No matter what digging project you may be planning, renting the right equipment can make the task easier and more efficient. But what projects require digging, and which equipment is best for your plans?
Types of Digging Projects
A surprising number of different projects require at least some degree of digging, from post holes or shallow trenches to deeper holes of every shape. You may need to dig for nearly any project, including:
- Planting trees, shrubs, or other landscape plants
- Creating new flowerbeds or garden beds
- Adding on a home expansion, such as a new room or basement
- Installing or updating landscape irrigation
- Putting in a deck, patio, or gazebo
- Anchoring new play equipment for safe use
- Installing a pool, pond, or other water feature
- Clearing a ditch to improve landscape drainage
- Removing stumps or other stubborn plants
- Putting up a new fence
- Installing or replacing a septic system
Each project may require different types of digging, and the right equipment can make the project go more smoothly.
Before You Dig
Before you begin any digging project, it is critical to contact local utilities to check for buried lines, pipes, or wires. Calling 8-1-1 is a nationwide service to check for buried lines, or local companies may offer the service. It may take a few days for lines to be marked, but it is essential for safety while digging. Accidentally disrupting or damaging a line is not only dangerous, but can also be expensive and time-consuming to repair.
Before you begin a project, it is important to evaluate your soil as well. Soil that is hard-packed clay, for example, may require more powerful digging equipment for the best results, while soil that is very rocky or very sandy may also need specialized equipment for a digging project to be successful.
Rental Equipment Options for Digging Projects
Once you are ready to start a digging project, you need the best tools for the job. There are many different types of digging tools, from hand tools to major earth moving machinery. The most useful digging tools for various projects include:
- Hand Tools – From trowels and spades to post hole diggers and hoes, there are many different hand tools ideal for small digging projects. You may already have these tools in your shed or garage, or they may be available for rent or through community lending programs.
- Excavators – Powerful and suitable for many general digging projects, excavators come in different sizes and specifications. There are close radius as well as long reach options, and excavators may be either tracked or wheeled to work on different terrains.
- Backhoes – Best for larger, bigger projects, backhoes still come in different sizes to meet different needs. These machines are also great for backfilling projects when items may need to be buried or holes filled in.
- Trenchers – These specialized diggers are made for making ditches or trenches, ideal for installing underground irrigation pipes, electrical lines, or cables. Trenchers may be ride on, walk behind, or attachment designs, and come in different depths and widths.
- Skid Steers – Smaller and more versatile than larger machinery, skid steers are best for grading and leveling projects that accompany different digging tasks. These machines are lighter and more maneuverable than larger equipment, and may have tracks or wheels.
- Augers – These twisting diggers are ideal for creating holes for posts and poles, such as fences, decks, or signs. Augers may be 1- or 2-man tools, and have different diameters and depths to create holes of different sizes.
- Conveyor Systems – While they don’t dig, conveyor systems can help digging projects by easily moving displaced dirt away from the digging site. This is especially important for larger projects and can keep the work area clear of excess dirt and debris.
- Dump Trailers – Like conveyor systems, dump trailers can help keep the work area clear of excess dirt and other debris such as rocks or brush. Trailers come in different sizes and can be towed by an ATV, truck, or other vehicle.
Choosing the Right Equipment
The best equipment for your digging project will depend on several factors, such as the type of digging necessary, the soil type, and the overall scope and size of the project. Consider the work area and terrain, including how equipment may need to maneuver around obstacles such as corners, trees, or gates. Consult with the equipment rental company about your needs and which machinery may be best, and be sure to read all operating instructions and safety guidelines before starting the project. Also read the rental contract carefully, especially noting the length of the rental period and the terms and conditions for how the equipment is to be returned.
Choosing the best rental equipment for different digging projects can be a challenge, but with the right machinery, it is possible to complete any digging project safely and successfully.