Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
User avatar
jpos34
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:08 am
Location: Birmingham, AL
Grass Type: Tifway 419
Lawn Size: 8000
Mower: John Deere L111

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by jpos34 »

Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.

User avatar
Kicker
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Location: Carrollton, TX
Grass Type: bermuda
Lawn Size: 4500 sqft
Mower: Toro rotary / GM 1000

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Kicker »

$199 for a weekend rental would be tempting, especially if you could use it to pull a drag. However, I'd be worried about what kind of damage it might do with multiple passes/turns over an area.

I moved 6 yards of sand via dump cart beginning of July (104 degrees) last year.. that was a beating.

User avatar
Ware
Site Admin
Posts: 9163
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:56 pm
Location: Alma, Arkansas
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 7,500 sq ft
Mower: Toro GM1600
Contact:

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
I considered it. For a major/first leveling project, I think it would work really well. For lighter topdressing, I think turning might cause more damage than I would want.

ENC_Lawn
TLF Supporter
Posts: 573
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:13 pm
Location: North Carolina
Grass Type: Princess 77 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 14,000
Mower: California Trimmer

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by ENC_Lawn »

Ware wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:28 pm
jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
I considered it. For a major/first leveling project, I think it would work really well. For lighter topdressing, I think turning might cause more damage than I would want.
Ware...I know they say leveling is a long term plan that one does a couple of times during the season.

But is safe to say you get to a point where you lawn is level enough and you do not have to keep leveling year after year?

For example looking at your lawn...it looks like its very level.

Do you still have to level year after year once you get to that point?

Thanks

User avatar
Ware
Site Admin
Posts: 9163
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:56 pm
Location: Alma, Arkansas
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 7,500 sq ft
Mower: Toro GM1600
Contact:

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

ENC_Lawn wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:35 pm
Ware...I know they say leveling is a long term plan that one does a couple of times during the season.

But is safe to say you get to a point where you lawn is level enough and you do not have to keep leveling year after year?

For example looking at your lawn...it looks like its very level.

Do you still have to level year after year once you get to that point?

Thanks
It lasts for a while, but research by an Austrian and a German physicist taught us that everything in nature tends to flow from order toward disorder - it requires focused energy to get it back in order. This "Theory of Entropy" basically says that ordered states are infinitely improbable, so pretty much every system in the universe will naturally be found in either the maximum state of disorder, or moving towards it - like all my daughters' toys in the house. :D

That said, I would say it's not a once a done thing. I can definitely tell my lawn is not as smooth as it was after the last time I leveled. It's not back to like it was before I leveled the first time, but it will eventually bother me enough that I will do some additional leveling. :thumbup:

Alex_18
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:59 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA
Grass Type: Arden 15
Lawn Size: 8,000 sqft
Mower: McLane 25" 10 Blade

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Alex_18 »

jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
That is exactly what i plan on doing in a couple weeks. i was advised not to use anything with skids because it will destroy your grass while turning. i plan on using a bobcat with wheels to move the 8-10 yards of sand around my yard. $180 for the weekend in my area. almost seems too good to pass up place sand around the yard in a few hours then drag the rest of the weekend. should save a ton of time and effort

btw GO GATORS

ENC_Lawn
TLF Supporter
Posts: 573
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:13 pm
Location: North Carolina
Grass Type: Princess 77 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 14,000
Mower: California Trimmer

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by ENC_Lawn »

Ware wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:59 pm
ENC_Lawn wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:35 pm
Ware...I know they say leveling is a long term plan that one does a couple of times during the season.

But is safe to say you get to a point where you lawn is level enough and you do not have to keep leveling year after year?

For example looking at your lawn...it looks like its very level.

Do you still have to level year after year once you get to that point?

Thanks
It lasts for a while, but research by an Austrian and a German physicist taught us that everything in nature tends to flow from order toward disorder - it requires focused energy to get it back in order. This "Theory of Entropy" basically says that ordered states are infinitely improbable, so pretty much every system in the universe will naturally be found in either the maximum state of disorder, or moving towards it - like all my daughters' toys in the house. :D

That said, I would say it's not a once a done thing. I can definitely tell my lawn is not as smooth as it was after the last time I leveled. It's not back to like it was before I leveled the first time, but it will eventually bother me enough that I will do some additional leveling. :thumbup:
:thumbup:

User avatar
jpos34
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:08 am
Location: Birmingham, AL
Grass Type: Tifway 419
Lawn Size: 8000
Mower: John Deere L111

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by jpos34 »

Alex_18 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:01 pm
jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
That is exactly what i plan on doing in a couple weeks. i was advised not to use anything with skids because it will destroy your grass while turning. i plan on using a bobcat with wheels to move the 8-10 yards of sand around my yard. $180 for the weekend in my area. almost seems too good to pass up place sand around the yard in a few hours then drag the rest of the weekend. should save a ton of time and effort

btw GO GATORS
So you're saying that wheels does less damage than skids. Ive always heard the opposite of this. Looking for clarification because the one they offer has the skids. I have a bobcat with wheels but it always does so much damage to the ground with any kind of work I do. I also have a 4 wheeler that i plan on dragging the drag with so that shouldn't be a problem.

