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Backyard Construction | XL Home Improvement Blog

Precautions to Consider Before Digging up Your Backyard

Posted on 27. Aug, 2013 by in Construction, Home Improvement

Digging up a backyard is something that a lot of homeowners do on an annual basis. You might be trying to dig a line to run plumbing or you might just want to dig an area for a gorgeous fish pond. Regardless of the motive behind your project, without taking the proper precautions it can be dangerous to dig up your backyard. There are a number of things that you need to be wary of before renting a backhoe and starting your project. So, before making any heavy equipment rental plans, take these precautionary tips into consideration.

One thing you need to be concerned about when digging in your backyard are plumbing pipes. Most homes have pipes running underneath the ground which feed water from the main into your home. In general, plumbing pipelines are anywhere from two to four feet underneath the ground. Hitting these pipes can have disastrous consequences — you will be left with a watery backyard and repairing the pipe could leave you temporarily without water.

Similar to plumbing pipes, you also need to be wary of your sewage line and your septic tank. Almost every home has a sewage line or a septic running through the ground. As a homeowner, you should already know where the septic tank is, but you may need to figure out where the actual sewage line is underground before taking a backhoe to the dirt.

Besides plumbing and sewer lines, your cable line likely runs underneath the ground and into your home. Most cable companies are running their wiring underneath the ground because it is more protected from the elements than if it were running above ground from poles. The one problem with cable lines is that they are often very shallow into the ground, possibly buried a foot below the surface, which represents a possible digging problem. You can normally trace the cable line by seeing where it is coming out from the house to the street.

Like your cable line, changes with how electricity is delivered into a house have occurred over the past few decades. It’s best to discuss with your local electric company and check to see where the electric lines are running through your property. Not only is it a huge safety hazard, but damaging electric lines means you will be out of power until the utility company can repair the damage. Without power, your project and construction equipment – not to mention your home — will be at a standstill until repairs are complete. In general, it is a good idea to see what types of wires, pipes and lines are running underneath the ground before doing any type of major backyard work.

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