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  • Writer's pictureMike Brown

Cleaning Up the Back Yard

BCC’s Landscaping circle mobilized in the face of a hotter-than-usual August to do even more impressive clean-up and structuring work on our property.

Note, please, that nearly every day in those first weeks notched heat index numbers in the high 90s and low 100s.

Nevertheless, in the face of that heat and discomfort, Landscaping organized BCC members over several days to help clear overgrown and invasive vegetation choking the back of our property and to help lay down a new pipe to manage storm water runoff.

This post was compiled from information provided the Landscaping Circle's Jackie, Kate, and Cornelia.


Above is a video clip from September 2020 as the building foundations were being dug. Behind the orange netting bordering the construction site are wild trees and non-native vegetation. On the other side of the chain link fence is the Grey Stone Baptist Church pre-school. Water could not flow easily from the adjacent property to the culvert, leading to pooling and erosion during heavy rains.

The Landscaping Circle led tours to explain the vision for clearing the property, planting the garden, and building a tool shed, among many other topics. (Landscaping's initial budget for the first six months focused only on getting the ground ready for planting!) You can see Kate above gesturing toward the jungle of overgrowth.

Close-ups of what had to go.

The quickest and most effective way to clear the area was with a mini 'dozer (above), which showed us how much more yard we really have to work with. Perry, the heavy machinery operator, also dug a trench that you'll see again further down the page.

Perry hauls the refuse out to the truck. He filled up his truck with refuse. There is still more invasive plants to be pulled out

There's always sweeping up to be done.

Now, about that trench...

Since before the building was erected, Landscaping had consulted with Mitch Woodward, Area Specialized Water Quality Agent with NC State Extension, on cistern placement. We had called him back to talk with him about how to alleviate the storm water runoff on our property and how to reduce erosion around the culvert.

He suggested installing a catchment basin at the northeast side of our property and then use 6-inch pipes with flexible connectors to gently drain the water into the culvert.

Perry started the work by using the heavy machinery to dig a rough trench from the start of the basin down to the culvert. This is where the call to the community came to get out in the high-90s weather and to lend a strong back and two good arms

In the pictures above and below, you can see us refining the trench and adding an area large enough for the catchment basin.

Jackie breaks out the grown-up tools to clear obstructions.

Attaching the pipe to the catchment basin and ensuring secure connections.

Kate and Cornelia smile and sweat for the camera as they connect the pipe sections from the basin to the culvert.

Did we mention heat index of ~100 degrees? Samuel comes to the rescue, serving cold water, Locopops popsicles. and towels drenched in ice water that the workers could wrap around their necks.

Then the community came back together to fill in the trench. Shortly after, a berm was built to the left of this basin to help manage the runoff and prevent erosion from where the shed will be. The Landscaping Circle will monitor the next few rains to see if the berm needs adjusting.

Rocks collected from Candace's yard last year will help dissipate the water as it travels down the trench to the culvert.

Look at that area to the left and compare it to the pictures at the top of this page: no more vines and trees clumping along the fence, the ditch and culvert are cleared. Our back yard is now both pleasing to the eye and more functional. And the veggie-growers among us have plans for that open space.


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