View Full Version : Whats best to level a lot with?

09-09-2002, 03:54 PM
Most of the time the builder we landscape for already has the lot leveled and prepped for us. We picked up another builder who wants me to level the whole thing and get it ready to build the beds and lay the sod myself. I can't wait! Maybe I'll be able to find a new toy to do it with.

Brandon Shaw
Evergreen Landscaping Concepts

Always Green
09-09-2002, 10:48 PM
What you got? I've used my backhoe (slowest) my trackloader(better) or my bulldozer(best) if you have a backhoe do the first few with that and see if you have the work for a dozer, you can find lots of used cat D-3's for around $15,000.00
or sub it out to a guy who has a dozer I get $575.00 per day for a dozer w/operator it may pay to do some this way he'll be faster than you and you can be out doing what your best at while he gets the lot ready for you.:drinkup:

09-10-2002, 07:06 PM
How rough is the lot you have to level. Here in Florida the lot is pretty level through out the building stage and just needs a final grading when it come to landscaping time. Here most people use a bobcat, or a landscape tractor.

Clean Cut Landscaping

09-11-2002, 11:20 PM
Seems like all good advise. I think the answer to the question is certainly a Bulldozer. That is what bulldozers are made for after all.

09-12-2002, 12:06 AM
Sorry to put a damper on the Bull dozer idea, they work great if you have many homes to do in one area (like a subdivsion) or are doing big areas, but for most single home work a larger skid steer will do fine work and in about the same time a dozer will do it.

09-12-2002, 12:23 AM
LOL!!! Grade with a skidsteer as fast or as well as with a DOZER???!!!! LOL! LOL! LOL!
Tears in my eyes laughing so hard
Oh boy thats rich. LOL

09-12-2002, 12:26 AM
I think you need to really see what a good skid steer operator can do in one day! You may laugh but I've have had operators put down 1500 cu yds of dirt in one day with one skid steer. Of course for what I pay them they should.

Also look at how I prefaced the question, are you doing just one lot at a time or a subdivision?

09-12-2002, 12:34 AM
Sorry man but you better refigure that.

1500 yards = 3000 .5 yard buckets. (Ya I know big skids will hold more, but we are in a hurry remember?)

10 hour day, = 1 bucket every 20 secs. That includes the time to fill bucket, drive to drop point, dump, grade, return to pile.

all day without stop, break, rest, or any other king or delay.

Hummm, let me think.

Nope! No Way!

Now with a nice Cat D5 with joystick controls.....`

09-12-2002, 12:45 AM
You sure it happened that way? But it did happen. but you know more than me I'm just a little old landscraper.

09-12-2002, 12:48 AM
Just yanking your chain man. I'm sure it did happen.

I gotta go to bed, More grass to clip tomorrow.

09-12-2002, 12:49 AM
Cat D5 with Hystat would be nice... If it's just finish grading a skid steer with a Harley rake would be best. If anything, a track loader with a 6 foot blade would get the job done, but a D4 or 5 Cat would be best for moving the most yds. per hour because of the Hp. You should look into a small Komatsu dozer. I see tons of them for sale for about $10,00-$20,000 if you plan on doing more of this kind of work. Kinda wish I had a need for one. :D

09-12-2002, 01:16 AM
Now to really move dirt you need one of these, my little tractor :)

It will pull 2 16 cu yd pans

09-12-2002, 11:26 PM
Most single lots around here are graded with Bobcats .... Not that big either. Usually a 863 and then they have a really small one for tight areas ( inbetween houses).

I personally spread and graded 24 yd loads in 20 minutes per load this summer. Not a wide open area with light posts and other obstacles. What you don't take into consideration Mow and Sow is that you do not have to pick up every single half yard bucket ...you can push alot of it around.
I spread the 1000 yard job over 2 short days because the heat and dust... graded good enough to lay sod on.

Mow and Sow,

Give me 1500 yards, a good machine , a wide open park to spread it in (probably where Paul's guys were)and I have no doubt in my mind that I can spread it in a day.

