If I had to guess, the first time the Middletown neighbors wondered WTF I was doing was when I began tearing up the sod along the west side of the house.
The property is midway down a steep hill and, over time soil had built up against the foundation. For years, I’d wanted to correct the slope in order to discourage the flow of water into the basement. My original idea was to dig down a few feet, flatten the area against the house, and build a stone wall back up to the level of the sidewalk. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to hire a drainage consultant. He recommended the much simpler approach of lowering the soil level against the foundation to 6 inches below the siding, maintaining a flat area of 6-8 inches, then creating a berm between the newly flattened area and the sidewalk.
Thankfully, my nephew, Mario, agreed to help dig the trench – which spanned of 80 feet. Without him, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the hard-packed clay and tree roots. As it was, I spent an inordinate amount of time yelling at my tools while Mario laughed at me and just kept digging.
Meanwhile, I had ordered 4 yards of 3/4 inch trap rock, 2 yards of 3/4 inch “CT blend” gravel, and 5 yards of loam. This is about when my sister Liza started wondering about my sanity. She asked whether these piles made me feel overwhelmed. “No,” I explained (no doubt with a wild look in my eyes), “They make me excited.”
Though not a lover of yard work, Liza did have an appetite for shoveling gravel. Between the two of us, we made countless trips with a wheelbarrow and managed to fill the damn trench with traprock, topped by gravel. We put a pretty good dent in those piles!
What’s going on with that area of brown grass? Stay tuned, I’ll tell you all about it in a future post.