How to flatten my yard – hire a landscaper

Is your lawn full of weeds, lumpy and on a slope?  Mine was and I needed to flatten my yard and add proper drainage so that when it rained outside, the water wouldn’t also end up in our basement (yuck).

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job description for landscaperbefore picture of the backyard

I have a friend who is known for saying “How hard can it be?”   His sweet wife replies with a knowing smile and has insisted it will go on his tombstone, “Harder than you think, dear”.

Do you have a handy man or are you the one who insists that you can do it all yourself?

The yard had mounds where a pool had been which left me feeling like my backyard was more of a mogul course for a remote race car track.  The sidewalk was cracked leading to the driveway.  There were patches of dead grass and huge grooves in the grass because of the dumpster.  It was a mess.  I needed to flatten my yard.

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We had the skills to dig a ditch and as I’ve written in the past, my left brain husband has the ability and patience to make anything smooth and straight which is what we desperately needed.

However: I just couldn’t take on this project.

I knew that his perfection would take much longer than my patience could handle.  Thankfully, we agreed and did a very smart thing when it comes to doing a huge renovation project.  We hired someone!

The day the Bobcat arrived was a very happy day!

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Our first interview with the company that we selected was in July.  We knew that we needed to wait until after the dumpster was gone to start to flatten my yard so we planned for sometime in September.  The weather played a huge part in delaying the job.  October 15 was the last day that they would do a project like this because in our area, that is the last day they could plant grass seed.

I asked about bringing in sod in case we missed the window for seed and found out it is 4 to 5 times the cost that we estimated.  Seeding was fine for me!

My boys were delighted to see two huge trucks deliver a bull dozer and other really cool pieces of equipment that we had front row seats to watch all day.  This family loves tools!

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My boys sat in the safe zone, the trampoline, for hours as the crew tediously scraped and pounded and pulled dirt and grass from one part of the yard to another in an effort to flatten my yard.  When the big digger was done they brought in this lawn mower looking machine but it had some funky attachments that did different jobs.  The boys tried to guess what each attachment did.

During the lunch break, the crew allowed the kids to sit on the equipment and check out the controls up close.  It made their day.

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Our crew arrived at 8:00 a.m.   They dug ditches.  They leveled the dirt with rakes.  They put pipes in to lead the water away from the house.  They removed that ugly cracked sidewalk.  When all of that was complete, they went over the dirt one last time to remove all traces of grass or stones.

backyard landscape 5By 6:00 p.m. that night, our crew had completed their job.  One day folks!  They did the job that would have taken my hubby at least a month or longer in 10 hours from start to finish including 5 trips to get gravel and a yard full of grass seed buried under straw.

backyard landscape 6When we totaled all the costs of doing it ourselves versus hiring a landscaping company, the final prices were not that significantly different.

And I have to say this again……it was done in a day.

We won’t subcontract all of our renovation projects but for this particular job, it was worth every penny!

Hopefully we helped to convince you that sometimes “finding the right tool for the job” means “hiring a professional!”

Six weeks later we are happy to report that the grass has grown in and we have a path ready to install pavers before it snows.  We are saving the patio in the yard for a spring project.  Please sign up below or join our social media pages to get updates on all our projects.

backyard landscape 7When I decided to flatten my yard I did not realize everything that was involved.  Here are things that may come in handy if you ever take on a backyard project like this.

  1.  You have to plan in advance for this type of project.
  2. Keep in contact with the landscaper to get an estimate on the start date.  They are juggling other jobs and the weather.  Be proactive but not a pest.
  3. If you don’t get a written estimate, write down what you talked about and agreed on before the project begins and have all parties sign it.
  4. Know exactly what you want and where the boundaries of your property are.
  5. Check to see if you need a permit to do any type of work.
  6. Have the kids ready to watch the action because when the crew arrives the fun begins.








3 Responses

  1. We hired a landscaper too – hill behind the house is finished. (massive hill done in 3 days) Love it! Now he just has to do the front of the house. Totally agree, sometimes you need a professional!

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