Site Preparation

Excavation must not begin until the locations of underground wires, cables, and pipes have been marked, or until you have verification from utility companies that the area is clear.

Before any excavation, call 811 for DigSafe, your local utility locator. 

Caution: Even after DigSafe locates utilities, dig carfully. Any digging within 24 in. of utility locations must be done by hand.

Clearing the Site

Clear the site at least 20- to 25-ft. from the foundation. This involves more than cutting down the trees and pushing them into a pile with a bulldozer:

  • Cut up trees and haul them way
  • Chip the brush
  • Remove the stumps and haul them away

Saving Topsoil

Retain as much topsoil as possible to preserve the environmental quality of a site. Topsoil helps maintain vegetation that will preserve the soil and limit erosion (see Practical Erosion Controls, below). When topsoil will be preserved, till the soil first, and then remove to a safe location with a front-end loader. On wooded sites, however, saving topsoil is often more difficult than it’s worth because of the number of roots.

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