Purchasing or building a new home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. So each and every decision you make from the building to the maintenance phases of your home’s lifespan is important. We have had the opportunity to help our customers at various stages of the process. From the planning of the foundation to final grading and seeding of the lawn, we are always delighted to help local couples and families through construction to build the home of their dreams. When it comes to your home, Gravel Grading & Excavating can help with site and yard prep, leveling and grading around the property, installing your septic system and drain field, and much more.
We want you to get the most out of your home and enjoy all that your property offers! One of our most memorable residential projects was from the summer of 2018 when we had an opportunity to work on a residential property high atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River town of Bellevue, Iowa. Unfortunately, this family found themselves unable to fully enjoy their outdoor spaces due to the steep hillsides and overgrown timber areas. We assisted them in cleaning up the overgrown trees to enhance their view. In that same year, we worked with another homeowner to improve and widen her driveway to help prepare a foundation for a horse arena.
Another large project took place In the summer of 2019. For this project, the homeowner wanted to protect his 1970s-era home from water leaking into the foundation. In order to successfully complete this job, we utilized our excavator to dig out a trench around the house. Next, we installed tile lines to collect water and divert it away from the home to a designated drain field. Once that was finished, our crew reinforced the foundation through damp proofing to create a water barrier and then applied a tar membrane for additional water protection to keep moisture out of the home’s foundation. At the end of the project, we finish graded the lawn to provide even more protection to the home’s foundation for years to come.
A septic system is essential in the daily functioning of your home. With all the water the average family consumes, it is of the utmost importance to have confidence in your home's wastewater collection and treatment system. We pride ourselves on our meticulous work when it comes to installing your home’s septic system and drain field. Our crew works closely with the family, the state of Iowa, and EPA codes and regulations to make sure the new system will be both functional and environmentally sound. To learn more about how the installation process works, see our blog about our previous work at a local family farm:
If you are looking for residential services from our Gravel Grading & Excavating crew, get on our remaining 2020 schedule or book for early 2021 by calling 563-542-6610.
As you are cleaning up around your property this spring you may notice some unsightly problems that creeped up during the winter months. From hillside wash-outs to weeds and shrubs that seem to have grown 10 feet in 3 months, property owners around Eastern Iowa are starting to assess their properties and make plans for outdoor improvements in the spring and summer months.
At this time in 2018, the same process was happening on a residential property high atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River town of Bellevue, Iowa. While the homeowners were pleased with their home, they found themselves unable to fully enjoy their outdoor spaces due to the steep hillsides and overgrown timber areas. Their beautiful view was partially obstructed by trees, and they knew this was the time to take action so they called in our friends at Conlon Construction to head up the project, and the guys at Conlon knew that Terry and the crew at Gravel Grading and Excavating were just the people to help out on this large-scale job.
When we were first called in, we immediately noticed the potential of the property. The idea was to regrade the driveway, sidewalks, and walking paths surrounding the home to fade the slope and improve water runoff, grub out small brush and cut back tree branches around the property, fade the hillsides and bluffs to make the terrain more easily traversable, and build out new patio areas for the homeowners to enjoy their newly-improved outdoor spaces.
On our first day on the job, we brought several pieces of small equipment such as our Bobcat Skidsteer and Mini Excavator. Working in such steep grades like these, we knew the smaller equipment would better handle these conditions. As we worked on improving the fall of the walkways and drives, we made sure to fade the terrain of the main yard back into the surround bluff, so there would be usable space for the family.
Our crew worked on this project in several stages, first cleaning out the shrubs and trees that dotted the yared and roughing in where the walkways and driveways would go. We then returned a few weeks later to assess the progress, shape up the property for retaining walls , and fill around the new patios and decking that were going in. At the end of the project, we then came in to finish grade the land and prepare it for seeding.
"This project was a lot of fun to work on," says Gravel crew member Brad Gravel. "We got to take this beautiful but overgrown home and yard, and make it a useable space for the family again."
Says Terry Gravel, owner of Gravel Grading and Excavating, "We are really thankful for the guys at Conlon for calling us in to help on this job. They are a great crew to partner with, and we think the finished product speaks for itself."
The end result of this process is not only a beautiful new yard for this Bellevue, Iowa, family, but also a space that is useable year-round.
Improving the grade around the edges of the property ensures the topsoil is secure and stays in place, providing better opportunity for lawn growth and maintenance. Grubbing out shrubs and trimming back trees improves the view of the mighty Mississippi and adding features like walkways to the home allow it to function better for the family.
Thank you to the team at Conlon Construction Company for allowing us to partner on this job, and thank you to the family in Bellevue for allowing us to move the earth for you!
Valentine's Day...the annual day where we men get to express our love without shame, has recently come and gone, but we thought this week would be a good opportunity to remind our followers why we at Gravel Grading & Excavating aren't just tough, good-looking guys. We love a lot of things.
1. We love to help people. In our line of work, we are lucky to help people build their dreams. Whether we get called in to help dig the foundation for a family's new home, install ag tile for a farmer making the best use of his field, or dig a new pond for some fishing and relaxation, we take great pride knowing that the work we do helps our customers.
2. We love to drive big machines. Remember how much fun it was to play in the sandbox as a kid? Especially with those toys you could sit on and use the hand levers to scoop and move the sand? Yeah. We get to do that every day. At work. Now the sandbox toys are bigger, and they have engines and names like John Deere, Caterpillar, and Bobcat on the side.
3. We love to play in the dirt. Much like #2, our favorite things to do as kids have become our jobs. There's nothing like the satisfaction of building something new or solving an engineering problem. It's a humbling experience to use our experience and skills to reroute waterways or reshape the landscape, and it never gets old.