09-13-2002, 12:59 AM
Paul-Man, that thing is tiny! Right in there with JD's 4000 series. LOL. :laugh: Nice toy. Love to play with that one! What's the hp on that beast? Laser guided?

09-13-2002, 08:34 AM

"She" looks like a beauty! I have to admit my ignorance when it comes to heavy equipment. Being that we do 95% residential we would never have a use for it. Over the years I have had a chance to "play" on a few larger backhoes etc. I think I can run a bobcat with the "best of them"...
Here is my question .... do you think that if you are a good operator on small equipment that you can catch on to the bigger stuff fairly quickly? Or is it a whole other "animal"?

BTW ... I dont know what a 16 yd pan is .

09-13-2002, 01:30 PM

I think the first question is what kind of shape are the lots in? Most new homes are rough graded already, as the excavator who dug the hole prabably did some leveling when he backfilled.

Is the ground real rocky? Is there any topsoil there? Does the yard need major re-grading?

I'm on a job now where the house was built on a lot that was completely wooded......had to be cleared, the hole had to be dug, and over 100 tandems of fill brought in.....just to get rough grade.

Not a ounce of topsoil on the entire site. When they dug the house, all they hit was 2-6" rip rap........what a mess.

We had a dozer there for 3 days and a excavator on site the hole time to help get our grade.....now, its just a matter of bringing in soil.....lots of soil.....150 loads. How are we spreading it.......with a 2 yard loader and a bobcat 873

If you are bringing top in, then a skidsteer should be plenty. If you have to do major a great deal of work to the existing grade, then perhaps a dozer, or even a excavator may be needed for a few days. A excavator for a day can get a lot done and have the site prep'd for soil in no time.

Its hard to say without seeing the jobs.

Also, I think the clarification needs to be made on whether you are 'grading' the site for drainage and prepartion for top soil, or are you just 'preparing' the site for topsoil and seed/sod.


09-13-2002, 06:52 PM
Kris, heavy and light equipment operators kind of have different styles, and requirements. I can run that tractor but I can't cut dit very well with it, I try to take too much too fast. It works best peeling off 4"-6" a pass. A operator that installs pipe all day will have a better feel than a guy who digs house foundations all the time.

A 16 yd pan is a scraper type attachment that we pull, kind of like a self loading scraper.

Scag it only has 435 HP they now have them up to 600 Hp.

Steveair, Like Kris said every site is law to it's self, you have to approach jobs with the right equipment for that job, thts why they make so many different TOYs.

09-13-2002, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the info on the pan. Much like the machines I call "earth movers" that scrape the earth into their belly.

Always Green
09-17-2002, 10:11 PM
heavy equipt. operators and bobcat operators do look at things differently, I've always run cat dozers and we stear with our feet and control blade w/our hands, every time I get into one of those Bobcats I look like it's the first time for about an hour,then I don't look so bad but i'm not as fast as one of you bobcat guys. you bobcat guys must have had your Brains put in upsidedown so you can work with them.............just kidding no nastygrams please

09-18-2002, 08:14 AM
Sounds to me like some of your are talking about breaking the big equipment out for a small job that he's talking about. My interpretation is just finish grading to lay sod on probably a subdivision size lawn.

Most people I see around here on subdivisions that do the finish leveling for laying the sod use either a bobcat or tractor with box blade then toss sod.

09-18-2002, 10:52 AM
65hoss, thanks, I didn't know I would have the whole landscaping community in an uproar, but the replies were cool anyhow. I guess I'll try to buy a bobcat. Between this and other landscaping jobs I'll get tired of renting them.

09-18-2002, 12:19 PM
If you need to buy something, you should consider a tractor. They can easily pass over a lawn without tearing it to **** like a bobcat will. The only thing (basicly) that you can't do with it that a bobcat can is load into a 10 wheeler. Plus you have the 3 point hitch in back for all kinds of toys. Spreader, forks, rototiller, mower, box rake, harley rake, snow blower, etc. the list goes on snd on....

10-16-2002, 02:02 AM
nothing better than a harley rake !!quick an done rite

10-23-2002, 12:20 AM
like hoss said a tractor w/ a box blade would be just fine unless you are talking mojor leveling