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View Full Version : What's the easiest way to level a large section of ground


jfall
07-10-2006, 10:28 PM
Say if I wanted to level an 18x18' square piece of land in order to place an above ground pool on, what would be the easiest way to go about it?

LikeLinus
07-10-2006, 10:29 PM
www.cat.com

MoPHo
07-10-2006, 10:30 PM
use that tool from sim city...only cost like 50 bucks a yard.

thirtythree
07-10-2006, 10:31 PM
Originally posted by: MoPHo
use that tool from sim city...only cost like 50 bucks a yard.:laugh:

funboy6942
07-10-2006, 10:32 PM
I dont know what they are called but the have a engine on them and a very heavy like metal sled. It will vibrate the piss out of you. Make you hole and you use that machine to pound the ground till it is level using just a leveler.

So you dig you hole or spot and go to town with that thing. We used it on the rail road when installing new gate houses fo rthe had to be perfectly level and of course I was the one to man handle the beast. If you a small person your in for alot of fun :D

DainBramaged
07-10-2006, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by: MoPHo
use that tool from sim city...only cost like 50 bucks a yard.

FTW

jfall
07-10-2006, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by: funboy42
I dont know what they are called but the have a engine on them and a very heavy like metal sled. It will vibrate the piss out of you. Make you hole and you use that machine to pound the ground till it is level using just a leveler.

So you dig you hole or spot and go to town with that thing. We used it on the rail road when installing new gate houses fo rthe had to be perfectly level and of course I was the one to man handle the beast. If you a small person your in for alot of fun :D

The only problem with that is that it's 18' and I don't have a level that big. So one part might be level but the other may not be. I want to know how I can tell if the whole thing is level, not just one part of it.

Maybe if I put a board across the whole thing then level the board?

imported_Greenman
07-10-2006, 10:34 PM
Pick and shovel, or if you're lazy a bobcat will do the job just fine. Don't take the soil of the high part and put it in the low part, it will settle over the next year or two and your pool will fail. If yout wondering how to make sure it's level, a laser is the easy way. If you don't have a laser, get twenty feet of clear tube and fill it with water, leave a couple feet of air at the end. Then just hang the ends on stakes and measure down from the water. DON'T cap either end of the tube.

Edit: You can also buy a water level at homedepot for twenty bucks. They come with 50 feet of hose.
Here is one.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pd_...=tools&keywords=zircon%20water%20level (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pd_sl_aw_tops-1_tools_14196995_2/103-1211115-9594249?search-alias=tools&keywords=zircon%20water%20level)

skyking
07-10-2006, 10:35 PM
do you need to raise or lower the grade to a specific elevation, or just get it all level?
If it is close, a couple of yards of sand make the best grading agent. If you don't have easy access to a grade laser or water level, a 10' 2x4 or 2x6 that appears straight will do as the grade checker.

Drive a wooden stake in the middle of the area down till the top of it is the grade you desire, set the end of the board on it with a carpenter's level on top. Adjust the other end and all along it with sand to make the bubble perfectly level. Rotate around that stake and repeat.

funboy6942
07-10-2006, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by: jfall

Originally posted by: funboy42
I dont know what they are called but the have a engine on them and a very heavy like metal sled. It will vibrate the piss out of you. Make you hole and you use that machine to pound the ground till it is level using just a leveler.

So you dig you hole or spot and go to town with that thing. We used it on the rail road when installing new gate houses fo rthe had to be perfectly level and of course I was the one to man handle the beast. If you a small person your in for alot of fun :D

The only problem with that is that it's 18' and I don't have a level that big. So one part might be level but the other may not be. I want to know how I can tell if the whole thing is level, not just one part of it.

Maybe if I put a board across the whole thing then level the board?

