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Professional Homeowner
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Discussion Starter #1
This could end up being another years long project.
If anyone followed my last thread, we recently bought about 19 “suburban” acres, sold our suburban home, moved in to my parents’ basement, and built basically a duplicate of our previous home we just moved out of, complete with modern updates and incredibly stout infrastructure in construction.

Now begins the ‘install a lawn & landscaping’ part. I guess first step is to sketch the area. Existing plans plus, a measuring wheel I borrowed (stole) from dad, AutoCAD 2017 (with some knowhow on how to use it efficiently)... Check!

Now to figure out what I (my wife) wants to do. Need a low maintenance 2” stone border around the perimeter and under the deck, some shrubbery out front, underground sprinkling intelligently laid out, and no nonsense driveway border (she suggested railroad ties - OK!).

The UG sprinkling will be the fun part. I have ample 1” pipe (WELL over 1,000 feet, probably close to 1700’), so I’ll use that exclusively. I’ll put zones in the stone up be the house at the top of the hill so I won’t have to worry about smaller pipe to a single head at the top to get flow to it, and consider which areas get the most sunlight, and which areas will be most visible. I think I’ll use Rain Bird or cheap off brand like LEGO gear drive heads. I would have said Nelson, but I’ve had a lot of problems with them over the 20 years I’ve worked with them considering the per head price. I can buy $12 heads and they last just as long as the $30 Nelson heads. There’s definitely a quality difference though- I can tell the Nelsons use thicker and harder plastic when I hit them with the lawn mower. Just LISTEN to that quality as the blades grind them up!
 

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Professional Homeowner
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Discussion Starter #2
Today I played around a little bit with the rain gutter drains. I swear everything I’ve done around here just reeks of poor planning. I’m REALLY glad we paid to have the house built rather than do much of it ourselves. Oh yeah... and lack of experience. These drains are no exception. Maybe I got lucky a little bit with some of them, but I’m sure they could have been better.

The one on the north side was pretty straight forward, but I might have run it too far down the hill at too steep of a slope, so it drains pretty much at level ground. Actually so do the other ones. I ended up having to kind of excavate around the openings so maybe they won’t have standing water around them when it rains. What I did today probably won’t be permanent. If it works, though, I might excavate a lot more and drop in some stone. Water table is high, so there isn’t much point in going real deep.

The south side of the house has 2 rain gutters, the end of a drain tile from another gutter that will probably never see water, and the garage drain come together within about 15 feet. I don’t know if I should plumb them closer together. I put the excavated topsoil at the top of the hill, and will spread it out later. Maybe a small retaining wall around them? It can all be made right pretty easily, but i’m Not quite sure the best way to go about it. The first pictures are the north side. The last 3 are the south side.
 

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Professional Homeowner
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Discussion Starter #3
It rained last night so they got a good test. Looks the the north side drain will be pretty much perfect. The south side will need some grading and maybe some plumbing adjustments as mentioned, but the excavation actually looks pretty close. Might end up losing that pine tree, which I wanted to keep for a little privacy from the main road. I suppose I can just plant another one a little farther away.

The drain on the west (front) of the house I haven’t touched yet. I think that one will end up looking more like the north side drain. It’s a little higher up so there are more options of what to do with it. It’s also the largest volume of all the other drains because of the surface area of the roof. That one tends to have less standing water around it anyways, so it should be simple.
 

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Have you considered using PVC to tie all the drains together and dig dry well ? I remember when you were first posting about this move..wasn't that almost 2 years ago?...It does look like a really nice piece of property....good luck with the new home!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have considered tying them all together, yes. One thing that stops me from trying is wintertime. I'm afraid the outlet may freeze somehow and get encased in ice. If we then get a thaw, the ice *** could theoretically cause water to come up into the garage floor - in theory. Or the ice *** may prevent the garages from draining. I'd probably leave that one independent of the other two nearby. There's 50 feet of drain tile before the drains get to the opening, so I don't think I'll ever see water out of the end of it (it's a downspout from the back of the house. There wasn't enough fall to daylight a 4" pipe anywhere, really).

