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Prepare Site - Excavation To level

Star A photo record of the excavation process.

Excavate the site to level

In my case there was a huge amount of excavating to do.  I needed to take a hillside with a 1 in 7 slope and cut it flat over the whole house site and a bit beyond.  It needed a heavy duty excavator - a 120, which is the biggest you can move on public roads without needing the large cost of an exceptional convoy.

The excavator has wide tracks so you need a nice wide access road to the site.

Access road for excavator 

Clearly mark on the ground with spray paint the area that you want dug.  The clearer you make things the less time and money will be wasted.

Excavation spray paint line 

Excavation Day 1

Excavator arriving

Excavator starting

The first big job is to dig out the tree stumps.

Felling trees by cutting the trunk with a chain saw is easy (although great care is necessary to avoid injury).  The hard part is getting the roots out from the ground, and it is necessary to get the roots out from under the house area.  There are various strategies for getting the roots out, but most methods involve using heavy machinery ie an excavator.  If the tree is not too big then you may be able to topple it over (roots and all) by pushing on the trunk with the digger.  If that doesn't work then cut the trunk near ground level and dig around the roots with the digger until the stump is free enough to be lifted out by the excavator.

Tree uprooting 

Excavator tree stump digging

And move the stumps out of the way.

Excavator tree stump moving

Excavator tree stump moving

Starting the slope down.

Excavator starting slope down

The earth dug is formed into a mound that is gradually moved backwards.

Excavator making mound

While the excavator is doing its thing, you need to scavenge rocks and cart them off to a rock pile for saving.  Rocks are a really useful resource so definitely worth saving even though it's a lot of work.

Excavator getting rocks

Excavator on mound dropping soil

Excavator digging slope

Excavator on mound getting rocks

Excavator dropping soil

Excavator carrying rock

Excavator digging in slope

Excavator slope half done

Excavator extending slope

Excavator mound extending

Excavator more of slope

Excavator mound getting bigger

Excatator moving mound

Excatator digging bottom of slope

Excatator moving mound more

Excatator digging around

Excatator toku in hole

The following two photos are after one day's digging.

Excatator end of day 1 

Excatator mound after day 1 


Excavation Day 2

Excavator big maple starting 

Excavator big maple uprooting 

Excavator big maple carrying 

Excavator on mound dumping 

Excavator Toku 

Excavator on mound Toku 

Excavator Toku loose 

Excavator 360 degree laser 

Excavator western path in 

Excavator Toku digging 

Excavator end of day 2 


Excavation Day 3

Excavator on mound showing pipes 

Excavator scraping 

Excavator resting showing pipes 

Excavator end of day 3 

Excavator end of day 3 

Excavator end of day 3 

Excavator end of day 3 


Excavation Day 4

Excavation bucket close 

Excavation ring of cut 

Excavation cut from hole 

Excavation on mound 

Excavator end of day 4 

Excavation cut wall soil layers 

Excavator end of day 4 from mound 


Excavation Day 5

Excavator digging under conduit 

Excavator digging level 

Excavator digging mound 

Excavation view down from mound 

Excavation view east from mound 

Excavator side view 

Excavation end of day 5 


Excavation Day 6

Excavator uncovered rock 

Excavator digging south east 

Excavator moving rock 

Excavator moving rock 

Excavator moving rock 

Excavator moving rock 

Excavator danger sign 

Excavator end of day 6 


Excavation Day 7/8

The last day is mainly about getting the ground level by using a laser.

Excavator start of last day

Excavator on mount

Excavator south edge

Here is the site all nicely leveled...

Excavation finished