One of the less glamorous yet essential elements of a landscaping project is demolition. Removal of the old landscaping paves the way for a blank slate upon which a new garden can be built. Occasionally we are called in to landscape a completely bare dirt space with no preexisting landscaping. But more often than not, we must prepare our new canvas and tear out the existing yard.
The Details Landscape Art crew goes in and sprays any existing lawn with Roundup before removing it. We are careful not to spray existing plant material that we want to preserve, or else cover the plants in the vicinity of the Roundup application. In the case of existing Bermuda grass, we are extremely careful to make sure it is stone dead. Bermuda grass is a very tough plant with an exceptionally hardy and invasive root system. If the Bermuda grass is dug up without completely removing the entire root, the plant will regrow and before long the new landscaping will be totally infested with Bermuda grass. So we spray, wait a couple weeks, and then spray again if there is any green Bermuda grass showing. Once all the grass is dead, we use a sod cutter to dig out the sod to a depth of 3-4 inches.
Any existing unwanted plant material is removed, roots and all. If there are larger trees to be removed, we may call in a tree service to take out the tree and grind the stump and roots. Sometimes heavy equipment is required for larger projects with big boulders to move.
Unwanted concrete is jackhammered out and removed, along with any other stone, rock, and gravel that will not be part of the new landscape. If a new fence is to be built to replace an older one, the old fence is removed, posts and all. Usually we can set the new posts in a slightly different location than the old posts, so we may abandon the old concrete and leave it where it is.
Since the different debris box rental companies have rules that vary from one city to the next regarding what can and what cannot be put into the various boxes, and since the prices fluctuate significantly, we prefer to just let the homeowner rent the debris box once the materials are dug up and are ready to haul away. Occasionally we use a hauling service to come in and take away a load, and if the project is small, we may just make a dump run or two with our pickup trucks.
We always prepare the homeowner for the potential of dust and the mess created at the time of demolition. If necessary we will cover the home with plastic sheeting for protection…and we are always conscious of safety during the demolition process. Once all the demolition is complete we are likely to soak the ground if we are in the dry season, to keep down the dust and make it easy to work the soil.