Filling in holes in the yard: the most ridiculous post ever


It was a really beautiful weekend, weather-wise, and we had a much more open schedule than usual. No math tournaments, no plays or rehearsals, no birthday parties, no pet adoptions….the only thing we had Saturday was our neighborhood’s annual barbecue, and that didn’t start until five.

So–yardwork! We would get ALL the yardwork done! We would weed and mulch and trim hedges and cover up the garden bed and be pretty much DONE until spring.

Was the plan.

Then, Friday night, Dave discovered a surprisingly and alarmingly enormous hole in our front yard.

We have approximately two trees on our half acre lot. We didn’t think this was particularly odd until after we bought the house and gradually realized thatΒ every other lotΒ in the neighborhood is heavily wooded. Really. Every other house has tons of trees. Including the neighbors on either side of us. So it’s like trees, trees, trees, trees, our big empty lot, trees, trees, trees, trees.

Neighborhood lore, a.k.a. what the neighbors told us, is that a few years ago a tornado took out a bunch of trees in our yard and whoever owned the house back then decided on clearing out all the trees as the cheapest or easiest way to deal with the aftermath.

I love trees, I really do, but I have to say yards without them are a lot easier to deal with.

So mostly we get along just fine in our big treeless yard. Except. Whoever took out all the trees did not do a particularly thorough job of it (story of our house. Or at least any parts/projects not original to the house). What we have in our yard now in place of trees is a bunch of big, unexpected holes where there are rotting stumps that no one ever bothered to deal with. This makes our yard more….exciting than we really want it to be. It’s kind of like in Poltergeist where they built the new houses on the old cemetery and just moved the tombstones but left the actual graves….only the trees were the tombstones, and the stumps are the corpses, and the worst thing that happens is a sprained ankle, not one of the kids being sucked into the TV.

Funny story about our dangerous holes: a few weeks ago we had a fire going in the fire pit, and I was carrying Fiesta the Beagle across the yard to bring her inside. I stumbled into one of the big dangerous holes, twisted my ankle, and fell….dropping Fiesta a very small distance onto the ground as I did so. Gus came running over immediately, full of concern….ran right past me and my hurt ankle, kneeled down by The Beagle, and asked her gravely, “are you okay, Fiesta?!” She was, by the way.

Okay, so anyway. We’d known all about these holes in the backyard that we needed to deal with for a long time, but we were shocked to discover such a giant hole right in the front yard. So shocked that we spent nearly the whole day on Saturday dealing with it.

Until we could fill it in, we put this on top of it to protect people from accidents:



The kids call him Mary Shelley.

Dave had read/heard from a couple of different sources that a mix of sand and dirt was a good way to fill in our holes. So Saturday morning he headed off to Lowes and came back with 3 bags of sand and 2 of soil….for a total of about $20.



First we had to stand around and be impressed with how deep the hole was:



Almost 3 feet!

Everyone was a little obsessed with the hole. The kids decided to put a time capsule in it (I have no idea what’s in the time capsule):



I decided we should put Abe in it:



….but that didn’t last long, because Abe was immediately like, “what the hell is WRONG with you people?! You don’t put babies in holes!” So we had to take him right back out. He’s no fun.

We mixed up the dirt and sand:



…and this is probably the part where we SHOULD have started filling in the hole, but Dave got really, really invested in trying to get out the remaining hunk of rotting stump. His reasoning was that the stump was going to continue to rot and that we’d be right back where we started, with a big hole, once it decomposed some more. I pointed out that, while true, this would happen pretty slowly and we could just add more dirt as needed.

But Dave was determined. He tied this rope around the stump and pulled:



No luck. I had almost convinced him to give up when suddenly he exclaimed, “Wait! My tractor!”

“You don’t have a tractor,” I said.

It turns out he was talking about the lawnmower, which he insists is a “lawn tractor.” Okay.

Naturally, everyone was incredibly excited about this new development.

“This is perfect! This is going to work!” Dave said.

He was wrong.




I won’t say the stump wouldn’t budge, because it DID kind of budge. It just didn’t come out.

After quite a few attempts with the, err….tractor, I convinced Dave to give it up. And we finally filled in the hole:

filling-in-holes11 filling-in-holes12


I’ll report back on how the sand and soil combination holds up over time (and what kind of luck we have getting grass to grow in our bald spots).

Dave filled up a total of five holes (the one in front plus four in the back–the ones in back not as cavernous) with the $20 of dirt and sand. We’re thinking another $40 or so might take care of all of them.

For now, you are all welcome to come hang out in our front yard, but we’ll still have to make you sign a waiver before you venture out back.


