Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Remove a Gravel Drive in the (Flipping) Middle of Your Yard

**Note: I just accidentally published an unfinished post called "Extending a Gravel Drive - Excavating a Brick Path." Sorry Google Reader users. Please ignore it!

Once upon a time, we had this gravel drive...

...smack dab in the flipping middle of our yard.

It effectively cut the yard in half. Eventually, we'd like the yard to be fenced in as a nice grassy play area. But, the gravel drive was cramping our style and getting in the way of our plans.

What were we to do? Dig, of course! Pop that baby in the bouncer and get digging!

We quickly discovered that without the help of a bulldozer, digging gravel really, really, really SUCKS. It's not even digging. It's more like scraping. And it's not a little bit of scraping. It's a whole lot scraping. That there gravel is more than 6 inches deep. Fan-flipping-tastic!

Here we are, an hour into digging. We have accomplished so much. Hello, 2x4 foot shallow hole!

It was at this point that I turned to Stephen and asked him whether he was absolutely, positively sure that we couldn't rent a bulldozer. He said "No." Party pooper.

So, when we rented a tiller to spruce up the yard, Stephen went ahead and tilled up the gravel as well.

Thank you, Terrible Yard Ravaging Tilling Monster Machine! You made our gravel removing task 1000 times easier!

We relocated all of the gravel into a pile at the end of the drive by the street. All to be reused in an upcoming project. Yippy!

We removed the vast majority of the larger gravel from the drive. About six inches down in an area of roughly 10x40 feet. But the compacted crushed gravel underneath the larger gravel? That stayed.

Instead of breaking our backs trying to dig up who knows how many inches of crushed gravel, we took all of the dirt and clumps of sod that we dug up to plant the hedglings and dumped it onto the drive.

Using a rake, we spread the dirt clumps out over the crushed gravel.

Once the dirt in the yard & drive was all smushified, it was time to break out the grass seed.

Ah! I love the smell of grass seed in the morning!

By borrowing our parents' lawn spreader (Thanks, Mom & Dad!), we were able to get those seeds spread out in no time!

After a few weeks of watering the yard...

And playing with Joseph in his own personal crazy awesome shady tent playground...

...we finally had a gravel free grassy yard!

So we started with this back in March:

And we now have this two months later: 

One big, grassy, green, unified backyard! Just waiting to be fenced in!







So, so, so much better!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We've made so much progress on the yard. Just you wait! We've got a lot to share with you!

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