Just do it by sections and buy a big level. There really is no easy way about it if it has to be perfectly level. But since it is a pool dont you really just have to level out the sand?? do a 6 foot section and check if it is level and do the same. If you go to low you just throw dirt where your working. Unless you just buy a big escavator I dont knwo any other way of doing it myself. Thats just what we used but I think for a pool you get it the dirt kinda level and then put the sand down and level it. Level dirts not going to do crap for you once you put the sand down.

imported_Greenman
07-10-2006, 10:46 PM
If you don't want to invest in a water level, just dig a small trench around the outside and fill it with water, it will be perfect.

GuitarDaddy
07-10-2006, 10:48 PM
I've put up many AG pools. The most important tool is a String level (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4448867091&category=11704)

You can pick one up at Lowes/Home Depot or a local hardware store for just a few dollars.

You drive a stake in the middle of where the pool will be and tie a string to it at 5" above the ground and attach the string level. Stretch the string out 9-10' (for an 18' round) and walk a circle around the center stake, placing stakes every 3-4'. At each stake level the string and mark each stake and measure the distance to the ground.

This will show you in which areas the ground is high or low. Depending on the topsoil and the amounts of ground that needs to be removed, you may be able to level it with a shovel and a rake. If more ground has to be removed you may need a tiller to help breakup the ground on the high side and move it to the low side. In extreme cases (on a sharp hill) you may even have to employ a tractor with a box blade, or even a bulldozer for large pools on severe grades

Goosemaster
07-10-2006, 10:49 PM
laborers

Evadman
07-10-2006, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by: funboy42
I dont know what they are called but the have a engine on them and a very heavy like metal sled. It will vibrate the piss out of you. Make you hole and you use that machine to pound the ground till it is level using just a leveler.

You can't just use a plate vibrator. I just put in a 14 x 18 above ground pool in-ground by digging a big ass hole 4' deep.

My 14 x 18 pool is roughly 7000 gallons or about 280.9 lbs sq/ft A typical playe compactor weighs about 300 lbs on a 17" x 24" plate, or roughly 106 lbs per sq/ft. The water is roughly twice as heavy as the compactor.

'Undisturbed earth' in this area (illinois) will support well over 1000 lbs sq/ft. To put in the pool, you just dig until the ground is flat. That's it. Using a plate compactor doesn't do a whole heck of a lot. All it would do is push any rocks on the surface down since the weight of the compactor will be almost entirely on the rock. But you are supposed to remove them beforehand.

Besides, you are supposed to put between 2 to 4 inches of sand down along with a 4-8" cove around the edges to prevent washout. The sand is the most impotant thing to get level.

To make sure it is level, use a waterlevel as Greenman suggested. a string level will tend to compensate and be self leveling. You could be off by an inch over 20 feet and the level would still read as being 'level'. I used a 6' level first as funboy42 said, but I still ended up with a deviation of about 1/2" depensing on which direction I leveled from. the pool had to be within 1/8" or the wall would come out of the bottom.

Pepsi90919
07-10-2006, 10:50 PM
bomb

ruffilb
07-10-2006, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by: Pepsi90919
bomb

In theory, if you have a huge bomb elevated high above the ground, it'll get quite level.

VanTheMan
07-11-2006, 03:40 AM
Easiest way: low yield tactical nuclear strike.
Less lethal way: Bobcat

ChAoTiCpInOy
07-11-2006, 04:00 AM
better way is 2 just nuke it...it will level 18' + a few miles.

BoomerD
07-11-2006, 05:12 AM
String level is the cheapest way to do it. I put in a slightly smaller AG pool 4 yrs ago. Set your stakes, and using the level, set your grade line, then work from that. If you have to move a LOT of dirt, then equipment is much easier on the back, even for a relatively small piece like this.

John P
07-13-2006, 06:51 PM
So how would ya'll go about doing this over an existing lawn? I have been putting up one of those 15' Quick Set type pools in my backyard the last 3 summers and it work OK even though the ground is probably uneven 12"-20" over that distance. I would love to level the ground out somehow and put up a bigger (18' x 48") but don't want to dig up my whole yard (sod) to do so. Any ideas?

