Idiotic question, I know...but how exactly do you level ground?

JanetSmithery

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 11, 2010
72
0
39
Eugene, OR
I'm just about ready to break ground on my coop, and I'm absolutely terrified. As the lone girl in my family, I was never really allowed to help on construction projects. I kinda know the "theory" of it, but man...I really don't know if I'm up to this task.

I believe that I at least need to make sure my foundation is level. As I'm basically going to be building the coop on a pressure-treated wood foundation, I think this means that I need to make sure the ground is level.

I think that "make sure the ground is level" means adding more dirt to the lower places and tamping it down as best I can. Is it really as simple as this? If so, how do I make sure that two points 10 feet apart are level? Does it matter if I use sand or gravel? Does it have to be dirt?

An aside: If I'm using pressure-treated wood as a foundation, should I get some concrete pavers and set them at the corners and make sure the pavers are level? I seem to recall my dad doing something like this when he laid a paver patio, but have no idea how he did it.
 

Dar

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 31, 2008
5,929
30
251
we used a plumb line, a shovel and a 2X4 to scrape it down

the plumb line was to make sure we did not raise it to high in some places.
 

sixinva

Chirping
10 Years
Apr 6, 2010
47
3
77
or if the ground isnt incredibly unlevel, one thought might be to raise the coop up off the ground on 4x4's, and screen in the underneath. My chickens hang out under there all the time, especially to escape hot sun or rain.....So you just put in the 4x4's, and then make sure your 2x8 apron is level, then put in floor joists and off you go....im having trouble uploading a pic, but take a look at some of the raised coops on this site, and you will get the idea. Plenty of advantages to raising the coop,.
 

JanetSmithery

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 11, 2010
72
0
39
Eugene, OR
Okay, I clearly don't know what a plumb line is: I thought that was where you dropped a weighted string from a height to find a true vertical line, which wouldn't be right in my horizontal situation.
 

cambriagardener

Songster
10 Years
Apr 27, 2009
1,205
14
161
California Central Coast
You take some stakes and pound them into the ground at what you think will be the corners of the coop. Tie a string onto one and go around to each of the other three. Take a level and adjust the string until it is level between each stake. I've seen my DH do it a hundred times but don't know what it is called. Good luck.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
10 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,638
8,930
591
Wilmington, NC
There is a thing called (I think) a spirit level. It has a little window in it, with a tube full of liquid inside the window with a bubble in the liquid. When it is on a level surface, the bubble will be dead centered in the tube. Raise one end, the bubble moves. If you put a straight 2x4 on the ground on edge, and put the level on it, it can tell you whether the ground is level.

You can also use a milk jug, some clear poly tubing, a little water tinted with food coloring and a little ingenuity.
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
286
288
Grifton NC
Okay, I clearly don't know what a plumb line is: I thought that was where you dropped a weighted string from a height to find a true vertical line, which wouldn't be right in my horizontal situation

Actually, you're correct.

What you need is some stakes, some masonry twine, and a couple of "line levels"

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...mage_result&resnum=6&ct=image&ved=0CD4Q9QEwBQ

Drive the stakes in, stretch the twine, and hang the level on it, adjust as needed, then measure down from the line.
Its better to dig down the high spots than to fill in low spots.
It will be more solid that way​
 
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eds500

Songster
9 Years
May 27, 2010
146
3
139
Raleigh, NC
If you don't want to move alot of dirt around, you can only worry about the dirt that's in the paths of the foundation and making them level. So you might have one part of the run being an inch or two higher than the foundation. I would avoid gaps between the foundation and the ground at any point so you need to find the lowest elevation within the path of the foundation and dig the path from there. That way as long as you excavate on level you're foundation will be level. I wouldn't worry about making the dirt within the run precisely level either. A little slope is fine and promotes drainage.

Ed
 

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