowd up by a yard especially after it has been graded and compacted.

Cant know how many yards needs until the following below is determined.

A standard truck load of dirt from a materials center is 5-6 cubic yards depending on weight of dirt. The homeowner can workout the number needed.

The OP will have to determine how many average inches of area needs to be filled in. Plenty of calculators on line the figure the cubic yards for the OP.

27cubic feet in a cubic yard.

(inches depth)*length*width=cubic feet

cubic feet/27= cubic yards
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:32 PM
 
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Generally you want to get something sandy that drains well for the fill, then put a sufficient layer of topsoil (6"-18" depending on what you're growing) over it for lawn and landscaping.

I got some from construction sites on Craigslist for the base and bought yards of garden mix/compast from the Nursery for landscaping. Unfortunately I was filling near our sewer line so heavy equipment was not an option. Anywhere else I'd try to avoid doing it by hand, it was a LOT of work.
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
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Fill, top soil is usually sold by the cubic yard [27 cu ft] So 1250 sf at 4 inches deep is 15 yards.
1250x.33=412.4 div. by 27=15.27 6 inches deep would be 23.1 yards That loose spread. Disappears in a hurry when compacted.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:34 PM
 
243 posts, read 533,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
You have to call around to landscape materials suppliers in your area for prices.

Yes you can get free dirt sometime at construction sites but it might not be the best for planting without LOTS of ammending. Most residential construction site dirt has already been tested. Depending on your building jurisdiction.

Loam soil with a good percentage of organics is the best for planting.

Grading ain't cheap depending on what exact you want done. I do it for a living. 1250sqft front yard with no large slopes and easy access would cost you in the $500-$700 range for me.

Again the price of rental trenching machines is also something that depends on the area.
Thank you all. Bulldogdad, what exactly is done in grading. Is it basically leveling out the dumped dirt. How many hours of work will 1250 sqft area grading require? What should I be asking the landscaper in terms of trying to achieve what we want? After seeing the comments here, I am hesitant to ask construction sites to dump their dirt and grade it themselves. Or can we save some money this way but take appropriate precautions?
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:57 PM
 
243 posts, read 533,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d4g4m View Post
Fill, top soil is usually sold by the cubic yard [27 cu ft] So 1250 sf at 4 inches deep is 15 yards.
1250x.33=412.4 div. by 27=15.27 6 inches deep would be 23.1 yards That loose spread. Disappears in a hurry when compacted.
Yes, we are looking at approx 1/2 foot fill. So 1/2 times 1250 = 625 cubic feet. Which is 625/27 = 23 cubic yards. So if a truck load is 6 cubic yards, we need about 4 truckloads? The landscaper mentioned a single truck load without going into the numbers. Also, I guess we have to find out what constitutes his 'dirt'.

Feeling a little diffident since after all this, we have to figure if fescue seeding ( we don't get a lot of light here in the back yard) or zyorgia sod ( expensive) is the way to go. We keep hearing the pros and cons of Both and not sure what will work .

On a different note, is there a better or cheaper way for the kids to play. My 7 year old son loves sports, esp soccer and we want some flat area that he can play on. We have a yard in the front albeit sloping so we don't. Necessarily want grass, just some area where the kids can play soccer and what not. Thanks
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:09 PM
 
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Check on light 60-40 dirt.
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