One of our projects this year is to improve drainage on the south corner of our house and keep water from entering our basement. While the wet conditions this past winter were not typical, and many Madison residents experienced unusual water in their basements like we did, I believe that extreme weather conditions are only becoming more common and an ounce of prevention now will prevent a pound of problems in the future.
The first part of our project was to remove the landscape timbers on the southwest side of the house. A landscaper had suggested that the timbers were preventing water from draining away. He suggested that they be removed prior to regrading along that side of the house. We decided that we could do this work ourselves, so we set to work in the spring to take out the timbers.
We thought that an axe and a wrecking bar would easily rip up some old timbers, but that wasn’t the case. Wearing safety glasses, we chipped, hacked, and pulled without managing to get the 3” x 4.5” x 8’ timbers apart. They did not want to budge. We worked around the nails with the axe so that we could get the wrecking bar under the nail head and try to pull it out, but mostly we got a lesson in the strength of our landscaping.
Progress finally came after we found our saw. It had been packed from our move to this house last June and was one of those things on our ‘missing’ list that we didn’t know we had anymore. My husband sawed the timbers into sections. This allowed him to remove enough material to get under the timbers and pull them out. We were surprised to find that there were 1.5-foot long timbers buried vertically in the ground and that the nails holding them all together were 8-inches long! It’s good to know they were installed by someone who cared enough to make the landscaping durable.