After our house was built there is quite a bit of hardfill (river pebbles) mixed up with the topsoil around the section (approx 180sq.m.). We want to level the section, and loosen the top layer of soil to ready it for laying a lawn and growing a garden, and we're wondering what to do about the pebbles.
We understand that leaving too many stones in the soil will reduce the capacity of the soil to hold moisture and can also prevent tree roots from forming normally so we're considering sieving the soil somehow. It sounds like the local landscaping contractors can't help us with sieving, so I suppose it will have to be done manually.
We'd be happy if we could remove any stones with a diameter of 20mm or more.
Ideas so far include:
- bird-netting (dump the soil on top, then lift the netting); this might be hard work when it comes to breaking up clumps of soil?
- a wooden frame (supported, somehow) covered with chicken wire (several layers of wire to reduce the gap size); this might get stones stuck between layers of wire
- something more rigid from the local building recycling firm (have yet to see what they've got)
I would really appreciate any other ideas, or accounts of what's been tried and has proven effective. Thanks!
[Edit] Have added a photo to give an idea of what we're dealing with. This soil was dug up and scattered around the left side of this photo by contractors putting in the fence post to the left.