Smith Excavating recently had the opportunity to work with a landowner in the southern region of Davie County to create the perfect hilltop home site on 37 acres of land just a stone throw from the Yadkin River. The elevation of the property provides a view looking east of the Yadkin River in the distance, beyond a section of low-lying farmland. The Yadkin River is large enough to have an impact on the weather.
Cloud formations can often be seen forming above the river during warm late afternoons as water evaporates above the river. With the sun setting behind the property, these cloud formations often reflect the colors of the sunset, becoming part of the ever-changing “landscape” visible from this majestic hillside location near the river.
Planning and Creating “The View”
Carving the perfect hilltop home site and view out of an area of uncut rolling wilderness requires planning that takes many factors into account. A few of these are the topography or lay of the land, adjacent property use and features, the location and path of the sun during different times of year between sunrise and sunset, even the path of the driveway into the property.
Excavators, Bulldozer and Skid Steers – Preparing the Land
For this project, the timber had already been sold and cleared before the land was purchased by the current landowner.While the timber had been removed, the land was chock full of stumps, roots, and other debris. We began by clearing this debris and low lying vegetation that was not removed by the timber company.
Once the debris and vegetation had been cleared, excavators, bulldozers and skid steers were used to “grub” the surface of the property. Grubbing refers to the process of removing stumps, roots, and other ground level debris.
Once the land had been “grubbed”, the next step was to bring in a disc-harrow to break up the compacted soil surface. Once “grubbed and harrowed” the land is ready for seeding and planting.
Creating the Drive with “Crusher Run”
The final step of the process was the creation of a drive that would provide access to the site for construction and landscaping crews and that would eventually be finished with blacktop or concrete and used as a driveway by the home owner.
The driveway into the property was originally cleared, then packed and compressed using excavators, bulldozers and skid-steers. Final preparation began by creating a stable surface using crusher-run or ABC stone. This is rock crushed and graded by screens and then mixed to a blend of stones and fines. The crushed stones feature jagged and irregular edges, which enables the aggregate pieces to better bind together, and stone dust particles work to fill any voids.
Once the crush and run has been spread, we use heavy machinery to compact it so that it adheres together and becomes a semi-solid unit that will not shift or move. Crusher run is widely used as a sub-surface or based for roads and driveways.
The creation of the driveway into this property presented the challenge of erosion control along the sloping drive. We used “wads” as the primary tool for erosion control on this project. These wads, placed in the compacted earth along the sides of the crusher-run driveway, help minimize soil erosion along the driveway by catching and retaining the soil run-off. These wads are left in place until grasses and other planned ground cover matures.
Creating Value to Last for Generations
What was once an untamed wilderness has been transformed. The aesthetic visual improvements made to this land have increased the value of this property and adjoining properties while creating a hill top home site that will be enjoyed for generations.