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One of my first customers had a major drain issue necessitating the whole area be dug up to replace. These pictures don’t really show what’s going on but it’s better than nothing. There’s very well established roots from mature trees that are upturned and sticking out here and there. Is this possibly something that a guy with my resources could tackle?

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Let’s see how my actions might precede if I didn’t have you chaps to keep me from doing anything stupid or way above my pay grade.

First of course I’d blow out the leaves to see exactly what’s going on.
I would think to go in with a chainsaw, loppers and maybe a sawzall and remove the exposed roots and halfway upturned shrubs. After that perhaps rent a burly cultivator and break up the mounds and areas without roots to rake and redistribute the soil, maybe add quality fill dirt. I’m planning on renting a slice seeder for my terrible backyard when it starts raining regularly and something like seems like a dandy way to pay for it.

I don’t need this job and it would be getting past my cutoff for taking major jobs in the Carolina heat but I’d be willing to consider it for the experience. I don’t think heavy machinery is “necessary” but the important phrase is “I don’t think” lol. She’s a super nice old lady I could easily break it up into 4 hour shifts on Saturdays. This is a much a question if I could/should even consider this as what would a major landscaping contractor use and do? I wouldn’t even try to rent heavy equipment so no need to warn me about being stupid and getting hurt or sued.
 

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One of my first customers had a major drain issue necessitating the whole area be dug up to replace. These pictures don’t really show what’s going on but it’s better than nothing. There’s very well established roots from mature trees that are upturned and sticking out here and there. Is this possibly something that a guy with my resources could tackle?

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Let’s see how my actions might precede if I didn’t have you chaps to keep me from doing anything stupid or way above my pay grade.

First of course I’d blow out the leaves to see exactly what’s going on.
I would think to go in with a chainsaw, loppers and maybe a sawzall and remove the exposed roots and halfway upturned shrubs. After that perhaps rent a burly cultivator and break up the mounds and areas without roots to rake and redistribute the soil, maybe add quality fill dirt. I’m planning on renting a slice seeder for my terrible backyard when it starts raining regularly and something like seems like a dandy way to pay for it.

I don’t need this job and it would be getting past my cutoff for taking major jobs in the Carolina heat but I’d be willing to consider it for the experience. I don’t think heavy machinery is “necessary” but the important phrase is “I don’t think” lol. She’s a super nice old lady I could easily break it up into 4 hour shifts on Saturdays. This is a much a question if I could/should even consider this as what would a major landscaping contractor use and do? I wouldn’t even try to rent heavy equipment so no need to warn me about being stupid and getting hurt or sued.
Definitely clean up what appear to be magnolia leaves. The area in question looks to be shady enough as it is. You will want to loosen whatever soil you can once the area is cleaned up of leaves and debris, add healthy enhanced top soil (soil/compost blend), level the area with a soil leveling rake, and then either seed or install sod. If the area is as shady as it appears, you may want to go with a shade tolerant seed blend that contains a fast germinating seed. Once the area has been generously seeded, and the seed has been gently raked in, cover with either peat moss or clean straw. Depending on your geographic location, it may behoove you to tackle this at the beginning of fall, unless you choose to use sod.
P.S Be careful cutting roots. If any shrubs that have been uprooted are salvageable you may want to try to reposition the shrub and replant those roots with some amended soil and then give it a long but slow watering so that the shrub has a chance to reestablish itself.
I hope this info helps you out.
 

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While I was out doing a mulch job.
The property next door had a drain put in. From back of house to the road.
My mulch yard closed before I got done. Where I had to go back the next morning.
This guy done had it raked out seeded and ready for straw.
Around 10AM.
I'm like WTH.
He did it with a power rake. That he rented. Must not been to heavy.
That he was able to load and unload from back of his truck without help.
 

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If they buried a new line it will also settle over time. Usually they don’t put a lot of effort into backfilling the hole after running the new pipe. You can fix it up nice now, and once it get rained on for a while and settles you will see the area they trenched. It goes a long way in advising the customer on what they can expect and settling is a normal thing. Then they know it’s not your fault and can expect to “fix” the settles area again later.
 

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Think about the tree.
Maybe get customer to consult a look-see by a qualified tree company. They can advise as to which roots are safe to cut and which roots need to remain. Perhaps cover those with mulch or bark.
You do not want to be blamed if the tree falls over. You do not want to be blamed if the tree dies.
In general I agree--smooth it out with a rake and sow a top quality shade-type seed. A ground cover planting is also good if the shade is heavy, myrtle for instance.
Bark is good if the shade is heavy.
Perhaps add a decorative art object, bird bath or decorative electrified fountain.
 

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Think about the tree.
Maybe get customer to consult a look-see by a qualified tree company. They can advise as to which roots are safe to cut and which roots need to remain. Perhaps cover those with mulch or bark.
You do not want to be blamed if the tree falls over. You do not want to be blamed if the tree dies.
In general I agree--smooth it out with a rake and sow a top quality shade-type seed. A ground cover planting is also good if the shade is heavy, myrtle for instance.
Bark is good if the shade is heavy.
Perhaps add a decorative art object, bird bath or decorative electrified fountain.
It appears they ran a trencher right through the roots. The damage is already done.
 

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If they buried a new line it will also settle over time. Usually they don’t put a lot of effort into backfilling the hole after running the new pipe. You can fix it up nice now, and once it get rained on for a while and settles you will see the area they trenched. It goes a long way in advising the customer on what they can expect and settling is a normal thing. Then they know it’s not your fault and can expect to “fix” the settles area again later.
Yep, my buddy had a sewer line replaced at his son's house. The ditch was about 4-5' wide. It settled and sunk a few months later. We had to add more fill and level it out again.
 

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Most trades will do whatever and leave a mess or damage and just leave it. But because of our line of work it’s always expected that damage is fixed before your job is considered to be done. But I still see paver and walls, concrete etc jobs where they leave the yard a huge mess.
 

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I used to work on a crew installing landscape at new apartment complexes an retirement homes. All the trades would leave massive messes and guess who gets to clean it up? The last guy there, the landscaper. Lots of trash. No topsoil to use. Then once we completed our work the trades would walk through it trampling mulch and plants and leaving muddy holes in the sod.
Good times.
 

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If they buried a new line it will also settle over time. Usually they don’t put a lot of effort into backfilling the hole after running the new pipe. You can fix it up nice now, and once it get rained on for a while and settles you will see the area they trenched. It goes a long way in advising the customer on what they can expect and settling is a normal thing. Then they know it’s not your fault and can expect to “fix” the settles area again later.
Yes this is good advice. Depending how deep the line is, it might settle quite a bit. When I had to fix this same thing in my yard in late summer, everything didn’t look “back to normal” until the second round of seeding and leveling the following spring.
 
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