I have been working over the last few months an area for a 24x32 pole barn. I have been tilling with a tractor tiller and scraping with the tractor bucket.
I am wanting to start on it again. It seems about 7 inches off from the highest spot to the lowest. The ground is hard now.
What would be the best way to do this? It is hard for me to eyeball. I am using string and a line level.
I guess what I am asking is should I keep using the tiller or should I have dirst brought in and try to build it up to level? Expense is a major concern as I have a new baby at home and we are going to have to buy another vehicle soon.
You have a couple of options: You can fill the area and compact the earth, using a level of whatever sort you're comfortable with. Unless drainage is a real problem, having a pole barn's floor a fraction of an inch off-level won't hurt anything.
Or, you can build the barn on the stand as-is, and proceed to fill and level piece-meal as you have money and time. One of the advantages of a pole barn is that it's an open structure until you decide to close it in. That means you can do a lot of the work normally done up-front after the structure is up. Leveling, placing a slab, enclosing bays -- all can be done after the poles and roof are in place. You can even do it one bay at a time, if you're so-inclined.
You probably won't be able to accomplish much with the tiller, unless you loosen up the dirt with it, then MOVE it to the low spots with your bucket (scrape box, or front-end loader?). Even if one end of the barn ends up below normal grade, you have the option of contouring the ground outside the drip line, and providing drainage swales around the barn to move water away. But still, the best option is to get all of the barn's floor area at or above grade at the "high" end. On a sloped lot, you'll STILL have to provide swales at the high end to move water away as it comes down the slope, toward the barn.
Building a pole barn on an out-of-level lot is a lot easier than it sounds. You get poles that are longer than you need by at least the greatest height out of level. You sink them all to the prescribed depth (as discussed at length in other threads here).
Then you secure your collar beams level on the poles, and cut off the tops of the poles after the fact. You'd end up doing that anyway, even if the lot were perfectly level, because it's hard to get all the poles buried so precisely that all the pole tops are level with one-another. Better to seat them without paying too much attention to precision depth, but well and hard - so settlement won't occur unevenly - then trim them all to finished height.
Don't know how you call it, but in German we call it "hose level". fill some transparent plastic hose with water and you have a level with unlimited length. That is if you hold the ends upright and don't close the ends. Ancient Roman technique.
An actual Pole Barn, right? I'm afraid I fail to see, or understand, how tilling the ground has anything to do with what you're trying to accomplish. So, either I misunderstand or you need to provide a lot more detail about whatyou're trying to build and how. Tilling is not a reliable way to move dirt around for levelling because it'll compress unevenly afterwards. Are you planning a bare dirt floor?
Get yourself one of those $10 laser levels. Sit it on a 4x4 or other wooden block, or bricks. Get it level and carry a yard stick along the light beam to find the high spots.Remember to add the thickess of the block under the level.
For a barn that size, 7 inches off is not all that bad. You may want some slope toward the door. Depends on what you are going to use it for. Assuming you are using center match (tongue and groove 2x6's) along the bottom, add a board or two at the lower end. You could always get a load of dirt and build up the low end somewhat at the end of the job.
I have built several pole barns and done so in hilly areas. Livestock dont care that my barn is a foot higher on one end. Just level the posts to be accurate to "true level", build it, put on your steel siding and add more center matched boards on the low end. I always have at least 6" of these boards below the ground. As it goes uphill, I just eliminate one board and step them up.
If your use will be for a garage, you may want to pour gravel inside to raise the floor above the outside soil level or you may have water running inside. Or, cement floor. I have a ditch outside mine, Just a simple hand dug thing about a foot wide and 5 inches deep. Of course mine is for livestock use.