Plumbing update

Back in November, I was discussing our plumbing woes and thought I'd post an update. In a nutshell, our entire sewer line is being replaced because of old clay pipes that are being clogged with roots. We found a plumber who agreed to hand dig the line to avoid disrupting the landscape and he even came up with a different option that none of the other plumbers had mentioned. He suggested placing a pump in our basement and installing a new line that would only be 2 feet below the ground surface as opposed to 7 or 8 like the old one. (We were told that the "pipe bursting" technique, which I had high hopes for, wouldn't work for us because the lines had to be within 15 years old and laying on a gravel bed - whatever!)

The work started the week before Christmas and is still not completed, mainly due to rainy weather (I'm not going to complain about that!). Our estimate was 5 days work but in all honesty, the work hasn't bothered us that much. In fact, we (so far) have been pleased. The plumbers were very careful hand digging the trench which runs from our basement through a heavily landscaped area outside. A few rhododendron limbs was the only damage I saw.

This week though, things are looking a bit messy. Once they reached the driveway area in front of our garage and guesthouse (which serves as Christmas tree storage space) a backhoe was used and I was a bit shocked when I saw the outcome. Several limbs on the dogwood were broken off and everything in a planting bed in front of the porch was dug up. This included a huge hydrangea. I saw it sitting to the side while I was home for lunch and thought that it could easily be replanted. However, that evening, I was surveying the damage and I can't find it! I'm assuming that it is buried underneath that pile of dirt but I haven't seen the plumber to ask him about it. More rain yesterday so another delay. I'm not going to complain about anything yet though. I already have ideas for a new planting area in front of that porch. It was looking bad anyway. :)


  1. That looks pretty upsetting. Hope you can find the hydrangea. But it is always fun to plan a new bed, a good way to put a positive spin on it.

  2. My goodness what a mess! I would be a nervous wreck. It’s good you can make light of the situation and you’re already planning your new bed. I have ten trees and eight shrubs planted on an easement that I wasn't aware of, I just didn't think about it. One of my biggest fears it that one day I will come home and the telephone company will have ripped them up for something. They already came in one time and completely destroyed a bed and left it for me to find when I got home. No note, apology or anything. I heard somewhere that if you put up a No Trespassing sign they have to get permission before entering enclosed property. Does anyone know if that's true?

  3. Every gardener's nightmare, right? Not only a plumbing problem, but a plumbing problem in a nicely landscaped area. I mean, why couldn't god have put it in a place that already needed some good tilling??

  4. A word of encouragement: I had the same thing done a few years ago including having one of my hydrangeas dug up. It sat with its roots exposed on top of a pile of dirt for more than a week in January. After the trench had been filled in and my new porch and sidewalk built, I replanted the hydrangea and crossed my fingers. It survived the ordeal and has bloomed every year since.

  5. Having to go through this kind of repair enters all gardeners' nightmares, doesn't it? Maybe you'll find enough of the hydrangea to start it up again.

    Phillip, is burying the pipes only 2-feet still in code & considered safe in your area? The ground doesn't usually freeze here, but in IL the frost went deep. I think 4-feet was the rule there so the 7-to-8-foot depth is interesting.

    Along with your other readers I'm trying to learn about Alabama's weather.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. I appreciate your words of encouragement. Hopefully, it will all be over soon and I can get the garden back in order and we won't have to worry about our plumbing backing up again.

    Hydrangeas are tough birds so if I do retrieve it, I think it will be okay. Heaven knows I have enough of them anyway so I shouldn't be upset if this one is doomed.

    Annie, I have no idea about the plumbing codes but I trust the plumber. We rarely have long freezes - we might get a hard freeze now and then but it usually doesn't stay cold long.

  7. I'm sure you're new bed will be even better than it was.

    In the meantime, you sure have colorful soils.

  8. I'm with to go cautious with that sort of thing. Anyhow, I feel your pain! Planning some major renovations myself, I figured my best bet was to move all my plants out of harm's way in advance (to pots, beds, whatever) and save myself the stress. (Heh, well SOME of it, anyway! ;-)


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