I awarded the project to Grass Roots, a local landscaping company in New Fairfield, Connecticut. The owners, Joe and John, have an excellent reputation around the area for doing good work. They have done a great job managing our landscaping for years as can be seen from this picture taken in the fall.
We discussed and planned the project together. It was broken down into three phases: (1) site preparation, (2) building Smiley and (3) re-landscaping the affected area. Work began in December, 2011.
The following is a photo of the site taken a few weeks after the project began. You can see the Igloo in the background. Near the middle of the picture is a Bobcat escavation truck covered with a gray canvas to protect it from the rain.
Removal of Trees and Brush
Two large trees had to be cut and shrubs and bushes had to be cleared. All the debris was carted to another part of the property, away and hidden from view.
The largest technical challenge was getting rid of a large granite outcropping that protruded from below the ground. It had to be removed because it was near the center of Smiley. Though it looked like a large boulder from above, it was really part of a very large granite ledge that was below the surface. You couldn’t just dig it out and move it.
It was decided the best way to get rid of the rock was to pulverize it with a large industrial jack hammer until it was below grade. This was probably the most difficult part of the site preparation.
Leveling the Site
The land sloped fairly steeply from the West to the East. It is about a 8-10 feet drop from one end to the other. The escavator brought in large bolders to secure the lower portion of the site so that it functioned as a retaining wall to hold in the additional soil that was needed to grade the site. In addition to moving soil from the high to low areas, an additional 60 cubic yards of fill was needed to level the site.
The site preparation work is still ongoing. But as you can see, a lot of progress has been made.