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Want to build a tent pad/future cob house spot in my woods

 
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I have some building experience but no earthworks experience. I would like to build a campsite in our woods that may eventually house a little natural building in the woods. It will require felling some trees (I’ll favor a spot where only the baby trees need to go) and leveling.

My woods are on slope, there isn’t a single flat spot large enough. Additionally, all the water runoff from my property runs through them. I’ve got 30% grade for awhile, then a real sharp gradient increase until the very steep drop off to a seasonal creek ~60’ down. I’m going to want to build a flat space that can withstand water running across it or find a way to divert the water around it. It also needs to be done by hand- no heavy equipment.

Does anyone have some good beginner advice on how to start tackling this?
 
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Most tent pads I have seen are either basically a slightly raised wooden deck (which might work well on your sloped  land ) or a raised area of crushed stone or sandy gravel with a ditch around it to redirect water. If you are doing hand tools only, I might be inclined to do the deck approach - it can be a porch on your future building maybe?
 
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Get a good grub hoe and start leveling. Figure out how big your future build is going to be and then double the size for the pad, you don't want to crowd yourself while building. Move your excavated material to the sides to create berms and farther down the hill to extend the pad. Above the build site I would dig a curtain drain 1'x1'  and wrap it around the sides of the building site. Use the excavated material from the drain to create a berm on the side of the drain closest to the build. That should ensure no water runoff will get to your building site. This works great as you can later go in and plant straight into these berms for a small food hedge around the house.
 
S Greyzoll
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Daniel Ray wrote:Get a good grub hoe and start leveling. Figure out how big your future build is going to be and then double the size for the pad, you don't want to crowd yourself while building. Move your excavated material to the sides to create berms and farther down the hill to extend the pad. Above the build site I would dig a curtain drain 1'x1'  and wrap it around the sides of the building site. Use the excavated material from the drain to create a berm on the side of the drain closest to the build. That should ensure no water runoff will get to your building site. This works great as you can later go in and plant straight into these berms for a small food hedge around the house.



Thank you! The tool is one I don’t have so I’ll keep a lookout for a second hand one. Great advice on the berms and drain. Exactly the type of advice I was hoping for.
 
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Using logs or boards to make the outer edges of the pad will help keep your materials from washing away.
 
S Greyzoll
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Anne Miller wrote:Using logs or boards to make the outer edges of the pad will help keep your materials from washing away.



I was thinking about driving some 5-6’ wood stakes (small tree poles, dried and with a sharpened tip) maybe 3-4’ into the ground on the downhill side to hold said logs in place. My biggest concern being a washout, due to the water flow across the site combined with the soft, fluffy, loamy soil in the deciduous forest.
 
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Without seeing your layout it is hard to make a suggestion.

I like ditches to deter water because it is something I can do with a hoe.

One year our neighbor complained that rainwater was washing across his property.  The neighborhood is on a slope so all water washes from the highest to the lowest.  He didn't complain about the ten properties above our property that were washing onto our property.

Dear hubby was agonizing over the complaint so I grabbed a hoe and made ditches on either side of the driveway.  It worked, too.

We then put french drains ahead of the ditches.

Maybe something like this would work for your pad.
 
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