Please can you explain a dry well? I'm unfamiliar with that one.
 

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Parts collector
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The property looks awesome. Man but that ground looks like Florida dirt. How do you get sandy ground in MI? As Mark said I would tie them all together and create a cistern.
 

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Professional Homeowner
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks, fellas. The education is much appreciated.

Unfortunately the water level is much higher than that in the video. The concept I'm after I guess is pretty similar, though. I might go down deeper than anticipated and wrap the stone in landscape fabric with soil over top of it, though. I had planned on landscape fabric then a bunch of stone atop the fabric and that would be it. I think I'd rather have the soil over the op to hide everything I did for a more natural look.

There isn't a rock anywhere in the soil around here. Topsoil, then hard pan right under that, then clean beach sand (and water at our elevation and proximity to Lake Michigan). I have not a clue how far down we'd need to go to get to bed rock. The hard pan makes it easy to lay footings, and the sand makes it easier to dig as deep as you want. The high water is where things get, well, complicated. That's kind of where I'm at with this - battling high water.

I'll be putting in an irrigation well fairly soon. It'll be about where the drains come together on the South side. I bet I'll only need to go down about 2 feet to get water (about 18" below hard pan at the moment). Well will probably nobly need to be 10-12'. I can get about 5 or 6 feet of that with my small backhoe. Should be a piece of cake.

I put the drain lines in with a backhoe. They're a good 2-3' down minimum in probably 75% of the runs. The closest drain to the actual excavated basement (not garage) is easily 50' away, roughly level with the basement floor or ever so slightly above... Hard to tell without laser measurement. Whatever I do to cover the exits at this point will pretty much be cosmetic. The functionality is in the distance away from the house and elevation of the drains.

OK, so maybe there WAS a little bit of planning that went into this. I guess I really just didn't give too much consideration (beyond daylighting) as to HOW I would take care of the ends of the pipes. If I do nothing at this point, these things will probably continue to work forever as is. I hurredly buried them because winter was coming and I grew tired of having to haul the washed out sand and topsoil back to the top of the hill where it started out. They're buried deep enough that hopefully the pipes themselves will never freeze.
 

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Ted, place is looking great. You, and your family, should be proud of all your hard work, and how well it all came together. Main reason for wrapping, or placing fabric on topis to prevent the soil from migrating with the water into the stones and esentially, over time, plugging up the ability of carrying away the runoff. And on the plus side, like you say
I think I'd rather have the soil over the top to hide everything I did for a more natural look.
MikeC
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I didn’t do much with this project today, but I did cart about 20 loads of decent looking topsoil up to the front yard. Maybe about a 500 foot one way trip. I don’t know where the pile originated from, but the PO of the property put it there about 15-20 years back. I don’t know why. But it looks good so I relocated it. I’m used to hauling fill sand. This stuff is nice because it’s lighter and I can get a fuller bucket easier. That’s a 3/4 yard “heaped” 72” bucket. I’d bet there’s pretty close to 90% or more of a full yard in the typical load pictured.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There has been an unprecedented amount of rain over the last couple months. Neighbors are (mostly all) flooded, some worse than others. Still not a drop of water in our crock... yet.

Today I took a 1/2 day to help my parents next door. Their basement is pretty wet, but no more than 1/4” of water anywhere. However, their barn is under about 2” of water, surrounded by water on all 4 sides. We determined our efforts were futile, and let the sump pumps just do their thing. Floor will stay wet for a few days minimum.

