A skid steer can be a versatile piece of equipment to help with a wide range of landscaping projects. Learning about skid steers can help you be prepared to make good use of the equipment to make your landscaping easier and more efficient.
Also called the skid loader or skid-steer loader, this useful equipment was first invented in 1957, and has been a valuable and versatile tool for landscaping and construction ever since. Equipped with lift arms that can be affixed to different attachments to manage different tasks, a skid steer can be used for carrying, loading, digging, grading, tilling, and more. Easier to use than a conventional front-end loader, skid steers are more compact and feature zero-radius turning, making them more maneuverable in confined spaces or unusual layouts.
With the proper attachments, skid steers can perform a variety of landscaping tasks. Typical attachments can turn a skid steer into a mower, stump grinder, post hole digger, trencher, tiller, cement mixer, wood chipper, dethatcher, and more. With this versatility, it’s no surprise that skid steers are popular for any size landscaping project.
Many manufacturers have their own skid steer designs, including Bobcat, Caterpillar, John Deere, Komatsu, and Kubota, among others. While each design shares similarities, it is best to compare the exact features of different models to be sure you rent the best choice for your landscaping work.
Because a skid steer can be equipped with different attachments, the same piece of equipment can be used for different phases of a landscaping project without needing to rent entirely different machinery. For example, the same skid steer, properly accessorized, could be used to clear out brush, level a large area, dig a new flowerbed, prep the area for new irrigation, dig holes for adjacent fencing or a bird feeder pole, haul away debris, move pavers to the site, and position a decorative boulder. This versatility makes renting a skid steer to help with landscaping much more cost effective than renting different machines.
Using a skid steer can also help you complete a project more quickly, as it can be faster to switch attachments to move on to a new task rather than move different machines in and out of the same area as the project progresses. This means a shorter rental period and lower costs for the project, as well as less wear and potential damage to the surrounding area.
Finally, it can be easier to learn how to use a skid steer and its attachments instead of learning to operate multiple pieces of machinery. This can help you be more comfortable with the equipment so you can optimize its use for more efficient work.
When you rent a skid steer, it is important to be clear on what you need. First, plan the project so you are clear on the different steps from your initial work to the end result, and take care of any hand labor before renting gear so you can minimize rental charges. Consider the complete scope of the project and its different phases, including what skid steer attachments may be necessary for different landscaping tasks and whether an individual skid steer model can be equipped properly for the work. Note the type of terrain you will be working on and whether a model with wheels or tracks will be safer for the space, and whether its maneuverability will be suitable for any obstacles or limitations in the work area.
Take the time to learn how to operate the skid steer properly, including how to change attachments and what operational adjustments may be necessary with different attachments in place. Know how to lubricate the equipment properly, and how operation may need to be adjusted in different conditions such as during poor weather, over uneven terrain, or on a steep slope.
In order to avoid late fees or overage charges with the rental period, estimate the time you will need the equipment carefully, considering how weather changes or other setbacks might impact how quickly you can work. Take care to keep the equipment cleaned and in good condition, and know what steps to take in case of any troubleshooting needs. If there are problems, call the rental company immediately so it can be resolved without either damaging the equipment or upsetting your project.
With the right planning, a skid steer can help with your next landscaping project, no matter what that project may be. As you learn how many different ways you can use it, you’ll be impressed with the versatility of a skid steer and just how efficient it can be for all types of landscaping needs.