There are numerous reasons why someone might want to dig a trench. For example, they might be doing some kind of renovation project on their property. Alternatively, they might be planning on doing some gardening. Whatever the case, digging a trench can be both complicated and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier than otherwise possible.
Plan Out the Trench
People should always plan out their trench. This is because they don’t want to find out that they have made a serious mistake in the middle of their digging. After all, that can force a lot of changes, meaning a lot of extra expended time and effort that could have been put to a better use on something else. However, the planning process is also the best time for people to make sure that they won’t be digging into utility lines. If they are lucky, digging into a utility line will result in a huge mess, which can be very expensive to fix. In contrast, if they are unlucky, well, suffice to say that digging into a utility line has been known to cause lethal accidents. As such, knowing where the utility lines are located is extremely important, so much so that people shouldn’t dig at all unless they know that they won’t be digging into the utility lines. If they aren’t sure, they should make sure to contact utility providers to find out the relevant information.
Mark Things Out
Naturally, people should mark out the path of their planned trench. One option would be using marking paint. However, people can also make do with nothing more than some stakes plus some string. Marking out the path of the planned trench is important for enabling people to actually follow their intended plan. Something that is particularly true if they have something curved or otherwise unusual in mind. Having said that, it is important to note that even projects meant to create a straight trench can benefit from proper marking. After all, the more accurately that people dig, the fewer mistakes that they will make. In turn, the fewer mistakes that they make, the less effort that they will have to expend in the end.
Choose the Right Equipment
It is possible for people to use an excavator to dig a trench. However, that is often impractical for one reason or another. For example, excavators aren’t exactly small machines, meaning that they are going to need to make sure that there is sufficient space to accommodate their presence. Similarly, excavators can require special expertise and experience, which are the kinds of things that most people will need to pay for rather than have on hand. In any case, if people are thinking of using an excavator for digging the trench that they have in mind, chances are good that they should be contacting a reliable and reputable contractor rather than trying to handle everything on their own. As for everything else, well, it is worth remembering that people have been digging trenches since time immemorial. A good sharpened shovel can be very useful for breaking through the hard soil as well as other potential obstacles.
If necessary, people might want to sharpen their shovel edge beforehand. A file should be enough for said purpose. However, a grinder with a metal grinding disc will be the most efficient solution. Be warned that people don’t actually want a knife-sharp edge on their shovel because that will dull within a very short period of time. Instead, it is better to go for something blunter, which will be sharp enough to do the job while being blunt enough to last. Alternatively, if people have something narrow in mind, a mattock might be a better tool to use. After all, it can be swung to cut into the soil. After which, its wide blade can be used to pull back the soil. On top of that, a mattock even comes with a blade that can be used to cut through roots as well as other potential obstacles. The head of a mattock may or may not be enough for removing the dug-up soil. If it isn’t, people should also consider having a hoe on hand, which can be used for shaping the trench to their specifications as well as removing soil with increased ease.
Dump the Soil On Either Cardboard or Plywood
Speaking of which, it can be a good idea to dump the soil on either a piece of cardboard or a piece of plywood. This way, people won’t have to rake away the soil that has been dumped onto their grass, which can be both laborious and unpleasant to say the least. Theoretically, a tarp can serve much the same function. However, tarps can be punctured by shovels with relative ease, meaning that people will need to exercise additional care and caution.
Check For Imperfections
In some cases, people can be relatively relaxed when it comes to the dimensions of their trench. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for every single case out there because sometimes, getting the dimensions exactly right can be very important for getting the desired outcome. Due to this, even once people have dug out their trench, they should check to make sure that they have gotten the dimensions right. They don’t necessarily need to measure every single portion of the trench. However, they should definitely be checking multiple points along the trench to make sure that everything will be fine. In this as in other things, a bit of thoroughness can save people a lot of frustration in the long run.
Consider Wetting the Soil
Generally speaking, moist soil is easier to work with than dry, hard soil. Due to this, people might find it useful to spend about an hour watering the soil where they are planning to dig a day in advance. By doing so, they should find the soil much easier to work with the next day. Something that can save them a lot of effort.