Mister Bill
TLF Supporter
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:22 am
Location: NW Atlanta
Grass Type: 419 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 sq. ft.
Mower: McLane 20/Tru-Cut 20/Honda HRR

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mister Bill »

jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:37 pm
Alex_18 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:01 pm
jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
That is exactly what i plan on doing in a couple weeks. i was advised not to use anything with skids because it will destroy your grass while turning. i plan on using a bobcat with wheels to move the 8-10 yards of sand around my yard. $180 for the weekend in my area. almost seems too good to pass up place sand around the yard in a few hours then drag the rest of the weekend. should save a ton of time and effort

btw GO GATORS
So you're saying that wheels does less damage than skids. Ive always heard the opposite of this. Looking for clarification because the one they offer has the skids. I have a bobcat with wheels but it always does so much damage to the ground with any kind of work I do. I also have a 4 wheeler that i plan on dragging the drag with so that shouldn't be a problem.
I have owned and operated heavy machinery for more hours than I care to remember. Both the tired and the tracked skid steers will tear up the turf when you turn hard, no way around it without laying down mats. Long gentle turns are less severe and doable if you have the room, damage from tires will be less severe than tracks. Straight back and forth the tires will rut deeper than the tracks, as tracks exert less ground pressure per square inch than tires by half or more. I'm guessing that is what you were thinking about tracks being better. Tracks are primarily for increased traction and for muddy/slick conditions because of the lower ground pressure; tires do very well on dry soil. I can think of no logical reason to choose tracks over tires for a lawn leveling project.

Unless you are allergic to manual labor, I personally would wheelbarrow it. Eight yards is nothing over a couple days for a able bodied man assuming the distance isn't prohibitive and you have a contractor grade wheelbarrow. If you can't move 1 yd. every two hours you may want to turn in your man card. :lol: For those who are allergic to manual labor, the ATV or a garden tractor pulling a dump cart would be my second choice. This leaves you with how to load the wagon at the staging area, either by shovel or rent a mini backhoe/loader. The dingos are crude little fella's. If you have never used one, the chance of doing more harm than good during the learning curve is a real possibility. But that is true of almost everything powered. You know your capabilities more than I. Hope this helps.

Alex_18
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:59 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA
Grass Type: Arden 15
Lawn Size: 8,000 sqft
Mower: McLane 25" 10 Blade

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Alex_18 »

It not about being allergic to manual labor for me, i do manual labor for a living. For me, its about being efficient with my time. I have 2 kids that need my attention and i dont have 3-4 days to do this project. So with the help of the bobcat and a 4 wheeler ill get it done in a weekend.

I plan on bringing one bucket full at a time straight to the site from the road, then straight back to the road in the same path made going in, taking the shortest route possible. I dont plan on doing this project with wet sand so hopefully the ground will be dry and ruts wont be much of a factor

I know you meant no harm by your comments, we just dont all have the same situations that may work for you

Hadendm
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:26 pm
Location: Leeds, AL
Grass Type: 419 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 6000
Mower: GM1000

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Hadendm »

jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm
Has anyone forked out the money (quoted $199) for a weekend rental on a Dingo/Mini skid steer to haul the sand around the yard. Or am I just over-estimating the amount of work it will be to move 8 yards of sand. Seems like it would speed the leveling project up significantly.
@jpos34 That is exactly what I did last summer. Rented a Dingo for about $200 for the weekend. Mine had skids. I was able to distribute 8 yds of sand in just a couple hours. It did tear up my yard in a few areas that had tighter turns or frequent trips back and forth.

I did not use the dingo to spread the sand, I did that by hand and by pulling a welded leveler. So any of the areas that were torn up by the dingo got a nice level with the sand and recovered very nicely!

I would highly recommend the dingo, let me know if you have any other questions.

