Susan Cryor
Susan Cryor
  • Hometalker
  • Lockport, NY
Asked on Aug 19, 2013

Gravel pit what to do?

Susan CryorDrought Smart PlantsGloria Duy
+33

Answered

We have an area, just off the patio that had 3 trees growing right next to the house. And it had old landscape cloth under the gravel. The worst thing is that it sloped towards the house, causing the sump pump to go on at every rain! And the dehumidifier is always running. So started to remove the gravel, using it over for some walkways. The digging is murder, HARD clay! The worst I have ever seen! The first thing we did was have the trees removed...trying to remove the clay and get it graded properly. A project started in September last year. Very large tree trunks. Husband suggested building it up, into a small hill and putting our dry well, complete with antique hand pump....any other ideas?
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
There is a stump behind that pile of wood
There is a stump behind that pile of wood
Here u go, all three stumps
Here u go, all three stumps
gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape
22 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 19, 2013

    If you build this area up, aren't you still going to have one side with a now far steeper slope heading directly toward your house? It sounds like a great place for a water feature, if you can get it dug out. If you can post a photo perhaps that will help with other suggestions.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 21, 2013

    Susan, having now seen the photos, I'm going to stand by original comment. You need to, at a minimum, get that area level. If you don't like the idea of a water feature (which I think would be great so close to your patio), you could do an herb parterre (see photo), or a path that divides to circle around a small ornamental tree (like a weeping redbed or cherry or a hydrangea trained as a standard).

    gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape, Example of an herb parterre via
    • Douglas Hunt
      on Aug 23, 2013

      @Susan Cryor The paths needn't be gravel. They could be mulch. If it's where you get the most sun it would be a great place for herbs. And, if the paths are a heat-absorbing material, you would be surprised how long that would extend your growing season.

  • Joanna Carrisal
    on Aug 21, 2013

    You need to remove the stump. If not, it will start to decay in a few years and you'll end up with a hole where it was. Get it out and bring in fill dirt and topsoil to level that area. Then you will have a good foundation for whatever you decide to put in that area.

  • Leona G
    on Aug 21, 2013

    While you are deciding what to do with the stump I saw a really neat fairy garden done using a stump. You could build a really nice fairy village that could add a nice focal point to the back yard. I also like Doug's idea for a fountain and if you wanted too you could incorporate a mini fountain in the fairy garden. Good luck

  • Patricia Miller-Darrow
    on Aug 21, 2013

    I had the same problem. My husband used landscaping timbers and built it up to level it off where it was needed. stepped it down where he could and made me large tiered planters. I didn't want water features close by the house where you have a potential mold problem. I have trees there so now I have beautiful shade gardens. It is now a favorite part of my house because it is a surprise! I added large rocks, and other personal items that I love that I placed there in the garden peeking out of the plants.

    • Susan Cryor
      on Aug 22, 2013

      @Patricia Miller-Darrow We removed 3 large trees there, they were big and shaded the house, limbs hanging over the roof, critters chewed away at the house, major damage. Previous owners addressed it with spray foam...big mistake.

  • Ann Alba
    on Aug 21, 2013

    I Love it I would use what is there, create pocket gardens, a Water feature would be Fabulous, If it were Me I would leave the stump & plant in between the roots with sedeum's Hens & Chicks ..

  • Glenna Kennedy
    on Aug 21, 2013

    I think I'd rent a backhoe and dig out the stump and remove the clay while you are at it. I see a basement window well there so building it up higher doesnt sound like a good idea unless you dig down several inches-1 foot below the height of that window-well and then terrace it off from there. A water feature sounds wonderful or even a dry creek bed would work. You could build the back up with stone.

    • Drought Smart Plants
      on Aug 25, 2013

      @Susan Cryor We had a tiny little track excavator that could fit in a gate that was 60" wide - with room to spare. Try and get someone who has been operating the hoe for a while - avoid a novice operator!

  • Jean DeSavage
    on Aug 22, 2013

    I noticed in the pictures there are steps that look like they're coming from the house. If you can get the area graded away from the house, you could put in a patio in this area, and maybe put a tree out away from the house. That way you could have shade on the patio. If you use blocks/pieces of slate or stone, you could put a low growing ground cover between them instead of using mortar between them.

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 22, 2013

    I love Irish moss...had it in Maine, I am posting additional photos

  • Glenna Kennedy
    on Aug 22, 2013

    The small ones can get in pretty tight spaces if you know how to use one. Just worried that if you build anything higher than those window wells you are going to have water in them.

  • Joanna Carrisal
    on Aug 23, 2013

    You have to remove them all. When the roots decay its going to be awful if you don't.

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 23, 2013

    ok, hubby just read comments, thank you all! We will look into a small back hoe, but do you know if it will effect the foundation ? Should the roots be cut that are growing towards the house? And do any of you know....in Lockport, NY a backhoe person?? You could recommend ??

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 23, 2013

    rocks would you consider that "heat absorbing" or black mulch?

    • Douglas Hunt
      on Aug 23, 2013

      @Susan Cryor Rocks would be better, but black mulch would to some extent. (The problem with these dyed mulches is that the color usually fades over the season, and this is going to be in your sunniest spot, which will speed that process.)

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 23, 2013

    guess what? I called the local Bob Cat dealer and asked if they knew of someone who did backhoe work. Got 2 names from them. Both are afraid to tackle tree stumps that close to the house...but one is going to come this weekend to look! The other said no. I am on it and the mulch will come later...read where mulch is beneficial to soil, if cloth is not used! And I am not worried about color. But read where the dye on the red actually robs soil of nitrogen! Oh, the things we learn from this site! Love it!

  • Gloria Duy
    on Aug 23, 2013

    I hired a man that advertized stump removal (maybe you could google that for your area). He had a machine that grinds the stump away and did no damage to the surrounding area. He charged $75 each for two stumps and they were large. I think that is better than digging with a back hoe. On a smaller stump I bought stuff at the hardware store that you pour on and it eats the stump away. That worked well too.

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 24, 2013

    well, everyone says "grind the stumps. But does it get down, and wide so we could perhaps get the roots exposed and cut them off? But landscaper did not come today :( Hoping tomorrow ! I guess that is something we really need to do...thank you!

  • Drought Smart Plants
    on Aug 25, 2013

    I can't wait to see how this turns out @Susan - I'm actually jealous of your challenge - whatever you decide to do with this area has to be better than what is there now, for sure! I too envision hens and chicks...

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 25, 2013

    I brought some from house in Maine, they are doing well out front on the stone wall! Challenges are not as easy as they were when I was younger! Will post photo when it is done!

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 25, 2013

    there is a photo, below of a dry creek bed....I would love it! Birds too! Been dry here, put on the lawn sprinkler and had flocks of birds, they were even bathing in low spots on the lawn! Fun to see!

  • Susan Cryor
    on Aug 26, 2013

    Drought Smart Plants....I finally got them edited! All right side up!

  • Susan Cryor
    on Sep 17, 2014

    GRAVE PIT Update!! Check out these changes!

    gravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape, The gravel pit is finally making transformationgravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape, So pleased so fargravel pit what to do, gardening, landscape, And check out the happy elephant ears
  • Susan Cryor
    on Sep 18, 2014

    Thanks Doug....just not savvy enough to make a new post from the old. SO GLAD this 2 year project is done. Thanks again !

    • Douglas Hunt
      on Sep 18, 2014

      @Susan Cryor You can't make a new post from the old, but you can make a new post and create a link to the old post.

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