Garden Design

How To Clear Land To Create a Garden

Looking to transform your land into a beautiful outside garden but don’t know where to start? Well, first you’re going to need to do some land clearing. Land clearing is the process of removing any rocks, debris, and unwanted foliage or trees. Giving you a blank slate to work from.

Land clearing can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite straightforward. This guide will explain the overall process of how to clear land and what you’ll need to do it. We’ll help you prepare your property for that incredible garden you’ve always dreamed of.

Step 1: Planning

This might seem obvious. But figure out where exactly you want your garden to be. When you establish where you want your garden to go you can plan your garden layouts.

Will it be the entire backyard? Or just a small section of it?
As soon as you know what area you’re dealing with you can identify what needs clearing. This includes any shrubs, trees, weeds, rocks, and such that are in the way of your soon-to-be garden.

Certain trees have tap roots that are hard to dig out. Hickories, white oaks, and walnuts are especially troublesome.

It’s also a good idea to get your utility layout. That way, if you need to do any digging (you may need to for tree or stump removal) you know exactly where your utility lines are. Your local municipality should be able to give you that information if you don’t have it.

Don’t forget to plan your budget as well.

At a minimum, budget for heavy equipment to do land clearing and a dumpster for disposal. Again, considering the area that you’re clearing is key.

There are three factors to keep in mind when budgeting for heavy equipment.

Project Requirements

What’s being cleared off the land? How much refuse is it going to generate? How big is the area that the heavy equipment will be operating in?

Big trees with deep roots on a large open property require different heavy equipment than a small backyard with limited room to maneuver and a couple of shrubs to clear.

Rental Costs

What do you need versus what can you afford?

With a limited budget, getting a versatile machine that can do everything will be more cost-effective. If getting the job done faster is more important then specialized equipment could be the better option.

Site Access

The heavy equipment you hire needs to be able to get to the area you need it. Can it actually access the site?

If the area of land being cleared can only be accessed via a narrow path you’ll be limited to heavy equipment that can fit on the path.

Step 2: Selecting Heavy Equipment

As we mentioned before, the type of heavy equipment you need will depend on your land-clearing project.

Land clearing jobs for an outside garden are generally small. In this case, a mini excavator or a skid steer is best. They are smaller and have greater maneuverability. Plus a variety of attachments like mulchers, brush eliminators and grapples.

It’s an all-in-one solution, removing the need to hire different equipment.

The mini excavator or skid steer is also a cheaper machine to rent. Especially since they don’t require a professional operator. You could operate it yourself which lowers your project costs.

GradingThat being said, hiring an operator is recommended.

Professional operators will get the job done faster. They’ve got the experience and won’t accidentally cause property damage or injure someone. They’re also insured. So if anything did happen, you’re not liable.

If you’re still a little uncertain about the best heavy equipment to get for your project you can talk to your rental company. There are many reputable earth-moving companies online that hire the kind of heavy equipment you’ll need. Just explain your situation and they can help you out.

Step 3: Remove Trees

Removing trees will be your most difficult task. So start by removing any trees or tree stumps you don’t want in your outside garden.

If you have a mini excavator or skid steer, you can use the grapple attachment for removing trees. A tree shear attachment will also work.
Use that utility layout so you don’t accidentally hit an underground utility line.

Step 4: Land Clearing

Using the heavy equipment you hired you can start land clearing. Clear away all unwanted trees, shrubs, or debris. The bucket attachment on a skid steer or mini excavator is perfect for this.

It’s best to clean up as you go. Transport all the debris and foliage to your dumpster or truck as you clear the land. Rather than heaping it into a pile to deal with later.

If you end up digging you’ll likely have excess soil to get rid of as well. Stash it somewhere out of the way — you may need it for land grading.

Step 5: Grade the Area

To achieve a level (flat) garden area the land needs grading. Using a ground-leveler attachment on a skid steer will get the job done.

GradingAny grading should slope the land away from your home or any building structures. This is to help with drainage. If it rains you don’t want water heading toward a building. That’ll damage the building and cause long-term problems.

If you’re really concerned about the drainage from your garden then hire a professional land grader.

End Notes

Land clearing is essential to creating a beautiful outside garden area. Heavy equipment makes it quick and easy to clear land. Plus, you can do this yourself without hiring a contractor or landscaping company. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful garden in no time!

About the Author

Dustin JohnsonDustin Johnson is the marketing manager of FotisHD and an enthusiast in construction and heavy equipment. Construction has been an integral part of his life, and he is proud to be able to continue to build his future in such an exciting industry. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to be involved with many engaging projects and is appreciated and valued for his work with the contracting team.

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