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What to do before you start digging

During a landscaping project, you might need to do some excavation work to install elements, lay drainage or foundations. Before you begin the earthwork and excavation, it is important to consider a few things. It may seem complex, but the company you choose will take care of it. A professional will know exactly what to evaluate. He will also decide how to proceed in order to bring your project to a successful completion.


1. Check in-ground installations

Why should a professional verify the presence of buried utilities on the work site? To make sure that essential services are not interrupted, equipment is not damaged, soil is not contaminated and to avoid injuries. If you are in an area served by certain services, you must request the location of these services from Info-Excavation at least three business days before the work is scheduled to begin. If needed, they will come to the site to mark the location of the various utilities. They will send a written confirmation that the request has been executed. This request is then valid for 30 days.

Some cities are not part of the Info-Excavation network. In this case, a second request must be placed to have their services located. Finally, if you do not live in an area with services, you will certainly have septic installations and a well. You will therefore have to communicate their location to the professionals performing the work. You will also have to point the location of the pipes as accurately as possible.


2. Take a look at the soil prior to the excavation and earthwork.

A landscaping professional will conduct a soil assessment on site. This will help to prevent the risk of subsidence of built structures or the risk of additional costs. Knowing the type of soil, he will be able to advise you on the necessary measures to be taken to ensure the durability of your structures. Excavation depths, type of drainage required, installation of special separating membranes, installation of geogrids are some of these measures. He will also be able to inform you if certain risks of cost overruns are possible. In this regard, we often think of the presence of rock that will have to be blasted or broken with a hydraulic hammer, both of which are expensive activities.


3. Hire a company certified for earthworks and excavation work.

To make sure that the company is professional and trustworthy, you can check to see if they have an accreditation or a certification. In the field of landscaping, two certifications stand out with their norms and standard guarantees: the Association des Paysagistes Professionnels du Québec (APPQ) and Maître Paysagiste.

All in all, planning earthworks and excavation can seem complex, but when your project is in the hands of competent professionals, mistakes are quickly avoided. To properly plan your excavation and earthwork project, consult our guide on the 7 essential steps in landscaping.