How To Grade A Yard With A Skid Steer?

Having a skid steer makes it easy to grade and level your yard or other small areas. Assuming that you are proficient in operating this type of machinery, you simply need to follow the steps below. Read on to learn more on how to grade a yard with a skid steer.

Grading A Yard With A Skid Steer

grading a yard with a skid steer

1. Prepare the site

You may need to install silt fencing around the perimeter of the area you wish to grade. This is temporary plastic mesh or fabric fencing that’s about 3 feet high and has metal or wooden stakes built-in. This helps prevent rubble and debris from escaping your worksite.

2. Clear and grub the area

You may need to remove weeds and grass, trees, brush and rocks.

3. Establish your “spoils pile”

Make sure you know what you’re going to do with the sod and extra earth you remove. On a small farm, you may have many other uses for this debris. If not, you may need to hire a dumpster to carry it away.

Remember to establish your “spoils pile” in a convenient location that will be easy to access when the time comes to move the rubble for disposal.

4. Calculate any added soil you may need

If you’re trying to fill in a very low-lying area, you may need to import topsoil. Figure out exactly how much you’ll need well in advance and have it delivered to have everything in place when you’re ready to begin.

5. Underground Dig Alert

Get in touch with Underground Dig Alert before you begin working. Mark off the area where you plan to work, and find out whether there are any utility lines or pipes underground that you must be aware of.

6. Use your bobcat to cut the grade

Begin working in an area that is fairly level and close to the grade you desire. Lower the bucket attachment to shave off irregularities and bumps.

When you first start out, you can simply make adjustments based on the way the results look. Very high areas may cause your skid steer to bog down. When this happens, just back up and try again.

7. Shoot grade elevations

When you have finished clearing the site and done a rough cut on the grade, you’ll need to shoot grade elevations. Once that’s done, you can install grade stakes to guide you as you finish grading your yard.

You’ll need to use a leveling rod and a builders transit to get precise measurements. You should have an assistant to help you with this unless you’re using a laser transit, which requires a bit of experience.

8. Check the finished grade against a benchmark

You must set up a benchmark such as the uppermost part of the foundation of a nearby building, the top of a patio or even the floor inside of a building or house. The finished grade should lie uniformly below or above your benchmark measurement.

After you have established your benchmark, you’ll be able to shoot the grades through the entire work area. This will let you know exactly where you need to remove or add soil.

9. Take the measurements

With your assistant holding the leveling rod at the top of your benchmark, look through the builders’ transit and jot down the measurement.

Next, your assistant should walk around the grading area holding the leveling rod while you calculate the rest of the measurements.

In areas where you need more soil, your measurement will be larger than your benchmark. In areas where you need to reduce the soil, your measurement will be smaller than your benchmark.

Jot down the differences on stakes and drive them into the soil at the points where your assistant held the leveling rod.

10. Make the final grade

Use a 4-in-1 bucket attachment to make the final grade. Adjust the bucket so that the front is a little bit higher than the back. This enables you to scrape the grade using the back blade.

Doing this, you’ll be able to see what you’re doing as you plane the grade. Work slowly and deliberately and make slight adjustments as needed, using the bucket to both spread and scrape the soil.

Grading Yard With Skid Steer / Landscaping Install

Final Words

As you can see, although the grading of the yard requires certain preparations, it is not super difficult if you know how to use your skid steer. It is actually one of the jobs that you can offer to do for other farmers to make some extra money.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Farm & Animals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of farm animals. Farming makes as much sense as the sunshine in our world.

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