So I turned my attention to our semi-flooded areas . I determined there was lower ground about 125’ away from the south gutters drain out, so I took the remainder of my 1/2 day and dug a trench to the lower land, using the water level (dammed off a little, of course) as a depth guide. When I removed the ***, the water in the “pond” dropped about a foot in 20 minutes before the levels equalized, and the “pond” level was down a few inches from this morning to begin with. Much better. I need to widen the trench now that I know it will work, go a couple inches deeper, and drop in a sock tile to keep the level down to a minimum. Next I need to consult with a couple folks to see about running further tile to a ditch another 150’ away. I don’t know if i’ll Need a permit for that or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Tonight I enlarged/deepened the trench enough to fully submerge 4” sock tile in the standing water within the trench. I thought i’d have to fight it to get a somewhat consistent grade, given my lack of experience, proper tools, lack of know how, and lack of backhoe skill. Come to find out, this drain tile basically floats! Submerge the exit end through the last 15’, get the head end about even with the top of the water, and keep the midpoint about half submerged. Kick a little dirt and hard pan chunks in here and there to submerge or slightly raise it to keep the grade consistent, and voila! Good to go! Standing water makes a remarkably accurate level gauge! I’ll bet it’s about +\-1”.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
That means some topsoil, grass, irrigation, stone, edging, plants, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.

We built this home last year and moved in about November 8, 2019. I really picked and chose what I did myself. I did A LOT of dirt hauling to the tune of several thousand yards, laid some flooring, did some painting, installed a REALLY nice central vac system, extended rain gutter downspouts daylighted to the tree line, etc. Over the last month or so I’ve been running electric and water here and there for livestock support and my own convenience. That was an adventure in itself. All of it is buried at least 3 feet and some runs through concrete walls, under sidewalk, and darn near under trees. All this needed to be done before we can start the lawn. Yeah, my buddy with his pipe puller/trencher could have done this in less time, but I need to justify owning a backhoe somehow, right? I’ll be more than happy to have him lay the sprinkler pipe, though. But I did make a 3pt trencher as a backup plan :)

So tonight I started the 2” irrigation well. I got a quote of $400 to go up to 20’ deep with a 2” PVC well point. For that much I decided to try it myself. Mistakes will be made. I might have already made one. I dug down about 6’ with aforementioned backhoe, which is about 12” below the current water table. Post hole digger got me no farther, because standing water. And danger of small footprint 6’ deep hole :/.
I balked at the cost and manual labor of driving what could be a failed a steel well point (but it probably wouldn’t be too bad given the depth I require and how far down I dug with backhoe). I’d have $275 or so into parts, plus what could be a long hard day to install it. Screw that! I’d rather pay to have it done! So I watched a couple YouTube videos on different ways to sink a well, and decided low pressure jetting is for me. I’ll sink a 4” temporary PVC casing, then remove it, drop the 2” PVC well point with plumbing, fill a couple feet with pea gravel, and hope it works. It was about $110 for everything including check valve and everything needed to get to the pump - and have some 4” & 2” PVC pipe left over for other cool projects. $400 quote was for the well only - just the 2” pipe sticking out of the ground. My bought’n parts will get me all the way to the pump, and be set up for easy winterization. I ran the electric for the pump out there a couple weeks ago. Probably should have done that after sinking the well. The wire and conduit were a bit in the way. Might also need to take out a couple more trees before getting too much farther due to their close proximity to this irrigation system.

Too dark for pictures of the lamb hole I dug at the moment, but I’ll try to detail the process more tomorrow as I go.
 

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Nice work!..I know that around here it is a good time for grass seed...but I think it gets a lot colder and a lot earlier where you are ...so..are you throwing the seed sown now?..in any event, looks like it is all coming together nicely...good luck with it
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Might have seed down by the end of next week. My buddy owns a landscaping company, and is cutting me a REALLY good deal (as in cost for materials and we'll work something out for the labor), and his guys are pretty good. He has all the right equipment (pipe puller, skid steers with al the attachments, etc). Maybe I'll I'll get to play with his Ventrac he picked up last year! He was picking out a couple spots that need elevations tweaked I'd never even really noticed. This guy can purt near perform surgery with an excavator, skidsteer, or a bulldozer, so I'm confident it'll look great.
 

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You must be getting pretty good with the backhoe by now, not to mention all the loader work. I'm sure you saved some big bucks doing a lot of it yourself.
 
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