How to Excavate a Patio Site

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Once you have planned out where you would like your patio to be, the next step is to begin work on the site. The first thing that must be done is the excavation of the patio site so that the building of the patio can go as easy and as smoothly as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or backhoe
  • Decide how you would like the level of your patio. It is personal preference whether you would like it ground level, a few inches up or high enough that steps may be required. You must decide on how high you want it, as this will affect how deeply you will have to excavate.

  • Clear the ground that you will be excavating. Remove any objects that will interfere with your digging.

  • Mark off the specific area you will be working on. These measurements should reflect the size you want your finished patio to be. Measuring off the area is best done with stakes and some kind of string or ribbon that can connect the stakes without creating a solid barrier.

  • Begin excavation. This involves the process of digging out the dirt in the selected area and the depth of the hole you must excavate will vary, depending on the height you wish for your patio. The average depth you will need is around seven inches below ground level.

  • Reinforce your excavation hole after it is completed, if necessary. Depending on how soon you will be working on the patio foundation after the excavation will dictate if you need to reinforce the hole. Also, wet soil will move easier than dry soil will.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to excavate when soil is dry to avoid too much mess when digging out. Mud is harder to handle and won't yield results like dirt will.
  • If heavy machinery is being used, the person using it should be certified and approved to operate that machinery. Improper operation may lead to injuries.

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