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Question DetailsAsked on 5/24/2018

free dirt in council bluffs iowa also looking for rail road ties

need alot of dirt and rail road ties to even out yard

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If getting free dirt, be careful to check what is being delivered BEFORE it is dumped - that you do not get hazardous waste, building or road demolition debris, fuel contaminated soil from a gas station or storage tank cleanup, mud or peat, land clearing debris, etc. And NEVER put out a "clean fill wanted" sign - your yard will fill up with junk loads and trash in no time.


And of course, specify you want clean general or "common" fill, not mud or lots or rocks or such - generally the maximum particle size should not exceed about 40% of the layer thickness in fill under a foot thick to allow reasonable spreading - not over about half the fill thickness for non-structural general fill, and unless many feet thick not over 1 foot in dimension.


Though for behind railroad tie retaining wall, in addition to using rebar and/or tiebacks to keep the ties from tilting over, at least the 45 degree wedge behind the ties should be compacted structural fill or you are pretty much guranteed to get a leaning wall if more than a couple of ties high. So Excavation contractor with equipment to move and place the fill and to compact it is your Search the List category for a contractor.


Note is levelling the yard, if over maybe 6 inches in maximum thickness, unless you wait quite a number of years, if it is not compacted at proper moisture (damp, not wet) when placed (in lifts of 4-12 inches depending on maximum particle size and size of compactor) you will get a lot of settlement and dimpling and low spots which accumulate water.


And you generally need 2-6 inches of topsoil (depending on local growing season frequency and asequacy of natural or articifial watering) to grow lawn on. On decent growing natural soil and humid, frequent rain area like much of the lower Midwest and deep South 2-3 inches will cut it, on poor subsoil or dry areas like upper Midwest and most of the West and Southwest 3-4 inches is usually a minimum and some desert-like areas need 4-6 inches of topsoil and artificial watering to successfully grow lawn or ground cover.


For free dirt, contact Excavation companies - they commonly know who is giving away dirt from construction sites and road jobs and such.


For ties - excavation contractor will likely know sources - otherwise check local landscaping materials supply places, big box home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot and Menards (at about $20-40 each for standard 8 footers), or google for them in your area. If looking for a lot, contact local railroad right of way maintenance foreman - though if you get random unselected ones from them a certain percentage will be pretty rotten or split. Also, most railroads now highgrade the better ones and sell them by the carload to landscaping places - so what you get from the railroad "bone yard" might be pretty shot.

Answered 5 months ago by LCD




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