BIY Today
Build It Yourself Today

     About Us     
   Contact Us   
Submit Your Site

How To Excavate Your Home Site

How To Build Your Own Home e-book available


Before You Begin

Tools Of The Trade

Designing Your Home

Building Permit Plans

Laying Drain Pipes

Prepping For Slab

Pouring The Slab

Installing Sill Plate

cutting Outside Wall Parts

Building Outside Walls

Framing & Raising interior Walls

Exterior Wall Sheathing

Cutting Out Openings

Wrapping The House

Preparing For Roof Trusses

Gettin Roof Trusses Ready

Raising Roof Trusses

Sheathing The Roof

Preping For Shingles

Shingling The Roof

Selecting Doors/Windows

Installing Doors/Windows

Preparing For Siding

Types Of

How To Select Siding

Siding The House

Siding Soffits & Trim

Installing Strapping


Equipment And Tools Required

Excavator, Bulldozer, shovels, rakes, wheel barel, laser level, plate compactor.

  • How to clear your building site?

  • How to design the layout of your home site?

  • How to level your building site?

  • How to dig for the slab or foundation?

  • How to prepare the ground for the slab?

  • Digging trenches for sewerage pipes, septic system, and leach field

  • How to prepare for the driveway?

  • How to level for the driveway?

  • How to backfill the driveway?

  • How to design your building site for proper water drainage?

  1. Clearing The Building Site

    • At this point all unwanted trees and shrubs must be cut down and removed

    • All rocks and boulders must be dug up and removed from the site unless they are to be used at a later time for landscaping purposes

    • Remove all tree stumps

    • Remove all vegetation from site down to at least 12" below grade.

    • Burying the trees, branches, and debris, near your home is not advisable. As the wood and debris rot, you will be left with sink holes throughout your property. At times the holes can be quite large. They will continue to get larger over the years as the buried material continues to rot away.

    Excavator Used For Removing Tree Stumps, Rocks, And Dirt

  2. Staking out your home site.
    (Throughout the excavation process it is very important to keep the direction of water flow in mind at all times. You need to know where the water from heavy rains and melting snows is going to flow from, and run off to?)

    Corners Of The House Are Located By Measuring The Length And Width Of The Building And Crosschecking With The Diagonal Measurements

  3. Designing the layout of your home site.

    • Revert back to your Building Permit Plans and make a copy of the plans.

    • Check the location of all buildings, septic system, leach field, and driveways.

    • Using the same plans add patios, playgrounds, planters, steps, walkways, flower beds, vegetable gardens, wall structures, ponds, trees, and shrubs, to the plans.

    • Now that you have a general idea of how you would like your future home site to look, you can mark the location of hills, valleys, and level areas, on the plans. This will give you sufficient knowledge of the home site to excavate according to those specifications.

  4. Preparing the building site

    • You must now dig out the area within markers you have staked out.

    • Dig down at least 12" to remove all vegetation ensuring proper drainage.

    • If you choose to place footers around the slab, you must dig a trench the width of your forms, down to below the frost line.

  5. Laying material for slab support and drainage

    • Begin by laying gravel down. If you have good drainage, then you can fill with enough gravel to raise the building site by 12" at the lowest point.

    • If there is poor drainage or potential for flooding, then add a layer of crushed rocks before the gravel. This means that you will have to dig deeper to compensate for the height of the rocks.

    • Place drainage pipes on top of the rocks and fill again with another layer of crushed rocks.

    • Fill with gravel until the lowest corner of the building site is at least 12" above grade. Pack the gravel down as you work using a bulldozer or a plate compactor.

    • Using a laser level, level the building site.

    • Backfill the area around the building site to create a smooth slope to grade.

    Using A Drainage System In Wet Areas, Will Ensure proper Drainage

  6. Digging trenches for sewer drainage pipes

    • Dig a narrow trench leading from the slab area down to the septic tank. This will contain the 4" PVC pipe used as a main drain from the house to the septic system.

    • You must locate the trench at the point near the house where all of the drains in the house will empty into.

    • The trench must continuously slope down from the house to the septic system to ensure proper sewerage drainage.

    • I would suggest not to run the drainage pipe under a driveway as heavy loads such as oil delivery trucks and ordinary vehicles, could colapse the system. If you must cross a driveway, be sure to dig a deeper trench. You may also bar any heavy vehicles from crossing that portion of the driveway.

    Sample Design For Septic System Leading From The House To The Leach Field

  7. Excavating the driveway

    • When to excavate the driveway will depend on many variables. If trucks can come in and out of your site without trouble, then I would suggest waiting as long as possible to form the driveway. This will ensure a clean driveway foundation without ruts. However, if that is not the case, then excavating the driveway must be the initial step.

    • Start by clearing out all boulders and trees, where the driveway will be located

    • Next dig down at least 12" along the entire area of the driveway, to remove all vegetation and roots

    • Backfill with gravel to the desired height then level it.

    • The driveway should sit higher than the ground around it, to allow for proper water drainage.

    • The shape of the driveway should not be flat or concave. It should have a slight convex shape to it for drainage purposes. This is especially important for people who plan on using only gravel to cover the driveway. Otherwise the driveway can be rendered unusable during wet or muddy periods.

    • If the driveway leads to a building, then its slope must lead away from the building, to ensure water drainage away from that building.

    • always keep water drainage at the forefront of your mind.

    • Gravel can either be used to finish the driveway surface, or as a base for crushed rock, pavers, concrete, or asphalt.

    Keep All Of The Angles In The Driveway Sloping With The Natural Contour Of The Land, And Away From Buildings.

  8. Designing your site for proper drainage

    • You building site has been shaped by natural erosion since the beginning of time. Rule of thumb is that it is better to follow nature than to fight against it. Therefore if you follow the existing contour of the land rather than try to reshape it, you should have a natural drainage system.

    • Every step of the excavation process should include proper drainage in its design.

    • Remember that there will be times when the water levels reach high proportions. You don't want to be caught off guard during such times. always visualize the direction of water flow.

    • Keep the natural flow of the land as much as possible. Fill any low spots and cut back any mounds you have created.

    • This is a time for finishing touches

    • Make sure the house perimeter sits well above the ground around. Keep a gentle slope away from the house to avoid erosion.

    • Remember that during the summer months water runoff usually drains into the ground fairly quickly, but when the ground is frozen or partially frozen, will collect and flood or make mud.

    {Next Step: Laying Drainage Pipes}


Please contact us with any questions or coments at: Customer Service