Do you ever tackle a home project that’s a bit too big? Here’s a glimpse into my newest learning experience! Gina and I heard from a few neighbours that our nice back yard had a big standing water problem in spring. We also noticed our yard had a nice slope… to the house! The closest 6′ of grade almost entirely around the house was sloped toward the house foundation. Luckily we hadn’t experienced any major issues on account of that! But it meant change needed to come!


So cue up the mini-excavator. We spent a day digging drain lines into the back yard, and sloping the ground around the house to get proper drainage. Saturday evening was not a highlight for my household. We felt like we had taken a larger bite of yard-work than what we could handle. And so here’s a few lessons we learned through this process.

  1. Spend time doing the prep work right in any DIY project. In this project the rough grading around the house didn’t get done right. I didn’t spend enough time ensuring the slope was accurate, the ground was packed properly and that it was ready for top soil. This led to wasted top soil trying to level out low spots, uneven density packing the spots with very little top soil, and a generally harder time laying down top soil.
  2. Rent the proper equipment if you don’t own it. You will stay far more motivated, and be able to do a far better job if you have the right tools for the job. We were debating foot packing the top soil around the house, but I’m very happy we rather went out to get a lawn roller. Made a much better job with much less time spent.
  3. Finally be patient. Saturday evening I was regretting taking on such a big project. My beautiful yard was a mess, the grass looked so dead, and my concrete patio project was falling through. I wanted an immediate upgrade, but progress takes time. I have to remind myself about the ice-cold beer I’ll enjoy on my patio, watching the kids play in a dry and level yard. Yes, very soon it will all be worth it!

These tips can be applied on any home renovation project you take on. In my case it was landscaping, but same would apply with bathroom renovations, deck building, or garage building.