Progress Report 14 – 30×48′ Pole Barn build


We bring in the big(er) guns to work on the final grade, septic riser, and trenching for gutter drains. There will be a large driveway and we need to make sure there is enough drainage to get all the water out and away from the foundation and septic systems.

Steps to building a pole barn
Starting out, I knew I was going to raise the level of the dirt on the West side of the shop so I bought a septic tank riser.
It comes with a drill bit and all the stainless steel fasteners. Just hammer drill around the top and tighten down.
Bingo, now next time we need to have our septic tank pumped it won’t be 2ft worth of digging, just about 6 inches or so.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here are the drains I built. They consiste of a gutter adapter, 45* wye with a perforated cap for cleanout and a 90* elbow to connect to the outlet tube. I figured it would be good to have a cleanout just in case I had a blockage at some point in the future. This would give me a good place to run a garden hose or something down it to clear it out.

Amazon is expensive on these drain parts. Just go to the local box store and pick them up. I had to go to two different stores (a Home Depot and a Lowes) to get everything rounded up.

Next I built some of these handy dandy elbows with a 45* wye for a cleanout.
Once getting the slope close with dirt, I then put a copule of inches of gravel in the bottom of the trench.
Gertrude was helping of course.
After smoothing out the gravel and checking slope again, I slid the perforated 4″ drain tube into it’s protective sock.
This is what makes it a ‘french drain’ the perforated pipe and sock allows the water to go through but not a bunch of dirt that would clog up the tube.
Once attaching the tube to the elbow, I zip tied it for extra security.
To keep water away from under the building I filled the first foot or so with dirt sloping away, then the rest was filled in with gravel.
Filled the rest of the trench in with gravel.
Now starting at the rear of the building, I installed an identical elbow with wye then established and checked grade with a laser.
Once grade was close I started filling the hole with a couple inches of gravel and checked grade as I went.

This part was frustrating. The internet says I should do about 1 and 1/4″ per 10ft of slope on drains. This is actually really challenging to attain. As I was working in the trench, I would get 10′ about right then as I continued working on the next 10′ more rocks/dirt would fall in the previous part of the trench that I had already set. After some choice words, I decided to just install 10′ at a time throwing the tube in and covering it up as I went. I ended up closer to 2″ per 10′ which was close enough for me. My gravel was also 3/4″ which was pretty coarse for this task.

Before I had finished the long trench, we got a bout of rain. Instead of repeatedly checking grade with the laser I decided at this point that if I could get the water to drain along the whole trench then I should be good to go. So I just dug it out with a hoe until everything seemed to be draining properly.
Once all the water had drained, I was able to assume that my slope was good enough to proceed.
Steps to building a pole barn
Sprinkled some gravel in the bottom of the trench and called it good.
Steps to building a pole barn
Brief intermission one night to help a buddy install a new bushing in his front diff. Apparently this is a super common thing on Toyota Tacoma’s, the drivers side axle shaft develops a vibration on the needle bearing in the differential especially when lifted. The cure is an aftermarket bushing with a super fancy coating on it and no needle bearings. So far so good.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here is the pond in our driveway that we have been getting every time it rained hard for the last 6 months…
Steps to building a pole barn
Another intermission because daily drivers come first (especially wifey’s). Typical Ford stuff, the sunroof quit, rear light won’t shut off and the battery had a bad cell. I got 1/3 fixed, still gotta get back to the other two 😀

Mini Skid Steer Time!

Steps to building a pole barn
Had to bring in the big(ger) guns. This is about all the Explorer can tow, but it was well worth it.

Finishing Dirt Work

Steps to building a pole barn
Spreading out 4 dump trucks worth of dirt on the west side of the shop.
Steps to building a pole barn
Don’t underestimate these little guys. This Vermeer weighs in at ~3,500 lbs and was a BEAST. It has a 1,000 lb ROC (Rated Operating Capacity) whisch isn’t much lower than smaller skid steers. It was great for going beneath the breezeway without worrying about hitting it.
Steps to building a pole barn
Finished up the rock at the end of the french drains on the West side with some leftover concrete washout pieces.
Steps to building a pole barn
I thought this part turned out pretty good. Should work well for years to come.

Trenching

Steps to building a pole barn
Started trenching for my driveway drain. Setting a 12″ x 12″ basin with dedicated 4″ solid corrugated drain tube.
Steps to building a pole barn
Trenched from the basin out to behind the 3rd car garage.
Steps to building a pole barn
The trencher attachment did a great job here. The previous owners had thrown some larger rocks underneath the gravel as fill which hung it up occasionally but once I got through that it went pretty well.

Dropping in the solid corrugated 4″ drain tube

Steps to building a pole barn
I made the trench deep enough for two 4″ drain tubes. From the 12″ basin I set the slope and put in its 4″ drain tube as seen here. I then just barely covered it up with dirt/gravel (so I could still see the top of the tube).
Steps to building a pole barn
Many evenings working into the night with a pick-axe and hoe to get the tube laid and slope correct. I still have blisters from this that are healing, it was not glamorous work…
Steps to building a pole barn
More drain stacks with cleanouts for the gutters coming off the breezeway.
Steps to building a pole barn
I used a T joint to connect these two downspouts together. One gets a lot of water and the other not so much. It should work out pretty well. Another couple of late nights here.
Steps to building a pole barn
All done and covered up.
Steps to building a pole barn
The last drain that would be under concrete was on the front of the West side of the shop. I had covered this trench up so I could drive the mini-skid steer over it. I needed to return the skid steer on Monday and ran out of time/motivation to re-trench it. I definitely regretted that choice when I had to dig this 20′ of trench by hand with a pick-axe…

That is all for now! The next shop update will be when I get concrete! Hope you enjoyed and got some ideas from my drainage solutions.

Now YOU, go outside and work on something!

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