How To Grade A Yard With A Tractor?

If you want to grade your yard using your tractor, you’ll need to get a tool called a box scraper. This is an extremely handy tool to have on hand for filling holes, leveling soil, changing drainage characteristics and creating good looking, smoothly graded surfaces. All of this is essential if you want to prepare the soil surface for new sod, lawn seeding or any other landscaping project. Read on to learn more on how to grade a yard with a tractor.

Grading A Yard With A Tractor {Step By Step}

grading a yard with a tractor

Remember that no matter how good your tools, your own skills will play a big part in how well your landscaping project turns out. Don’t forget to check ROPS and other safety equipment you are going to use.

Follow these 13 steps to use a box scraper and your tractor to grade your yard.

1. Check The Box Scraper

Be sure that the box scraper is installed safely onto the hitch of your tractor. If you have a small, wheeled box scraper, there will only be one hitch. Adjust the scraper wheels as needed.

2. Hydraulic Hitch

If you have a larger unit, you’ll have a hydraulic, three-point hitch. It will have two attached lower arms and an upper link that is adjustable and can be set to make the unit sit level.

Attach the box scraper first, then make adjustments to the upper link. Be sure to keep the teeth and the shanks raised until you get to the place where you will begin work.

3. Hydraulic Lift

Make certain that the hydraulic lift is working properly. Take great care and follow all safety precautions by dropping the implement slowly to avoid damage.

4. Walk The Jobsite

Walk the jobsite to get any obstructions out of the way. Remove rocks, sticks and logs that might cause damage to your box scraper.

5. Mark Off Sensitive Areas

Mark off any areas that you want to preserve (e.g. roots of mature trees). Use stakes and safety ribbon to protect the sensitive areas. Remember that the roots of the tree typically extend as far as the drip line (edges of the branches) of the tree.

6. Check Your Farm Animals

Be sure that pets, children, wildlife and curiosity seekers are well out of the way before you begin working.

7. Prepare The Soil

Bring your tractor and box scraper to the worksite and prepare the soil as needed by using the back of your box scraper like a bulldozer to spread your pile of soil, gravel or other material.

Do this work carefully and safely by moving materials from the side of the pile rather than driving on top of large piles. Work systematically from one side of the pile to the other a little bit at a time.

8. Begin By Rough Grading

Lower the shanks of the box scraper the minimum amount needed to drag the area smooth. You want to begin by rough grading it so that you can look it over and make plans as to how you will perfect the lay of the land.

Moving slowly and carefully and thinking about what you’re doing as you work will ultimately save you a great deal of time and error.

9. Develop An Even Grade

Develop an even grade by dragging gravel or soil into lower areas first. Always consider your drainage plan while you’re working.

10. Take Care Of High Areas

There may be some high areas that will need to be cut down to maintain an even grade. To do this, lower the shanks of the box scraper and cut over the path several times, a little bit at a time to attain the required grade.

Work repetitively and systematically to create an even, rough grade. At this point in your job, you’re not trying for perfection.

11. Re-grade The Entire Area

Once you have all of the major grade corrections completed, you can raise the box scraper shanks and re-grade the entire area. Drag it with the shanks just minimally exposed or even completely retracted.

Check the slope and grade to be sure that they conform to your planned drainage pattern. Keep in mind that your drainage should always slope away from driveways, walks and buildings.

12. Do One Final Grading

Do one final grading with the box scraper shanks completely retracted. Your goal is to completely smooth the area. Your finished product should be consistently smooth with no high spots or hollows and the correct drainage in place.

13. Hand Rake

Hand rake as needed, and proceed with your landscape plans.

Yard Leveling. Compact Tractor Tiller And Soil Pulverizer

3 thoughts on “How To Grade A Yard With A Tractor?”

    • Which you choose depends a great deal on the amount of maneuverability you need. A small tractor with front end loader attachment may be a bit more nimble than a skid steer. For more details on this, see our new articles:
      – Which Is Better, a Front End Loader, a Backhoe or a Skid Steer?
      – Grading, Leveling & Digging With a Front End Loader


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