Many people associate excavators both big and small with digging projects. However, with the right attachments and training, the best mini excavators are used for landscaping. The machine’s ability to lift, break, drag and press give landscapers what they need to perform a job quickly and efficiently. Its size and various attachments make the mini excavator the must-have machine for anyone looking to upgrade their landscaping business.
Use it wherever the project takes you, which could be a small backyard, a hard-to-reach patio or even a lake-side retention wall rebuild. Having a mini excavator on hand makes landscaping easier and more structured. Read on to discover how Holt of California’s mini excavators can help you with your next landscaping project.
4 Reasons to Choose a Mini Excavator For Landscaping
Why are mini excavators the best option for landscaping? Although you can use excavators for all kinds of construction work, when it comes to landscaping you should consider skipping over the standard or large excavator options to avoid the hassle of fitting a giant machine into a residential area. There are a couple of reasons to choose a mini excavator for smaller landscaping projects, like backyard renovations and neighbor water features. Let’s take a look at the top four reasons to use a mini excavator.
- Always ready for big renovations: The machine itself stays the same size, but the equipment attachments give the mini excavator multiple functions. The necessary attachments, including buckets to couplers, rippers, hammers, rakes and more, give a range of tools the construction site needs to complete demolition and rebuild with success. The attachments vary in all sizes too, which always creates the best fit for your landscaping project. With a mini excavator, the tools you need to complete a big project are at your disposal.
- Fits in tight spaces: Landscaping calls for specific needs in very unique settings. Small backyards, tight driveways or even uphill slopes make it difficult for larger excavators to fit into those areas without the risk of damage. When it comes to home landscaping and other small jobs, leave the big excavators at home. A mini excavator will be a perfect fit.
- Small impact: The size of the mini excavator not only allows it to fit into small space but also leaves a smaller impact on the ground. The last thing you want in a landscaping job is a spotless finished product next to the muddy, torn-up ground where a machine has rolled through. The mini excavator leaves less of an impact on the ground than larger machines do, and it has a smaller carbon footprint.
- Easy to transport: Due to its smaller size, mini excavators can be easily towed because it’s under a 10,000-pound weight limit. This means anyone with a standard C Class California driver’s license can transfer it from place to place without special permission or extra costs. Plus, there’s no hassle when it comes to removing the machine from a small space once the project is complete. It’s a win-win scenario with a mini-excavator!
The Functions of a Mini Excavator
Now that you’ve narrowed down the reasons for choosing a mini excavator for your next landscaping project, it’s time to consider how’ll want to use it. As mentioned before, the mini excavator is multi-functional with attachments that you can curate to fit your needs best. Here are some of the attachments offered for excavators:
- Buckets: Ranging in all sizes, bucket attachments have two distinct functions. The first is to use it to dig into the ground, fill the bucket with soil, rock, sand or mulch, and then remove it from the area. This separates any unwanted materials from the site, which then sets it up for its second function. You can use the bucket to fill an area with materials to pack it in an area or disperse it across new terrain.
- Rippers: Demolition may require another type of attachment that resembles a hammer. These are most commonly used for removing swimming pools, tearing through driveways and paths and breaking away old retaining walls. The hammer attachment applies pressure from the mini excavator to pulverize the material underneath it. Once the rippers break up the materials, it’s easier to load and clear out of the site later on.
- Rollers: These attachments do exactly what the name suggested: they roll across the area you’d like to press down, flatten, and smooth. For landscaping, this attachment is ideal for compacting the soil. There are types of rollers for all kinds of projects. You can choose from tamping, smooth, vibrating and more. Plus, using a mini excavator to compact soil is faster and more efficient than compacting manually.
- Augers: For a precise, measured dig, the auger attachment helps create deep, narrow holes. In landscapes, this attachment can help plant trees or line fence posts. With the mini excavator, an auger can reach over obstacles in the way, including other trees and patios to drill holes with accuracy.
Buckets, rippers, rollers and augers come in all different sizes for mini excavators. Choose the best one for your landscaping projects to save on time, manual labor and the expenses of extra equipment.
5 Ways To Landscaping Uses for a Mini Excavator
Landscaping is a big task, especially when it calls for machinery like a mini excavator. Now that you understand the functions of the attachments, let’s look at all the ways to use a mini excavator to get your landscaping job done right.
- Demolition: In new construction, it’s not uncommon to need a little removal of the old to make room for the new. Taking out a patio, old swimming pool or even breaking down rock from an uphill landscape can all be done with the help of a mini excavator. With attachments like hammers and buckets on an excavator, the demolition process is effortless.
- Building foundations: As previously mentioned, rollers make it easy to apply the right amount of pressure to any area that needs more space, or to level out a surface. For landscaping, this may mean flattening out a space for a retaining wall, water feature or stone patio.
- Planting trees or building a fence: For the landscaping jobs that require adding new trees, flowers, bushes and other plants, the mini excavator can be a big help. Whether you want to dig up ground with the bucket or drill precise holes with the auger attachment, the mini excavator can help you get accurate placement every time.
