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Dirt works is a term used to describe the manipulation of soils to achieve desired outcomes, such as improved plant growth, better drainage, or increased fertility. In this guide, you’ll learn important concepts and strategies that you can use to get the most out of your dirt work projects.

Understand soil composition.

Soil composition is important to consider when planning your dirt work project. Knowing the different components of soil, such as sand, silt, and clay, and how they interact with one another will help you understand the structure of the soil and how it can be manipulated. Additionally, understanding which plants need certain soil types will help you choose the best soil composition for successful results.

  • Sandy soils have larger particles that don’t clump together well, making them drain quickly and warm up quickly.
  • On the other hand, clay soils are composed of smaller particles that tend to bind together and form a dense structure that holds moisture, nutrients, and plant roots.
  • Silt soil mixture falls between sand and clay, providing an excellent balance in draining capability with some ability to hold onto moisture.

It’s important to keep in mind that while there are positives to having different types of soil in your dirt work project, it’s also possible for certain combinations of soil components to cause problems if not used properly.

Create the foundation for manipulation with proper grading and subgrade preparation.

To ensure a strong and successful ground manipulation project, it is essential to grade and prepares the subgrade adequately. This process involves removing and replacing soils as needed.

  • If you are working with a steep slope, you will have to create terracing by cutting into the side of the hill and creating step-like areas as benches.
  • In some cases, excavation might be necessary to level out an area, adjust grades or achieve drainage requirements.

Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may need to bring in heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes.

Use surface drainage strategies to improve surface compaction and soil stability.

Surface drainage can help minimize soil erosion, improve surface compaction, and increase plant establishment success. It is essential to create surface drainage systems that will move water away from the project site while avoiding flooding of roads or other areas nearby.

  • This can be done by adding rills, furrows, berms, or swales to control drainage patterns.
  • These features are created by grading into and around the area of concern over level ground.
  • The mixture of dirt and gravel removed during excavation can also be used as a fill material to shape curves into the landscape and increase soil stability by trapping water on-site.

The primary purpose of surface drainage strategies is to help water flow from the project area without flooding nearby buildings or roads. Installing rills, furrows, berms, and swales across a property can direct runoff toward desired areas. Depending on the site’s topography and soil type, utilizing different combinations of these features can effectively move water offsite while improving soil stability by trapping sediment and organic matter.

Shallow-rooted plants are more likely to be successful if they have access to adequate drainage, which helps keep their roots dry and oxygenated. Work with our professionals at Shepherd Earthworks. We offer the services you need in dirt works or civil engineering to determine best practices before beginning construction.

Conduct erosion control measures to reduce runoff and sedimentation on your site.

To help prevent soil erosion and runoff, it’s essential to incorporate practices encouraging vegetation growth in the disturbed area.

  • These measures can include sloping the surface of the disturbed area away from buildings or roads and planting grasses and other native vegetation species.
  • It can also include applying mulch to exposed soils and establishing berms or swales to help direct runoff away from contaminated areas.
  • Sediment control systems that trap sediment-laden runoff should be set up around the edge of your work site. It helps prevent sediment particles from entering waterways and causing environmental damage.

By incorporating erosion control measures into your dirt works project, you’ll be able to ensure that environmental regulations are met while improving the appearance and quality of your work site.

Leverage deep digging techniques for large-scale soil manipulation projects.

Deep digging is a soil manipulation technique used for large-scale projects such as creating wetland areas, soil relocation works, and preparing building sites. Deep Digging is an incredibly versatile option for irrigation systems and bridge building.

  • It involves using heavy machinery like loaders and excavators to scoop up large amounts of soil.
  • Today, we can achieve large-scale results in much shorter time frames than other soil manipulation options.
  • The equipment can then be manipulated with machines like dozers and compaction equipment.
  • When conducting soil manipulation works, project managers consider land gradients, vegetation, existing utilities, and neighboring buildings.

This method of manipulating the soil is efficient and cost-effective, making it the go-to choice for larger-scale multi-stage jobs. In addition, back-filling techniques are used once materials have been extracted from a site, thus restoring the land to its pre-excavation condition.

I’m Ready, Now What? 

Now you call an excavation company you trust. Shepherd Earthworks offers the civil construction and excavation support services you need. We have the right tool for every earthworks job, including helping you create the dirt works projects you need. Contact Shepherd Earthworks today to get started. 

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