Dead3ye
07-13-2006, 06:57 PM
This is the tool you need. (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92801)

I put in a pool last year and had to level the ground. This thing is cheap and it works well. My pool is level the whole way across by an 1/8".

Dead3ye
07-13-2006, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by: John P.
So how would ya'll go about doing this over an existing lawn? I have been putting up one of those 15' Quick Set type pools in my backyard the last 3 summers and it work OK even though the ground is probably uneven 12"-20" over that distance. I would love to level the ground out somehow and put up a bigger (18' x 48") but don't want to dig up my whole yard (sod) to do so. Any ideas?

I dealt with one of those pools for three years in a row. The last year it finally spilled over because the ground wasn't level. You're really not supposed to "build up" to make it level. What you put under might eventually work it's way out from under the pool.

I gave up and got a used above ground pool for $600 and put it myself. Much easier to take care of and tons less worry. I had to dig the yard to make a level spot, but it's always there now and if I get tired of it, away it goes.

John P
07-13-2006, 07:12 PM
I put in a pool last year and had to level the ground. This thing is cheap and it works well. My pool is level the whole way across by an 1/8".

I have a bunch of questions for those who have done this:

1) Did you do it over an existing grass lawn?
2) Did you dig up sod on the high sod, get rid of the sod or just use it to build up the low side?
3) Did you haul in a bunch of dirt and/or sand and just dump it down?
4) How did you transition the level spot into the remainder of your lawn, just taper it down or use some sort of retaining wall?

Anybody care to post some pics of their leveled section of yard?

Thanks!

BoomerD
07-13-2006, 07:30 PM
I removed all the sod where I put the pool. It will die under there anyway. then, I leveled the piece of ground to within a 1/4" in all directions. (not bad for a string level) Where I had to build it up to get it level, I used the interlocking landscape blocks you can get at Home Depot to provide a retaing wall to contain the soil. (only about 6" higher than the surrounding area.. Once the dirt was leveled, I put down about 1" of fine sand, covered it with a heavy contractor-grade landscape cloth, then covered that with the tarp that came with the Doughboy pool...

skyking
07-13-2006, 07:31 PM
I've installed a few, and dug for several in-ground shotcrete pools and large hot tubs.

1.) remove all the sod.
2.) See above, get rid of it.
3.) If the fill is deeper than 6", use 3/4" or 7/8" crushed rock (CSTC is one term for it), to get the grade close. Rent a plate compactor for the day and put it in in 6" lifts.
4.) If it is just a few inches of difference, you can use water to compact good clean sand.
5.) It really depends on the conditions. As somebody said above, if it is a big fill it can and will displace out from under the pool eventually, if it is not retained in some way.

Bryophyte
07-13-2006, 08:28 PM
I'd use my brother-in-law's transit while he dug it with his excavator. :D Of course, when my spouse leveled the area for our pool this year, he used the tractor bucket and a level set on a long 2x4. I think. I wasn't home at the time. Maybe he used a string level. We have both.

PAB
07-13-2006, 08:31 PM
Go to Nationsrent and go get yourself a skid steer.

bctbct
07-13-2006, 08:44 PM
I put an 18' pool this spring. You have to remove the high side and not fill the low side. Uniloader would be the easiest, but believe me, not a job for an amatuer. 10' 2x4 and a 4' level with a stake driven in the center of pool area should work fine.

My advice, if you can afford it have a guy come in and do it for you. Depending where you live and access to the area it might only cost you a few hundred.

Spend the money on the cove, I bought it online and spent a $100 but it makes a very nice edge. Also I would reccommend a few inches of sand, make the bottom smoother, this will also need to be compacted even if you just nail a peice of plywoof 12X12 to the end of a 2x4.

Try not to cut any corners or you may pay dearly after a few months. Good luck.

conehead433
07-13-2006, 08:57 PM
A cheap solution use a 2x4 frame and level it with either a 4' level or a laser level. Dig out as necessary and fill with sand as necessary. You can connect several boards together to scrape across the top frame and level it exactly.