- Grading: With an attachment like a backfill blade, which resembles a large snow plow, you can reshape or re-elevate land. You can also use grading to slope the land to avoid water drainage and erosion. This function is crucial for projects like setting up a retaining wall or raising the ground’s elevation to avoid flooding. In the long term, grading helps avoid other landscaping issues caused by water damage.
- Clearing or mowing: Mini excavators can give you the advantage you need to clear out overgrown areas of the landscape. You can clear thick brush, cut high grass and even remove trees with a flail mower attachment. Its short metal pieces are attached parallel to an axle and move rapidly to cut the desired landscape. This function makes clearing out the area less intensive than doing it manually.
The mini excavator provides all kinds of functions to make the construction part of landscaping effortless. With the right attachments, this multi-purpose machine offers everything you need to remove, build, shape and design. What function works best for your landscaping needs?
Practicing Safety with Your Mini Excavator
Although they are smaller than most other excavators, mini excavators are still heavy machines that require maintenance and safety precautions. Before introducing a mini excavator to your landscaping projects, it’s important to understand the proper ways to use the machine and practice safety at all times. Here is a list of ways to keep you and your coworkers protected while using a mini excavator with any of its attachments.
- Receive the proper training: Whoever is going to work the mini excavator needs to have initial operational and safety training. Training courses are available online and in-person and are usually discounted for big groups or companies looking to certify all their employees. Learning how to handle heavy machinery is required for anyone working in a construction setting.
- Always wear protective equipment: While operating the mini excavator, it’s important to wear the proper protective equipment (PPE). Wear reflective vests, sturdy work boots, hard hats, and safety glasses while working on a construction site, especially when heavy machinery is present. In some situations, gloves and earplugs are also necessary. Make sure to prepare yourself for any situation and always wear what’s appropriate on your work site.
- Use a seat belt: Safety first is the number one rule on every job site, so it should go without saying that you should wear a seat belt while operating a mini excavator. Although it may not move fast, the machine still runs the risk of overturning or colliding with something else. Keeping your seat belt on will ensure your safety during potentially dangerous situations.
- Maintain three points of contact: While entering and exiting the mini excavator, it’s important to maintain the standard three points of contact with your hands and feet. Always keep at least one foot and both hands or one hand and both feet stable on the machine at all times. This makes it less likely for you, the operator, to suffer a fall while climbing in and out of the seat. Always be aware of your surroundings like keeping the three points of contact with any machine while on the job site.
- Enforce the safety interlock: Many mini excavators are equipped with safety systems that keep the levers locked inside. This will prevent people from accidentally bumping or hitting anything that may make the machine jolt while entering and exiting. The safety interlock should always be in place until the operator is fully seated, buckled in and ready to get to work.
- Position the blades properly: While the mini excavator may seem smaller than most, the weight distribution can be easily disturbed. To maintain balance and safety, always position the blades and any other attachments towards the back of the excavator. If the blade faces forward it could make the excavator tip while the machine is in motion. Along with this, it’s important to keep in mind the load limits your excavator can carry. Too much weight can also shift the machine off balance.
- Adjust the track tension: Develop the habit of checking the tension of the rubber tracks on the mini excavator before and after each use. A track that is too loose or too tight can lead to wear and tear on the machine and expensive repairs. Tracks need to be adjusted depending on the terrain of the work site. Always pay close attention to the condition of the landscape and performing consistent checks to avoid unnecessary issues.
- Service the mini excavator regularly: The best way to ensure the safety and longevity of your machine is to regularly service it. From hydraulic oil changes to repairing worn-out tracks, if something is wrong with the excavator, don’t let it go unchecked. Just like you would for a car’s mileage, consider keeping a log of service dates to keep track of when the excavator was last serviced and what was done. Consistent maintenance will ensure its good and safe conditions.
Best Brand to Use Mini Excavators for Landscaping
Now that we’ve answered all your questions about the mini excavator’s functions and safety precautions, it’s time to find the right machines for your landscape business. The best machine for your worksite should be reliable, easy to use and give you the ultimate power to push through any material. You can depend on Holt of California’s mini excavators to provide the durable and innovative machine you need to get the job done.
Along with a range of brand new machines and dependable rentals, we offer a line of attachments, machine parts and services to make your experience of owning and operating a mini-excavator simple and stress-free.
Plus, we focus on emissions as a part of our sustainability initiatives, which means our company makes it a goal to update our machines to match the current regulations set by CARB. Holt of California’s actions helps reduce our own carbon footprint while creating better products, services and work environments. Our other sustainability actions include going paperless, warehouse upgrades, cardboard reduction and remanufacturing machine parts.
At Holt of California, we take pride in making our customers the top priority. Let us help you with your landscaping goals — work with us and let us help you to find a high-quality and reliable mini excavator to depend on for all your construction needs. Ready to buy or rent? Browse our selection of mini excavators through our website or contact us for more information today.