User avatar
Redtwin
TLF Supporter
Posts: 1038
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:11 pm
Location: Panama City, Florida
Grass Type: Tifway 419
Lawn Size: 20K sf
Mower: Toro Greensmaster 1000

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Redtwin »

My wife and kids are going to visit family this weekend through next week for spring break so I will be hitting the next leveling project using the big gorilla cart and a riding mower.

User avatar
Two9tene
TLF Supporter
Posts: 977
Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 7:52 pm
Location: Elgin, Oklahoma
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 4,516 sq ft
Mower: GreensMaster 1000 (Mdl. 04052)

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Two9tene »

Mister Bill wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:04 pm
jpos34 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:37 pm
Alex_18 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:01 pm


That is exactly what i plan on doing in a couple weeks. i was advised not to use anything with skids because it will destroy your grass while turning. i plan on using a bobcat with wheels to move the 8-10 yards of sand around my yard. $180 for the weekend in my area. almost seems too good to pass up place sand around the yard in a few hours then drag the rest of the weekend. should save a ton of time and effort

btw GO GATORS
So you're saying that wheels does less damage than skids. Ive always heard the opposite of this. Looking for clarification because the one they offer has the skids. I have a bobcat with wheels but it always does so much damage to the ground with any kind of work I do. I also have a 4 wheeler that i plan on dragging the drag with so that shouldn't be a problem.
I have owned and operated heavy machinery for more hours than I care to remember. Both the tired and the tracked skid steers will tear up the turf when you turn hard, no way around it without laying down mats. Long gentle turns are less severe and doable if you have the room, damage from tires will be less severe than tracks. Straight back and forth the tires will rut deeper than the tracks, as tracks exert less ground pressure per square inch than tires by half or more. I'm guessing that is what you were thinking about tracks being better. Tracks are primarily for increased traction and for muddy/slick conditions because of the lower ground pressure; tires do very well on dry soil. I can think of no logical reason to choose tracks over tires for a lawn leveling project.

Unless you are allergic to manual labor, I personally would wheelbarrow it. Eight yards is nothing over a couple days for a able bodied man assuming the distance isn't prohibitive and you have a contractor grade wheelbarrow. If you can't move 1 yd. every two hours you may want to turn in your man card. :lol: For those who are allergic to manual labor, the ATV or a garden tractor pulling a dump cart would be my second choice. This leaves you with how to load the wagon at the staging area, either by shovel or rent a mini backhoe/loader. The dingos are crude little fella's. If you have never used one, the chance of doing more harm than good during the learning curve is a real possibility. But that is true of almost everything powered. You know your capabilities more than I. Hope this helps.
Two years ago I moved nearly 12 yards in a day, by myself with a shovel and cheap ol wheel barrel!
"One of the great challenges in life, is knowing enough to think you’re right, but not enough to know you’re wrong" - Neil Degrasse Tyson :roll:
2018-2019 Journal

Image

User avatar
ctrav
TLF Supporter
Posts: 2765
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:39 pm
Location: Northlake, TX
Grass Type: Bermuda Tif 419
Lawn Size: 30K
Mower: Toro GM, Commercial, Recycler

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by ctrav »

Two years ago I moved nearly 12 yards in a day, by myself with a shovel and cheap ol wheel barrel!
[/quote]

No way...I just can’t believe it...are you sure it was 12 yards...
Now if you want to swing by I can videotape and we can show the lawn care world 🤓
MY JOURNAL

Much of your pain is self chosen!

Mister Bill
TLF Supporter
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:22 am
Location: NW Atlanta
Grass Type: 419 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 sq. ft.
Mower: McLane 20/Tru-Cut 20/Honda HRR

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mister Bill »

Alex_18 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:22 pm
It not about being allergic to manual labor for me, i do manual labor for a living. For me, its about being efficient with my time. I have 2 kids that need my attention and i dont have 3-4 days to do this project. So with the help of the bobcat and a 4 wheeler ill get it done in a weekend.

I plan on bringing one bucket full at a time straight to the site from the road, then straight back to the road in the same path made going in, taking the shortest route possible. I dont plan on doing this project with wet sand so hopefully the ground will be dry and ruts wont be much of a factor

I know you meant no harm by your comments, we just dont all have the same situations that may work for you
I meant no offense at all. You asked a question, I answered. Nothing more intended.

