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NotSoHandy52 06-07-2013 09:03 AM

Spongy lawn in backyard, don't know what to do
After finally getting the new house in order I can now focus on my backyard. After mowing it for the first time I noticed the lawn in the backyard was spongy. There were a couple of chipmunk holes but not much else. After having a housewarming party last weekend everyone complained that the feet of their chairs kept sinking into the dirt and this was after a stretch of dry hot days.

The house is about 75 yards from a creek but there are not issues with the water table. My neighbor told me that the previous owner had an above ground pool in the yard for years.

So is it possible it is loose soil from that or do I have a more serious problem? Is there anyway to firm up the ground? I kind of broke the bank with interior renovations so I can't afford to hire someone this year. Any suggestion is welcome, thanks.

WindowsonWashington 06-07-2013 09:22 AM

Is it spongy all over?

I have seen voles tear up a yard as well.

nealtw 06-07-2013 09:32 AM

You can have the soil tested.

NotSoHandy52 06-07-2013 10:55 AM

It's mostly spongy in the middle of the yard where I suspect the pool was but it is spongy to a lesser extent throughout the back yard. Have not noticed same problem in the front yard

nealtw 06-07-2013 11:33 AM

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Perhaps the preveous owners releveled the yard when the pool was removed. OUt here people have made a business out of grinding up wood, letting it sit untill it turns black mixing it with a fine sand and sometimes just river silt and then sell it as top soil. A year latter all you have is sand, if they used something like that it may never firm up. Pulling plugs of soil from different areas of the yard might give you a better understanding of what you have. You can make a sample out of a peice of steel pipe you hammer into the ground and then use a slitely smaller wood doewel to push the soil out of it.

CallMeVilla 06-07-2013 12:48 PM

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OK, I'll toss something into the pool .... how long since he drained the pool did you moved in? Is it possible he super-saturated the ground by draining the pool in place and it is taking time to percolate or dry out?

Wait till middle of Summer and see if it firms up all by itself. Sometimes doing nothing is the first and best thing to do ... :D

rokosz 06-23-2013 09:35 PM

If you're in NJ, you've had the same rains I've had -- it could be seasonal/ variable with precip. How level are you with that creek? And what's on the otherside of you? Anything uphill? Got a basement? dry? sump pump? Notice it running even on dry days? If there's a bare spot (or you make one) you could try a liquefaction attempt: take a piece of plywood and get a few small children to bounce up and down, run on it. That should suck up water if its that spongy.

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