So it’s been a few days since I have been able to write anything. The fall cold season and a bit of a rush at work interfered with my ability to blog. During that time, we had a serious rain; more intense than any thus far. Even Hurricane Sandy was more gentle. We had erosion from my neighbor’s yard on to mine, and on mine.
Now when we purchased this home, one of the things I was worried about was water. When water gets into homes, the fix is always expensive. So I looked at crappier versions of this map from the USGS. Let me just say that what they have done is AWESOME. I am considering re-titling this post just to show how great this map is. Did I mention I am a map junky?
Anyway, you can use the default topographic map to see any place you want, and I used it to make sure our home was not in a area that could be flooded. Granted, to be honest, our home is on a hill side over 100 ft above sea level, so there was no real concern. Still, that is only true of the home we purchased. We looked at many that were either in flood zones, storm surge zones, and general upper land flood zones. It was a factor in our decision.
Still being on a hill side does have negative side effects, namely the fact that the water will run down over our yard from our up hill neighbors.
Today I purchased about 800 pounds of stone from Home Depot. I know I can get more stone for less, from local stone dealers, but today was about a band-aid, not the proper fix. As you look towards the top of the image above, you can see how my neighbor does not mind that their yard is eroding on to my yard. I don’t mind, as it mostly flows off, and this is a rare event. Still, even normal storms do wash some of it. Since most of that run off ends up on my grass making my soil thicker, I am not complaining. That being said, I did want to stop the hill from washing away. That gravel in the center right of the image is what I applied on that spot and is about 200 pounds of stone.
It blows my mind how little the stone looks in your yard, but how big it looks in the car or on the rack in the store.
So if you choose not to rent their truck, or not to have a major delivery, then let me recommend that you pay attention to the following image.
You have to be sure and careful how you load the vehicle or you will be in for an expensive repair. My SUV has the warning right on the driver side panel. My previous SUV did not. For that one, when I did similar work, like building my son’s sand box see below, I had to read the manual. Ironically, I did not notice this was here, so I read the manual for this SUV only to find out that the information I needed was on the door. Go figure.
In case you are wondering, that sand box is 7 feet by 8 feet and 12 inches high. I cut out, and replanted the grass over rough spots in other areas of my yard. I then leveled the ground with dirt and some sand and then put cheap concrete bricks as the base platform. We have lots of little furry things that I did not want to burrow into the sandbox. Then I glued ground cloth into the inside of the 4 sided wood box as the bottom to allow water to escape, and keep the sand in. That worked perfectly, and no sand has escaped. The extra wood bar is a seat and is removable. It also helps keep water from pooling too much on the tarp which is secured by hooks. Not bad after 2 years. The tarp is starting to develop holes, and will be replaced after the winter.
Back to the storm repair, the more serious spot that I am concerned about is where I dump grass clippings. I intentionally don’t mulch some cuts I make to the grass to use for erosion control. Never has the grass washed away in over 6 years. It did during this storm.
The tamper was a tool I purchased for the sandbox, and have used it for yard repairs since. I used it to slam the stone into the still soggy ground.
Gophers suck. let me just say. I am glad it seems the fox that moved into the area this past spring seems to have scared off the local gophers. They haven’t dug a hole since the fox moved in. I only saw the gopher, once, today after writing this post since April. I used to see it every few days. I have spent more time than I would like filling in gopher holes, and tamping the new ground flat. Thank you for solving my problem!
As you can see most of the grass clippings were washed away in the center area. One clump survived the storms. If you look, you can see multi year grass and leaf litter that itself is actually on top of large stones. My concern is the edge of the soil which has continued to wash away until I started piling up the grass and leaves. Heretofore, they did a great job protecting the edge of the soil. Well, today, that has some stone to back it up. I’m not sure how well you can see the steepness of the spot, but that is double slant going down from the bottom of the picture to the top, and also down from left to right. Hopefully those stones don’t move too much. My next step will be to purchase some edge plastic that I could bang into the ground and then back that up with heavier stone.
Of course there were other spots where the water did a number. This spot has never had this happen. It was a very intense storm, not windy, just like 1-2 inches of rain in like 30 minutes or so with a another 2-3 inches in the hours before and after that intense period. Fortunately, this spot only needed some raking, and since I have it, I also used that monster leaf blower.
Now all tidy, my yard work was done. A few hours of work, including the trip to Home Depot, and all of it with my son with me “helping”. He’s still 4, and wants to contribute. I want to encourage that. Of course, I still need to get that brush cutter out to clear out this summer’s growth of invasive bushes which most, but not all, of what you see is.
The big thing here that is relevant for this crowd is cost. I can estimate that I would have spent easily another $100 to $200 to hire someone in my area to do that little bit of work. I am going by the rates the local landscaping companies charge in my area. Granted, the total cost would have been more as they would have done the whole job; I plan to buy a few tons of stone later this year or early next year to go from the band-aid to the full solution. All total, I spent about $50 for the stone, and well, I had the tools. Even gas to Home Depot was only a about $1 since round trip was only about 5 miles and my SUV got about 22 MPG for the trip. I should add that I drove mostly highway, and at highway speeds. The full load of stone lowered my mileage as you might expect, particularly at lower speeds and being as careful as I was with all that weight in the cargo area.