DIY grading equipment

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  #1  
Old 06-07-18, 09:09 AM
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DIY grading equipment

My lawn is killing me, it's so uneven. Whoever graded property - 6 acre - for build out did absolutely lousy job. It's hillocks and valleys. waveform. Now that I have to mow around 4+ acre, it's killingly slow and I doubt mower will last long. It's more of obstacle course, than mowing.
I am leaning towards tossing towel in and re grading it. I can't re grade all of it, as 1.25 acre is wetland, legally, I can't grade it. But, I can do the rest.
I don't want to bring in dozer. Less worried about lawn, more worried about ruined driveway.
What can I rent, to handle myself, to take few days to learn machine and do the job? I am thinking along the lines of a skid steer with tracks. Basically, knock off high points and move dirt into low areas. I saw guy use SST bucket for shallow grading... But it really was just an inch or two depth job. I know you can get SST blade attachment, but don't see it in local rental places.
Anything else I should consider?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-07-18, 09:15 AM
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Hard to say without seeing what you have. I've done some rough grading with my tractor [manure bucket and scraper blade] but the finish work needed to be done by hand. Is it feasible to bring in a load of topsoil and deposit it where needed?
 
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Old 06-07-18, 09:56 AM
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What is an SST if it's not a fast flying passenger plane?

Skid steers can do a lot but I think you would be better suited with a tractor that has a front end loader and a box blade on the back. That will allow you to do the digging and move dirt as needed then you can do the fine finish work with the box blade. The box blade is much easier and forgiving than doing fine finishing work with a skid steer. A skid steer can do it but it can be harder as much of the work has to be done when going backwards.

Are you in a rural area? Depending on the size and openness of your property and obstacles having a farmer come over and rip up your lawn would make digging, grading and finishing easier and a lot faster since you'd be working with ground that's already broken.
 
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Old 06-07-18, 10:18 AM
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Problem is if you have grass it's impossible to grade without removing, grading then replanting.

As much as rollers are bad for the soil might give that a try in the spring when ground is wet to take down the high points.
 
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Old 06-07-18, 12:09 PM
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SST - Skid Steer.
We are allowed to bring 500 yards of dirt, one time, into property. That requires permit from county etc, and is literally cost prohibitive. Besides, it will have to be spread somehow.
What we are working with is leveling low hillocks. couple feet in diameter,anywhere from several inches to maybe a foot tall, but those are rare.
Yes, I get it, grass will have to be shaved down and it will look like battlefield after. Also, happens too be property front. But after 1.5 hr on mower, with wheels flying up into air then dipping down, creeping at maybe 1 mph speed - I am tired of this. I expect mower axle to snap any time soon, I honestly don't know how they hold this beating.
I know, I know, easiest would have been to get guy with dozer in and have it done in a day. Seed and have less to mow for a year. I just don't see how to get dozer in. Driveway is asphalt laid atop of thin gravel. 1.5 car width. Very abrupt edge transition to lawn. It easily crumbles when you hit edge with any of our cars. Running dozer across that ?
I could possible get it in through rear gate, from neighbors. it's all lawn there. But, we have trees planted in 3 rows, about 120 inches apart. Not sure how dozer will fit through. Neighbors have no problem with this, they just dozed their property and we have good relationship.
Besides, I do not mind having some fun with A machine. I like such things. Another reason is, it's wetland. I have it mapped, so I sort of know boundaries. DIY it I may "miss boundary" some, you know. Not sure how it may end with a hired hand. County is weird. You can get away with major stuff then they pag you for something small, so it's a toss. I'd rather DIY it, y'know.
 
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Old 06-07-18, 12:13 PM
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Harrowing won't do. I thought about that. Roller won't do either, it needs to be shaved flat. It's a blade or, similar, job. With good traction and some power. I was considering getting box blade, but those are not really grading tools, more to spread stuff around and on level ground.
 
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Old 06-07-18, 04:27 PM
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I've done this before with a box blade with the teeth on it to that can be lifted up after making the first pass.
One pass to break it up with the teeth down, another to level it out without using the teeth.
Once done we went back over it with a Harley rake and it looked like it had hand raked out.
You mentioned several time about a bulldozer, not even close to a dozer job.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 05:27 AM
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And, many box blades can shave off high spots if set properly. It's a very useful tool if used properly. A lot depends on how hard your soil is and the thickness of the grass. Thick grass can prevent all but the heaviest box blades from cutting through. In that case you extend the ripper teeth and make some passes to rip up the ground so the blade portion of the tool can then move the loose soil as needed.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 09:28 AM
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A compact tractor with a rear blade and bucket will likely be easier to handle and not tear up the yard as much as a skid steer. A skid steer will also do the job, it is just you might have to fix a few places.

Either way finishing the yard with a drag will give you the smoothest finish. A drag can be as simple as a pallet pulled with a 4 wheeler or mower.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 09:56 AM
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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yE...WC-7vMTENIeQ5N
It's hard to see in pics but you can spot at least major areas.

Tractor....

I have Foreman 500 ATV. Pulls 1100 lb. That's where my pulling power stops.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 10:04 AM
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I have Foreman 500 ATV. Pulls 1100 lb. That's where my pulling power stops.
That will be plenty good for a drag.

Yeah, that is pretty wavy. I would think you could use anything with a bucket to place the dirt in the low spots and then smooth it out with a drag, unless you want it perfect like a putting green!
 
  #12  
Old 06-08-18, 10:21 AM
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I think you have two options. You totally nuke the yard. Disc or rip it so you can grade it all. Trying to box blade or anything blade is going to be difficult. Most earth moving tools work best in dirt. Sod really gums things up and hurts the ability to do fine work.

The other option is to get a load or two of dirt and fill in the low spots. If you rent a tractor w/ loader or a skid steer for moving the dirt you can scrape off the worst of the high spots. I think you'll be able to get the yard 75% better for 1/4 the work and money of going all in.
 
  #13  
Old 06-08-18, 11:59 AM
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OK. Thank you, guys. Figure, renting a tractor will need a 4x4. I am badly trying to avoid buying a tractor. I don't really have much use for it. And they are pricey. Even used ones. If I were to get it more decent and level, I figure I can then harrow it once a month to keep in shape.

Some time end of summer. We have son's wedding mid July, it's knocking us out as is.
 
  #14  
Old 06-08-18, 01:01 PM
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You could always buy a used tractor and then sell it for close to what you paid for it. See the this conversation on that topic: https://www.doityourself.com/forum/l...equipment.html

But watch out, you might get hooked.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 02:07 PM
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With 6 acres I'm betting you'll find reasons to keep a tractor!
 
  #16  
Old 06-08-18, 03:16 PM
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With 6 acres I'm betting you'll find reasons to keep a tractor!
I would agree! I only have 4.5 acres and find plenty of uses for mine.
 
  #17  
Old 06-08-18, 08:16 PM
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Naahhh.. The Boss likes this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3RUifC7Uo8&t=365s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVIccK1ACq8

I really don't need tractor. No back hoe, no loader. Nope. A 4x4 mower, 72 inch deck, with independent suspension - that's different story. But not forking $16K for it.
 
  #18  
Old 06-09-18, 03:15 AM
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When I bought my property back in 91 I thought I needed a skid steer. At that time used skid steers were pricier than used tractors. I ended up buying an old ford jubilee with a manure bucket. I still have that same tractor and use it more weeks than not. I couldn't imagine not having a tractor and suspect if I had bought a skid steer I wouldn't have gotten near as much use out of it.
 
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