Freshly cut trees for residential construction in backhoe clearing forest on land clearing

Clearing land to build a house – Top tools needed to clearing your plot

Whether you’re a contractor or looking to build yourself a new home, you know one of the most essential steps in any zoning or construction project is clearing the land. This involves getting rid of all the trees, shrubs, and other wooded lot like areas, so you can level out the land and start building or site preparation. Land clearing is relatively straightforward and you’ll have no problems doing this yourself, whereas land grading (making the ground level) is best done by a professional land grading service.

There are several different pieces of construction equipment you can use for land clearing, but not all of them are created equal. Also, the land-clearing cost depends upon the equipment homeowners use for building their dream homes.

Whether you’re build a tiny home that is completely self-sufficient, or constructing a your own private palace with a walk-refrigerator –  we’ll take a look at six of the best land-clearing equipment options available. We’ll also discuss the best use case for each option so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your project.

1. Mini Excavator


Mini excavators are a great piece of land-clearing equipment. They’re smaller in size and can be used for lot clearing in tight spaces.

Plus they have a multitude of attachments that can extend their purpose.

Such as the brush eliminator attachment with teeth that easily cut down any bushes, underbrush or overgrown areas. You can also use a mini excavator disc mulcher attachment for smaller jobs in tight corners. If there were a need to dig for land clearance, then a bucket attachment will work out perfectly.

You can also get mini excavators with a chain-wheel system which are good for operating on an uneven plot of land. What’s more important is getting at those root systems that you may not be able to pick up easily. These type of natural existing structures can cause the headache of any architect or building crew when laying the foundation.

Unlike other heavy equipment, mini excavators can be used without a specialized operator. Plus it’s easy enough for DIY enthusiasts to maintain a mini excavator.

If you’re renting, you can hire a specialist equipment operator with your equipment rental. Getting assistance from a land-clearing company will make your work easy as they have these operators for hire and often offer additional discounts when you do.

2. Skid Steers


A skid steer is another piece of multipurpose heavy equipment that’s widely used in land-clearing projects. Their most common application is dirt and brush removal because they’re compact and easily maneuver in tight locations.

Skid steers are also fitted with a bucket that can be used to lift and transfer debris. Similar to the mini excavator, a variety of different attachments can also be fitted.

Grapple attachments are most commonly used to lift and shift tree stumps. Tree shears will clear unwanted trees and bushes.

Another popular attachment is a slump bucket used to get maximum prying strength for stumps and large rocks removal. As well as being versatile, skid steers are also effective at clearing land at the same time because they can traverse rough terrain such as hillsides with extreme inclines.

Skid steers are usually cheap to rent and offer good value for lower budgets thanks to their attachment capabilities. Similar to the mini excavator, you can operate skid steers without a professional operator if you choose.

3. Bulldozer

Bulldozers are considered the best land-clearing equipment for heavy tasks. Bulldozers are the fastest land-clearing equipment of this century due to their size, which enables them to clean up more land in less time. For example, when there are a lot of standing trees or heavy rocks, a bulldozer can clear them up very efficiently.

Bulldozers will operate on any terrain and push heavy debris quickly. This makes them perfect for any job where you need to move a lot of earth or debris. They’ll be able to handle in one trip what may take an excavator or skid steer several.

Got an empty ditch at the construction site needs to be backfilled? Bulldozers are your best option.

Because bulldozers are specialized machines, only a trained operator can use them. When there are other development projects nearby it’s essential to be careful using a bulldozer.

Renting a bulldozer is going to be more expensive compared to an excavator or a skid steer. But if you need something more heavy-duty and efficient at hauling large amounts of earth or debris then a dozer is going to save you a lot of time (which can save money in the long run).

4. Mulchers

These machines are best for when there is a huge amount of mulching that needs to happen. When there are extensive cleaning and grubbing jobs, a mulcher is the land-clearing machinery you want. They’re heavy machines capable of clearing large land areas within a few minutes.

Yes, you can use a mini excavator with the mulcher attachment — but that’s for small forestry mulching jobs. When you’ve got a big area to clear then hiring a mulcher would be more economical, saving you plenty of time.

Mulchers might have problems with maneuvering on sloped areas with soft soil type. So before you rent a mulcher, it’s better to discuss the suitability of using it for your construction project with an expert or an arborist that provides tree service.

5. Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are essential for clearing a construction site. After clearing the land, you don’t want all that debris lying around the construction site. That’s where dump trucks come in handy. Dump trucks can hold a large amount of debris and are most often used to transport everything for debris removal or disposal.

All waste materials such as trees, shrubs, rocks, debris, and dirt, are moved using dump trucks. These trucks are capable of carrying heavy loads and are highly reliable.

6. Backhoes

Excavator shovel digging on dirt

Backhoes are mainly used to move debris from one point to the other within the construction site or building site. A backhoe can be used for various land clearing services such as dirt removal, clearing rocks, large tree removal, and stump removal, as well as removing small trees too. Backhoes can even be used to perform small excavations if necessary.

This machine is suitable for land-clearing on a smaller scale like residential construction or clearing a backyard. It’s not recommended to use them for heavy-duty work on large construction sites.

End Notes

Land clearing is not especially difficult, it just requires some specialized construction equipment to do the job. If you’re gearing up for a construction project, make sure you have the right land-clearing machinery for the job.

It’s easy to find land-clearing equipment for rent such as mini excavators, skid steers, bulldozers, chainsaws, mulchers, dump trucks, and backhoes that can help get the job done quickly and efficiently. Consider the average cost, your budget, and project requirements when selecting heavy machinery and you’ll be all set for your construction job.