Trenching Your Lawn Without Damage

By Robert Robillard on Home Repairs And Remodeling

Digging Trenches

Often in remodeling and construction I find myself needing to dig a utility trench in the lawn.  Trenching your lawn without damage is possibly if your careful and methodical.

Photo: ConcordCarpenter digging away!

Why Do We dig Trenches?

Some of the circumstances that come to mind are electrical wires to outdoor light posts, exterior outlets, drainage piping, dry wells, utilities to outdoor buildings like a shed or a remote water faucet in a garden…. I’m sure there are many more.

Recently I needed to run an electrical wire and install an outlet out to a hidden fountain that I had installed.

Many times I find myself needing to trench through an established, healthy and really nice lawn.

Preserving The Lawn

Not wanting to cause to much damage and trying to tread as lightly as possibly I use a simple method of preserving the lawn and still am able to install my electrical conduit.

Cut the edges first:

The first step after deciding where to install the trench is to cut the edge lines of the trench with a sharp edging tool.

Flat shovel the grass roots :

I then use a flat shovel to get under the cut grass and lift it up similar to sod. [photo below]

Work in manageable sections:

One thing I find that makes this easier is to cut out and lift small, manageable sections at and time. In the photos below I cut out and lifted the grass in 24″ lengths.

Compact soil

After the pipe is installed the trench is filled in. I fill in the dirt in 4″ lifts. Every 4″ of dirt gets compacted before adding more.

Once the dirt is at the level it was when the “sod” was cut, I then piece back the grass and rake the surrounding grass and dirt.

Add seed for good measure:

I sometimes add extra dirt and grass seed to the trench edges to help blend in and make the trench line invisible.

~ concord carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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