Grading and Soil – A fresh start

grading soilObtaining your finish grade

Clear and grub: This also could be thought of as demolition, which it is. But

clearing and grubbing is a more refined process giving us the nice blank slate for

installing the infrastructure.

Cut and Fill: This refers to soil. To be cost effective as well as environmentally

friendly it is a good idea to balance the removal of soil onsite (cut) and the areas in

the yard that need soil (fill). Unless your soil is unsuitable for fill new soil and

amendments should be brought in.

Soil: Your soil is one of the most important pieces of a successful project and

healthy yard.

So let’s discuss soils

First off Soil is not dirt. Soil is a living organic structure built from different soil types

with their own mineral types and properties. Along with bacteria, insects and worms

feeding off of different soil types and each other. And not to mention all the stuff that

falls on the ground (organic material like leaf litter). Lets back up for a minute, soil

structure is made up of three core types of material:

Clay: Tight, flat, very small particles, high in minerals, high water retention.

Silt: Irregular shape, small size, general mineral composition, low to moderate water

retention.

Sand: Round, large to small size, rock fragments, low water retention.

Loam is in the center of the triangle and that is your ideal soil type. It has the

perfect combination of clay, silt and sand. This is ideal because you want your soil to

retain moisture but also drain.

These core soil types form what is known as the soil triangle. There is much more

involved in soil classification then what is discussed here but this will give you an

understanding of soil structure. There are many different types of classifications

within ( see

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/survey/?cid=nrcs142p2_05

4167 )

The soils in most yards in our region are a silty clay with a low permeability rate

which causes all sorts of trouble. As you know from going outside and your feet leave

an exact boot print in the ground or the ground just sticks to your feet or maybe a

combination of the two. Then in the summer when the ground dries out the soil is

hard as a rock and it is no fun to dig in.

Because your soil at home is not going to be loam we need to amend the soil to get

closer to that ideal mix. Amendments are the next item we will discuss.

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