excavating for a path

arnold4321April 3, 2010

I'm planning to install pavers and need to excavate for the base. The excavation will be 6" deep, 38" wide, 45' long. That seems like a lot of digging to do by hand, so I'm wondering what my options are for machines. The digging wouldn't be so bad if it was loose soil, but it's clay with a lot of rocks and occasionally a buried brick. The rocks are mostly small, but still would slow me down.

I'm wondering if there is a power tool that will help with the digging, or at least loosen up the ground so it's easy to dig with a shovel. Or should I think in terms of renting a bobcat (or comparable machine)? I'm seeing prices online at about $350/day including delivery. Is that typical? Is this something I can rent and use myself? I tend to be proficient with machinery, but haven't operated something like this before. Anything else I need to know?

Then again, for $350 (or less) I could probably hire a worker or two, but I really have no idea how long this dig should take. Maybe I'll time myself doing a few feet and then multiply it.

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A couple of quick thoughts: as you say that is a lot of digging and a lot of soil to dispose of so don't forget that part. You may want to check around for a guy with a bob cat or small excavator who will do the job in one hundredth of the time it will take you. What will the eventual width of your path be?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 1:00PM
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The path width would be 32". That's why I figure the base should be 40" wide.
What is a "small excavator"?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 1:33PM
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Unless you really love hard manual labour, and have a lot of spare time on your hands, hire someone, and save yourself the aggravation.

Check your phone book to find someone with equipment that narrow. By the measurements you've given, it probably will take them, at the most, an hour. Plus, they'll haul away the dirt and rocks. You'll be charged a minimum fee that will be well worth it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 5:31PM
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Dumb question but why are you going down 6 inches? Pavers are only couple of inches so you want path lower than yard, it will be sitting in water when it rains, won't it? Any reason you can't just be sure it is level, put weed cloth & pavers & edging & work sand in. Just asking? That's what I did & it has been a year now & no weeds have come up & I no longer get my shoes wet & can go to side yard without having to change my shoes. Mine is small patio about 7x10 ft. under an orange tree-tree is best it ever has been, lots of oranges & covered with more blossoms.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:30AM
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