How to move soil for bed in middle of lawn


LawnSite Member
Bethlehem, PA
I'd like to create two raised landscape beds in the middle of my front lawn. I figure I'll need about 25 tons of screened top soil to create the beds. I want to avoid damage to the lawn, if I can. What's the best way to transport the topsoil across the lawn to the bed area? One bed is about 40 feet from the driveway, the other bed is about 80 feet. I can think of several ways to do this, but see problems with them all:

1) Wheelbarrow ... seems like this might be easiest on the lawn, but that's a lot of w/b loads, I figure well over 100 trips, probably too much to do myself. Would a contractor be willing to move 25T by wheelbarrow?
2) Very small skid-steer e.g. Dingo ... I can rent one for about $100/day, maybe could do myself, but it would still be 100+ trips (4CF bucket). I can straight-line over the lawn to both beds, to minimize the skid damage.
3) Medium skid-steer e.g. Bobcat ... fewer trips, but heavier machine = more damage or less damage?
4) Front-end loader, rubber tire (e.g. Deere) ... fewer trips yet, and no skid-steering, butheavier. Would this cause less damage than Bobcat?
5) Electric dump trailer, tow with my SUV, drive over lawn to bed & dump ... I'm guessing about 5 trips (5T dump trailer) ... or maybe make more trips with less weight to reduce lawn damage? Seems like I'll probably have to patch the lawn if I do it this way.
6) Seems like even a small dump truck would damage the lawn, even say a 5T dump.

What say the experts? Just give up and have it trucked in, and deal with the ruts & damage afterwards? Maybe that's less work overall than messing around with the other methods. What do the pro's do?

Any advice appreciated ...


LawnSite Member
Omaha, NE
If you can tow that heavy of a trailer.. rent a dump trailer and dump 5T at a time.

Otherwise, if a contractor is using a bobcat or something.. have them lay down plywood to protect the grass. I am sure this is something they would provide.

If you are doing it with a wheelbarrow, I'd probably lay down some plywood too.


LawnSite Member
Bethlehem, PA
Oops, DUH! You're right cashishift, I can't tow 5 tons ... SUV rated for 5500 towing. So I'd have to bring about 2-1/2 tons at a time -- ten loads. Although the supplier isn't too far away, only about 5 miles (10 mi round trip).

Any idea what it should cost to hire a contractor to install 25T of soil? Maybe not much more than renting a Dingo or dump trailer and doing it myself? (Dingo is $100/day, trailer I think is around $75)

Do contractors get a lower price on the soil itself, and make part of their money on mark-up of the product?


LawnSite Senior Member
Most contractors do get a lower price, depends on who they are. Mainly about 5 to 10 bucks a yard. They mark up of course, people need to make money. Call around for prices of soil. Ask them if they can refer someone they know.
Posted via Mobile Device