In a world where home ownership is becoming increasingly unaffordable, the backyard has emerged as an affordable alternative to building your own. But how long will that last?

The “how deep can you legally dig on your property” is a question that has been asked for many years. The answer to the question is not always clear, but it depends on the location of your property.

Perhaps you’ve seen the PSAs or billboards telling people not to go into their backyard with a shovel without first taking certain measures. It’s a good idea to know what you should do before asking whether you may dig a hole in your backyard.


Why Would You Want to Dig a Hole in Your Backyard?

The apparent purpose for breaking out a spade is to plant trees or bushes. To give it a head start, drill a hole roughly twice the size of the root ball to loosen the soil surrounding the below-ground section. This isn’t the only reason you’d use this tool, however.

If you’re going to build a walkway, you’ll need to excavate a spot for sand to support the paver stones. When it comes to fences, you’ll need an auger to install the posts. The same is true for decks, which must be placed below the freeze line in order for the construction to remain stable.

It also applies to more ordinary jobs like planting veggies in your garden, laying a new road, adding a water feature, or repairing your mailbox.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that your initiative is too little to have an influence. That’s how many issues begin in the first place. Do you believe it isn’t a problem? Let’s take a look at what may happen if you put your money on the incorrect horse.

The Dangers of Digging Too Deep

What you’ll accidently strike while hitting a shovel to the ground is the largest issue you’ll confront. Underground electricity, gas, and phone lines are all present. The latter, on the other hand, is inconvenient. The first two may be harmful at times, and their effects can spread to your neighbors.

Not good.

Repairs might take a long time, which adds to the irritation. Another thing to keep in mind is that the danger zones differ depending on the environment and utility. Their routes back to the source may seem evident at times, but not always.

In general, utilities will choose the route with the least amount of resistance and go the shortest distance. Saving money on materials and labor makes logical. There are a number of things that go into that equation that aren’t immediately apparent. Another reason you should seek expert advice is because of this.

The Problems with Digging a Hole in Your Backyard

Your situation has most likely evolved over time, particularly if you’ve been there for a long period. Changes in the landscape. A berm or new septic tank may have been installed by a previous owner. All of these factors might impact the safety of digging in your garden, especially because you may not be able to see any evidence above ground.

If you’ve changed the sort of internet or phone service you have, the services utilized by other owners may also play a role. A pre-existing outdoor lighting or security system might potentially put a kink in your landscaping designs.

The reality is that when you decide to dig, you’ll be confronted with a slew of unknown unknowns that will need expert help before you begin. When you take a shovel in your hand, you’re taking a danger of varied degrees.

When digging, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The frost line and its resilience are at the heart of the climate problem. The latter, in turn, has to do with the materials that were utilized to make them. Keep in mind that the utilities must strike a balance between flexibility and strength. The main problems are water, natural gas, and power.

The first one is at least 36 inches deep, but in regions where the earth freezes below this level, it might be far deeper. There are no fixed restrictions for natural gas or electricity, but expect to see at least 24 and 18 inches, respectively.

Whether you’re on municipal water or a septic tank system, sewer is a wild card. It is normally between 24 and 36 inches for the former. The latter is dependent on your location. Other elements might come into play, such as:

  • Profile of the soil
  • Elevation
  • Proximity to a body of water

Cable and phone lines are also included in the equation. They usually follow the same pattern as the other utilities. The reality is that there isn’t a lot of depth. Access is a major issue that keeps them closer to the surface than you would believe.

Then there’s your septic tank system, if your home employs this kind of water treatment. Anything you do above ground may have an impact on the well’s water quality, and consequently your drinking water.

Septic tanks filter water using a closed system and natural filtration from the earth and its composition before it reaches your tap. Anything that jeopardizes the integrity of your drainage field might jeopardize the system’s safety and lifespan.

Fixing problems on this scale is also not inexpensive.

Digging in Your Backyard Has Unintended Consequences

Digging seems to be the only thing you need to think about. You must, however, consider what you’re sowing. Tree roots, like those of certain natural prairie grasses, may reach 10 feet or more below the surface. They may, in turn, have an influence on the wiring that your digging may directly damage.

You should also consider the overhead growth of everything you plant. They have the potential to interfere with powerlines that run above ground. The consequences may be just as terrible. That implies you should think about all sides of the question before deciding whether or not you may dig a hole in my property.

Sharp Instruments (Sharp Instruments)

The shovel is the other devil in the detail. You’ve probably heard that the best time to utilize this garden implement is when it’s sharp. This necessitates the use of a rasp to maintain the edge clean and razor-sharp. It simplifies your work and saves your back, which we all enjoy.

However, it makes it simpler to damage utility lines, putting you in a position to deal with the consequences.

What a double-edged sword this is!

Safeguarding Techniques

Before you lift a shovel, the greatest thing you can do is call 811. Sure, you can make an informed estimate on the depth by guesstimating the course of the lines. We highly advise you not to participate in this Russian roulette game.

The dangers aren’t worth it, particularly because knowing for sure is a free service.

When you contact 811, a service representative will come out and spray paint, flag, or both the lines. After that, we recommend taking a photo of the marks. Things happen, and the lines in the sky move.

Take bearings with the angle and distance from a permanent landmark, such as your home or a tree, if you truly want to be safe.

Once you get the information, keep inside the marked boundaries and give them plenty of room. When the stakes are this high, it’s better to be cautious than sorry. Yes, it’s being cautious, but it’s also a method of ensuring that nothing is harmed.

The Final Word on Digging a Hole in Your Backyard

We realize how eager you are to get your landscaping tasks underway. It’s an important aspect of turning your house into a home.

It’s equally important, though, that you don’t walk on any utilities that run to your home. It just takes one phone call to find out whether you can dig a hole in my property. Do not be hesitant. Make it happen.

The “5,000 landscaping budget” is the amount of money that most homeowners would have to spend on landscaping for their backyard. The average cost for a single yard is about $5,000. Reference: $5,000 landscaping budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a hole in my backyard?

A: Yes, you can. If your backyard has a fence or something similar preventing you from digging into it, there is always the option of moving the structure to create more space and break through.

How deep can I dig a hole in my backyard?

A: I dont know, youll have to do the math.

Do I need a permit to dig in my yard California?

A: To answer your question, you will need a permit to dig in your yard.

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