Best Way to Excavate Dirt for Patio (Guide)

Excavating dirt for the patio is a big job, though it can be achieved with determination and arm strength with the right tools and procedure. Within the post, we will guide you on how to achieve digging for the patio effortlessly.

Excavation may entail digging on loosened soil or digging down to undisturbed soil. Patio projects require digging and earthwork; thus, if the digging work exceeds your abilities, you may consider hiring willing laborers or contractors.

Some instances require you to cut through sod with a lawn edger or spade to remove soil. Rent excavation tools such as a power sod cutter when eliminating many sods for patio construction. Achieving success in patio projects is all about excavation; thus, the right tools impact the progression of the process.

Installation of a patio needs you to haul the earth and grade the surface. This dirt exaction procedure uses a skid loader and an excavator for a smooth surface. Ideally, it’s imperative to excavate your site to a depth that will accommodate all the materials required.

Let’s have a look at the best way to excavate dirt for patio!

Excavating Tools Required for Dirt-digging

Whether you plan to pour a slab or use an outdoor paver within your patio, the right tools make you or break you. Common tools used in the excavation process include;

  • Garden tiller
  • Power auger
  • Tape measure
  • Spade/ shovel
  • Level
  • Marking paint
  • Sand
  • Round-nose shovel
  • Stakes
  • Small sledgehammer
  • Mason’s line
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hand Tamper

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Best Way to Excavate Dirt for Patio

1. Laying Out a Curve

Areas where your patio calls for a curve lay a charged garden hose to mark the curve. Pour sand or marking paint over the hose. Then, remove the hose to have an easy-to-follow curved line.

Mark Corners

Mark outside corners by dropping a plumb bob from the intersections of lines and drive 2-foot stakes. Then remove the mason’s strings.

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2. Patio Line on the House

Patio spaces abutting the house require you to blend a chalk line under the door at the height of the patio surface.

Integrate the patio line about 1 to 3 inches below the threshold to prevent rain and snow in the house. The patio line portrays the finished surface of the patio.

Dig Trench

Excavating for the patio requires the line levels to be in line with the house’s patio line. Use the patio line on the house to set the excavation depth for the entire patio site.

Excavate a 1-foot wide trench outside the lines. The depth varies with your installation. Depending on the thickness of the finished surface, the excavated site should accommodate the concrete materials needed.

Measure Trench

Use a tape measure to measure the trench depth regularly. Ensure it remains consistent for a perfect reference point when excavating the interior of the site.

3. Excavate the Interior

Remove the lines and leave the stakes. Excavate the site interior by removing the soil. Dig to the depth of the perimeter trench. If you don’t own some of the necessary excavation tools, you can rent from reliable operators or hire contractors for excavation work.

Use a 4-foot level/ slope gauge to periodically check for required depth intervals. It is crucial to keep the entire excavation at a consistent depth. Thus, fill the dips with sand if you get to remove too much soil in some areas.

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Best Way to Excavate Dirt for Patio

Ways to Ease Excavation on Patio Site

  • Dig the final inch of soil from the excavation bottom and sides using a flat spade or square shovel.
  • Use a power sod cutter when removing a large amount of sod. The sod cutter tool carves sod into strips and slices it to separate from the soil, allowing you to roll it up and reuse it elsewhere.
  • Excavating a large patio site requires using a garden tiller to loosen the soil for easier digging. Make sure the soil is ready before you start digging. Wet soils will form clods that will be difficult to break.

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  • Digging several post holes for patio fencing requires the integration of a power auger. Power auger bore through the soil and small roots effortlessly. Hand auger or posthole digger are ideal tools for excavating a few holes.
  • Use a tamper whenever excavating. Also, you can use it to fill a deep area and tamp holes. Tamp sand and gravel base materials. Small concrete and stone patio surfaces should be tamped using a hand tamper, whereas a power tamper is suitable for large patio sites.
  • Use a track hoe to dig better footers within tight places and remove large rocks easily. They have buckers for transporting dirt.
  • Instead of using a shovel to even a significant patio ground, you are better off using a heavy tool like a skid steer. Skid steer quickly relocated the dug dirt to intended areas. Such heavy-duty machinery saves so much time and effort when excavating ground for the patio.

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Ways to Deal with Extra Excavated Dirt

1. Fill holes

Sinkholes emerging in a collapsing ground landscape can be quickly filled with extra dirt. Sinkholes develop when the surface soil becomes heavier than the bottom soil.

2. Build low spots in your lawn

Extra dirt is suitable in building low spots in garden areas; thus, improving your yard drainage. Dig up existing plants, add soil, then replant the plants once the site is leveled.

3. Elevate flowerbeds

Define your home’s landscape uniquely by using extra dirt to create raised flower beds. Several wheelbarrows worth of dirt is all you need to elevate your flowerbed.

4. Add around trees

Adding extra dirt around trees provides them with additional nutrients and boosts moisture retention. Soil placed around the base of the trees can be topped with mulch to stick to the ground.

The dirt offers firmness preventing the tree from blowing or washing away during bad weather.

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5. Create compost

If you have a compost bin in your yard, leftover dirt is a perfect ingredient for compost.

Mix the dirt with fruit and vegetable peelings to create nutrient-rich compost. You can use the compost to stimulate grass growth around the patio landscape.

6. Create berms

Berms comprise a mound of dirt, soil, and compost. Create a ridge in your landscape to conceal unwanted but necessary items.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Deep Should I Excavate for a Patio?

Patio depth doesn’t follow any absolute rule. Local soil conditions impact the depth of the patio site; for instance, clay bases require deeper digging to enhance drainage.

Depth guidelines and recommendations vary by use, for example, 8 to 12-inch depth for driveways and 4 to 6 inches depth for pedestrian walkways.

2. How Do You Dig the Soil for a Patio?

Using the right equipment, dig a depth of approximately 150mm across the site. Make sure the soil is evenly compacted.

Amalgamate the sun-base and rake it for smooth, flat, and firm, consistent depth of 100mm.

3. How Deep Do You Need to Dig for a Patio?

A New patio site needs at least 150mm depth for foundation mix and paving.

Finished patio laying directly next to the house needs to be at least 150mm below the damp proof course; thus, you need to dig a minimum of 300mm below the damp proof course.

4. What is the Most Commonly Used Hand Method of Excavation?

Excavation work is mainly done with a shovel. A hand trowel can also be used when dealing with fragile patio sites.

5. What To Do With Excavated Dirt?

There are numerous ways to use leftover dirt; for example, you can set it aside for use later. Cover the dirt so that it doesn’t wash away.

Alternatively, extra dirt can be used to build low spots in your garden.

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To achieve success in the excavation patio project, you have to integrate the right tools for the job.

With the right tool know-how, you can accomplish patio projects that you think are beyond your league.

Wrapping up, we hope the post about the best way to excavate dirt for patio has helped answer queries concerning dirt excavation on the patio.

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