Filling in holes in the yard: the most ridiculous post ever — 33 Comments

    • Thanks, Suzan! We could have just left Mary Shelley there forever, I guess, but it seemed like this solution would please the neighbors more πŸ˜‰

  1. Haha, that’s something my hubby would do, to run past me. Abe doesn’t look too happy in the hole!
    Glad the holes are gone πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, I think the picture is definitely worth the psychological damage from the few seconds when he probably thought we were going to leave him in there forever πŸ˜‰

  2. I don’t understand what Abe’s problem was. Isn’t he used to all the shenanigans around there?! πŸ˜‰ Seriously this post was hilarious. Glad some of the holes are gone. I refuse to sign a waiver and will be over shortly. Also I agree with Dave…that’s totally a tractor. Love, The Girl who now lives in the country

  3. Funniest post about a yard hole I’ve ever read. We tied some old shrubs up to the bumper of our car and tried to rip them out of the ground with the force of the car once. That’s probably the day that removed all doubt in our neighbor’s minds about just how redneck we really are. I think Abe just needs more time in the holes, to get used to it.

    • ooh, I can’t believe Dave didn’t think of tying the rope to the car! I won’t let him see this comment, lest he go dig the hole back up and try again πŸ˜‰

    • Pinterest isn’t ready for Abe in a hole! If I’d put my cat in a hole, though, there’d be NOTHING ELSE on the internet within 24 hours πŸ˜‰

  4. OMG! This post had me rolling! I mean rolling girl! When you said holes I was thinking like 5 inches or so…what the heck…3 feet!!!!??!! That is insane! And how funny that your little man went to help your pup first…ha classic! And little Abe! Oh my…his face said it all! This is just the best…thanks for making this tired mom laugh out loud!!!

    • Right?! I have no idea how that hole got so big without us noticing it before….maybe it kind of collapsed from underneath? I’m sure there’s some complicated geology going on πŸ˜‰

  5. Oh boy… Reminds me of pulling roots of vines. Don’t use the car – when it does let go, the roots will smash right through the rear window. I know from experience. What does work is converting your forward force to an upward force through… SCIENCE!! Take a 4X4 (or bigger) and bury the end of it in a hole about a foot deep, so that the ‘up’ end is over the hole. Tie the top off to… whatever using three lines (simple stakes in the ground are OK). Now get a rope going from the roots to a pulley and then to the car. Tadaa! you built a crane. Drive car forward, pull roots up. Look up rigging a “Gin” or “Sheer Legs” for details (

    Also, Abe looks quite distressed. Being hole-sized may not be a good thing for him!

    • Getting some upward force in there was the next thing on Dave’s mind, when I finally convinced him we’d spent enough of the weekend on this ;). I’ll show him your comment, though–I’m sure he’ll want to try this for one of the remaining backyard holes!

  6. OMG Abe is priceless in that hole. But I think it was good that you didn’t leave him there or you would have had a talking bump in the lawn. I think your neighbors would have looked at you funny :b Dave’s TRACTOR rocks!!!!

  7. Sure looks like a lawn tractor to me! A lawn tractor is a riding lawn mower that does more than just mow the lawn. So if it has the ability to use attachments for tilling the garden or digging posts or a hitch to haul a trailer, that there is a lawn tractor. We just bought one this year with our new house. We also refer to it as “the wheel barrow with an engine”, since the primary non mowing use is hauling stuff with the trailer.

    • okay, then–he says he thinks it can do those things! Not that he DOES do any of those things….but apparently he could πŸ™‚

  8. I don’t know you, but I have 10 kids and a yard FULL of holes, some the result of those same kids and not tornados or trees. I have often wanted to put my kids in those holes, though usually when they get a bit older! As for the effort to pull the stump out, we tried something similar, but with a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck instead of a “lawn tractor.” It was a particularly stubborn azalea stump. ‘ Long sturdy rope secured, tied to the trailer hitch…truck driving away, about 200 yards…when the bush gave up and let go of the ground, at which point, it came flying across the yard with enough ” bungee” speed to decapitate anyone standing in the way. Thankfully, I moved. It smashed right through the back window of the truck, to the shocked silence of my 10 kids and me, followed by thunderous laughter ( and 100 insurance deductible.) I resisted the urge to shove them all in that whole. Guess I will go get some sand.

    • HAHAHA! When I first started reading your story, my mind wandered and I remembered that we’ve since bought a Ford e350 to tow our travel trailer with and that I bet IT could get the job done….I’m glad I finished reading before we rushed outside to give it a try!

  9. Omg! Glad I found this. Its a Classic! I just finished breaking a stump apart with a hammer. It had been rotting for 4 years, and came apart in chunks…down 3 feet. Now, to fill it, so I can drive over it without losing my car. Meanwhile, it seems to serve as a sandbox!

  10. So, how is this holding up? I just bought a home with several holes, and I was planning to do the same thing, sand mixed with soil in each one. Thank you for any info!

    • It’s holding up pretty well! It’s sunk back down a little and could probably stand some topping off, but it’s not dramatic. Dave’s switched to filling the many holes in the backyard with a combination of dirt and bags of pea gravel instead….I can’t remember what his rational was for the switch, though. At any rate, both methods seem to be working okay.

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