The excavation started 2 weeks ago when I fixed the drainage problem in the back yard (see Part 1/5). Similar to the back yard, I used the water hose to draft the shape that I wanted and then spray painted on the grass (special paint for marking). Then, I kept digging until the Rhino bag was half full. Finally, I dug a 2 feet hole for the Japanese Maple tree.
To save some money, I reused the sod I excavated to create a small hill on the right hand side, so that I could buy minimal top soil to fill the area. At the end, I only used around 10-12 bags of top soil for the new grading. The bamboo edging we bought from a local nurseries looks pretty decent, but they cost like $17 CAD for 3 feet. It’s very expensive.
The challenge – How to move large object?
The most challenging part was to move the huge Chocolate Armour Stone without machines. That particular stone weights around 900 – 1000 lbs and I wasn’t able to flip it easily by bare hands like the other stones.
I love challenges, and I do believe that if Egyptian could move 900 tons stones 2000 B.C. for the pyramid without machines. Me, one person should be able to solve this challenge by using basic Physics: Lever and Friction.
First, I used 2×4 as lever, slowly pried it up and put some flat wood underneath, this acted as the base (since you don’t want the stone to sink into the grass). Then, I looked for the shape on the stone which wasn’t totally flat, that’s the point you can make the stone turn – the less contact to the ground meaning there is less friction. In some cases, you can actually flip the stone if it’s going down hill. Well, it took me a while to get it out of the crate and landed on the flower bed which was less than 15 feet. I could have called some big guys for help, but I need to prove that it’s doable by one person, I always believe that there are always multiple ways to get from point A to point B.
(All Photos were taken using iPhone)
On the last day of my vacation, I worked on both back yard and this front yard project for 14 hours non-stop since 7 AM, under the 32c heat wave. I was so exhausted but managed to clean up all the river stones, big rocks and put them in the right place. There were some left over river stones, so I paved the side yard too. Finally, I covered the whole front area with the “color enhanced” black color pine barks. It started getting into shape.
We then bought a “Emperor I” Japanese Maple Tree for around $118 (tax included) at Sheridan Nurseries where they had 30% off on selected Japanese Maple. Honestly speaking, “Red Dragon” is nicer but it costs over $400 for the same size, so forget about it.
To Do List (Update in the few months/years):
- Plant some green plants and some ground cover
- Plant some flowers
To read all parts of this DIY landscaping project: