How to level and flatten a yard.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to flatten out a lawn? That’s a topic that came up in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum when one of our members asked “I have been looking for an accessory for my lawn tractor for leveling/flattening a lawn after tilling and rolling. I have been looking at Box Blades and Rear Blades. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Which would be more versatile. Are there any alternatives?”

How to use a box blade

How to use a box blade

A forum member shared “you are at a point where I was a few months ago and honestly the setup gets expensive at first, sometimes I thought the cash outlay would never end and wondered why they didn’t make one attachment that did everything.

Unless you have four wheel drive, a box blade and landscape rake is a waste of your money, the tractors simply will not pull them, it will pull the rake on some jobs but you can pretty much forget the box blade. Even my upper sized tractor the 2520 with a differential lock in two wheel drive is pretty useless, put it in four wheel drive and it plays with attachments.

Here is the process we use, put the box blade on and drop the teeth in the front, drive over the area and break up the ground, we are looking for big rocks before we till then we till the area attach the 5 foot landscape rake, it will take out any rocks the tiller found and gets the area pretty level, then we switch to the box blade, in this case because we have tilled the area, we angle the blade to the back and level the area, a three point hitch on the back of the tractor is required, it’s super simple and the results are bang on, then we roll (only roll sometimes as the blade will compact the soil), seed and spray.

The set up is around four grand that I have on each tractor. I use something called a hydraulic top link cylinder with a diverter valve, if you are familiar with a 3 point hitch, we replace the top arm with a hydraulic cylinder and plug it into a diverter valve, what it does is switch the hydraulics from the curl action on the bucket to the top link cylinder, when it comes to grading you can, on the fly, adjust the angle of attack, man is it slick. I only know of one other fellow with this set up, he is a landscaper that turned me onto the hydraulic setup, a homeowner, small farm etc. would not go this route as it is expensive, in our business. In my opinion it is a must for quick results.

You could try it on your tractor but honestly even my smallest four wheel drive which is a 2305 will struggle with the box blade at times, really depends on the soil and that is in four wheel drive.

Having said all this I have leveled areas with just the landscape rake and the results were bang on, it takes longer and some practice but once you have it, the results are great, the advantage of the box blade is if the operator is experienced enough, I can compact the soil as I grade, no need to roll.”

But what about if you don’t have the money for such expensive equipment? Are there any alternatives you can suggest?

One member said “What I tried was to take a 4 x 4 sheet of plywood and bolted a 2 x 2 angle iron to it. I then attached it to my tractor using the tongue of my roller. I put 40lbs. of weight on it and used that to try to flatten/level the lawn. It took a few runs but looked much better. I then seeded the lawn and rolled it again. I think it took too long but it beat raking the whole thing and only took about half the time.”

Another said “what I have done in the past is drag an old bed spring with weight on it behind my tractor. Kind of crude but it worked.”

A third suggested “it may be crude but it works very well and I had completely forgot that this is how I use to flatten the driveway with my old tractor. It worked perfect, just an old steel bedframe I got from the dump.”

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