Mister Bill
TLF Supporter
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:22 am
Location: NW Atlanta
Grass Type: 419 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 sq. ft.
Mower: McLane 20/Tru-Cut 20/Honda HRR

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mister Bill »

ctrav wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:43 am
Two years ago I moved nearly 12 yards in a day, by myself with a shovel and cheap ol wheel barrel!
No way...I just can’t believe it...are you sure it was 12 yards...
Now if you want to swing by I can videotape and we can show the lawn care world 🤓
[/quote]
:lol: Not sure if ctrav is being serious or lightening the mood, but I can see a young physically fit man moving that much in a day. Not sure about using a cheap wheelbarrow though. :lol:

From my own personal experience, I know I could move 8 yards of sand in 5-6 hours if the distance isn't too great with a contractor wheelbarrow, and I am 66 years old. That ain't no step for a stepper. :D

cldrunner
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue May 14, 2019 6:09 pm
Location: Dallas
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 20,000
Mower: Riding lawn tractor/Husqvarna

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by cldrunner »

Last year I did 10 yards of sand. It took 2.5 hours to move into place with a lawn tractor and gorilla cart. It was 60 plus loads. I had the help of three teenagers to shovel sand in the cart and pull the handle to dump so I could stay on the cart. Then it took me about 6-7 hours to spread it out and level by myself. To me the trick is spreading it out when you dump. Try to move forward when dumping to spread it out. I covered about 8000 sq. ft. The new gorilla dumping cart is awesome. I had the truck dump in two places to make it a little easier.

If I could have rented the steer and stayed on concrete I would think about that. I would not dare go on my grass with a bobcat.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Mister Bill
TLF Supporter
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:22 am
Location: NW Atlanta
Grass Type: 419 Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 sq. ft.
Mower: McLane 20/Tru-Cut 20/Honda HRR

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mister Bill »

cldrunner wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:42 am
Last year I did 10 yards of sand. It took 2.5 hours to move into place with a lawn tractor and gorilla cart. It was 60 plus loads. I had the help of three teenagers to shovel sand in the cart and pull the handle to dump so I could stay on the cart. Then it took me about 6-7 hours to spread it out and level by myself. To me the trick is spreading it out when you dump. Try to move forward when dumping to spread it out. I covered about 8000 sq. ft. The new gorilla dumping cart is awesome. I had the truck dump in two places to make it a little easier.

If I could have rented the steer and stayed on concrete I would think about that. I would not dare go on my grass with a bobcat.
A plan well executed and a job well done. You did good, and kudos to those teenagers.

If I may add, a bucket on any machine can and will scar concrete/asphalt which will last forever. A skilled operator can minimize and eliminate any damage by keeping the bucket level and going into the pile slightly above the surface using the sand as a cushion under the bucket, but it takes practice do be able to that successfully. Nonetheless, I'm not seeing the time savings when travel time in picking up and returning a machine is factored in, as well as repairing damage that will no doubt occur. But then again, creating reasons to play with big boy toys is never a bad thing. :lol:

But I digress, I do believe there is a reason you will never see a reputable pro turf leveling company using skid steers on the turf they are about to level. With that said, I'm going to go sit in the corner before I offend anyone else. :dunno:

cldrunner
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue May 14, 2019 6:09 pm
Location: Dallas
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 20,000
Mower: Riding lawn tractor/Husqvarna

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by cldrunner »

A plan well executed and a job well done. You did good, and kudos to those teenagers.

If I may add, a bucket on any machine can and will scar concrete/asphalt which will last forever. A skilled operator can minimize and eliminate any damage by keeping the bucket level and going into the pile slightly above the surface using the sand as a cushion under the bucket, but it takes practice do be able to that successfully. Nonetheless, I'm not seeing the time savings when travel time in picking up and returning a machine is factored in, as well as repairing damage that will no doubt occur. But then again, creating reasons to play with big boy toys is never a bad thing. :lol:

But I digress, I do believe there is a reason you will never see a reputable pro turf leveling company using skid steers on the turf they are about to level. With that said, I'm going to go sit in the corner before I offend anyone else. :dunno:

You are exactly right. If and when I do it again I would still use my Gorilla Cart and lawn tractor. It would take me a few few hours to pickup and drop off skid steer and then time to learn how to use. The possible damage is not worth the risk.

It takes two teenagers about 45 sec to fill dump cart and about 1 min for the dump. Of course I had to give them a few water breaks and feed them the best hamburger in town for lunch. :D

Alex_18
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:59 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA
Grass Type: Arden 15
Lawn Size: 8,000 sqft
Mower: McLane 25" 10 Blade

Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Alex_18 »

@Mister Bill that is a good point and something that i never thought of. Wouldn’t want to scar my driveway where the sand is getting dumped. I have a rental place 0.9 miles from my house so i could pick it up one the way home from work on Friday and drop it off on the way Monday so its very convenient for me. I cant speak for everyone though

@cldrunner you mind sending those teenagers over here in a few weeks?

Post Reply