4. We love our local communities. Oftentimes our crew gets called in to help on public works projects, and we enjoy helping our towns infrastructure function better. In the last year we've helped create new parking lots for our local schools, prep sidewalks to keep our citizens safe, and work below the surface to keep water and sewer services functioning. The guys on our crew volunteer at local events and fundraisers and serve the community as members of organizations. Our homes and communities are important to us, and we're thankful to serve them.
5. We love to help people. In our line of work, we are lucky to help people build their dreams...oops. We already said that. But really, it's the best part of our job.
Thanks so much to our customers, family members, friends, and followers. We are grateful for your business in the past, and we look forward to even more projects in 2018.
Is there anything more exciting or nerve-wracking than purchasing a new home? For all the opportunities buying a new home provides (from space to entertain family and friends to the opportunity to make years of memories), a buyer also has to be critical about the condition of the structure and the cost of improvements and upkeep that are sure to come along the way.
Such was the case for the Johnson family of Dubuque, Iowa. Long-time friends of Terry and the Gravel Grading & Excavating family, the Johnsons knew just who to turn to when they purchased their "new" older home in the heart of the city. While the house itself was sound and able to be updated with a few DIY projects, the crumbling asphalt driveway was a job they knew needed to be hired out. So Terry stepped in and determined that complete removal of the existing asphalt drive would be required, and pouring a new concrete lane would be the Johnsons best option. The Gravel workers would need to be very careful with their equipment and precise with their measurements, as they wouldn't want to sacrifice the soundness of the home or detached garage during the demolition phase, nor would they want to harm the root systems of the countless mature trees on the property.
Armed with their decades of experience and equipment, Terry and the guys got to work. Phase one of the project was to remove the existing structure. So with mini excavators and Bobcat skid loaders in tow, the crew was able to quickly break up and excavate the existing asphalt, load it into the waiting trucks, and haul away for disposal.
Phase two was where the job got especially tricky. It was in this phase that the dirt below the former driveway needed to be cored-out and leveled with a laser. This required precise, experienced, and patient dozer and excavator operators. Working carefully as possible along the side of the house, the men of Gravel Grading and Excavating took great precautions to ensure the heavy equipment didn't butt up against or remove too much dirt that would compromise the structural integrity of the decades-old home. Thanks to some extreme caution and technological tools, the bed of the new driveway was established and prepped for the new surface.
With the help of local concrete specialists Curt Curoe of Bernard, Iowa, and his crew from Horsfield Construction in Epworth, the driveway was poured and leveled. Once dry, it was time for Gravel Grading & Excavating to bring their equipment back for final grading and dirt work around the new lane, and prepping of the ground for new grass seeding.
Thanks to the patience of our crew and the expertise of HCI, the Johnson family's driveway went from unappealing and mangled to smooth and safe for years to come. We appreciate their confidence in Gravel Grading & Excavating, and we wish them a very merry first Christmas in their "new" old home.
As a homeowner, there are many systems in your home that you depend on every day for the comfort and safety of your family: heating, cooling, electrical, internet, etc. But for your peace of mind (and your wallet), the system you cannot have fail in your household is your septic. With all the water the average family consumes daily in their bathrooms, washing machines, and kitchens, having confidence in your home's wastewater collection and treatment system is priceless.
Gravel Grading & Excavating recently had the opportunity to complete a new septic system install for the Hosch family of rural Cascade, Iowa. For this project, we worked closely with the family and state of Iowa and EPA codes and regulations to make sure the new system was both functional and environmentally sound. After weighing their options and spending some time consulting with Terry, the homeowners decided that a septic tank and drainage field system was their family's best choice.
How does it work?
All water running out of the house filters into a two-compartment, water-tight septic tank. The heavier, solid waste settles to the bottom of the first compartment in the tank, while oil, grease, and waste water floats to the top and moves into the second chamber.
From the second chamber, liquid wastewater (effluent) travels out of the tank and into a series of pipes laid out in an underground drainfield. This drainfield moves water out of the piping through a series of both man-made and natural materials to percolate through sediment, rock, and soil to naturally clean and purify the wastewater before it reaches the water table or the surface as safe, drinkable water.
Time for installation:
First, we had to go to the site and assess the best location on the property for the drain/leach field. For this, we needed both the square footage necessary for the drainfield and proper soil quality that had the capacity to absorb and purify effluent exiting the system.
Once we determined the proper location, our crew came to the site with our excavating equipment to dig out the pit for the tank and drain field. The tank's trench was then lined with gravel and tested for level to ensure the proper fall to the pipes for optimum drainage. Our crew was then able to set the tank in place and begin assembling the drainfield.
Our crew started this stage of the install by backfilling the trench with soil and gravel to form the naturally-filtering layers. Each layer was carefully graded to assure correct degree of fall for the pipes and then measured to ensure accurate thickness for optimum water treatment and to comply with Iowa and EPA code. After ensuring proper base protocol, the Gravel Grading & Excavating crew began laying out the pipes and covering them with layers of gravel, landscaping mat (to prevent plant and tree roots from growing into and thus disrupting the drain field), and topsoil.
Gravel Grading & Excavating is licensed with the state of Iowa for residential septic system installation, and we follow proper protocol and follow-up with the DNR to make sure that our projects are both functional for your family and safe for the surrounding environment.
Thank you, Hosch family, for choosing us for your septic installation, and thanks to all our customers for their ongoing business.
Need more information?
Check out these helpful sites listed below:
State of Iowa Laws and Codes: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Septic-Systems
EPA Standards & Guidelines: https://www.epa.gov/septic
More detailed recommendations and installation instructions: https://www.thenaturalhome.com/septic.html
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