Ask the Expert: Renting a Machine to Help with Yard Renovations

You just moved into your dream house and you have big plans for the backyard. It's just a 12 acre field right now, but you plan on laying sod, planting some mature shade trees, and mowing the back part of the property. You even plan on making a little gravel path up to the pond and water feature you're putting in. The only catch is, you're going to need a little extra muscle if you don't want all the improvements to take forever. You know a machine like a skid steer could be the tool you need to make those improvements. So is it time to rent one to help turn your backyard from untamed grassland to a domestic paradise? 

We asked DJ Yandle, Rental Operations Manager at Blanchard Machinery in South Carolina, what you need to know about using a light machinery for a major backyard renovation. 

Have a plan. 

Before you call to rent a machine, be sure you know what you want to use it for, how long you'll need it, and what your limitations might be. Why? Rental agents can use all that information to help make sure you have the right tools for the job you're doing. There may be an attachment you need to rent that you didn't think about or there may be a model that's a better fit for your job than what you originally had in mind. 

Arrange transportation.

You can't expect to drive your rented machine down the highway to get it home. Be sure you have the tools to transport the equipment yourself or arrange for your rental company to drop it off and pick it up.

Know how to use the equipment.

There's no special license to rent a skid steer, but it is extremely important you're familiar with how operate the equipment. Why? Because safety should always be your No.1 priority when you're working with machinery. 

Get your permits.

If you're in a neighborhood, your homeowners association might have rules on what you can do to your backyard. And if you don't live in a neighborhood, you might still need a permit from your city or county to legally complete your project. After all that hard work, the last thing you want is to have to fill in your beautiful new koi pond because you didn't have a permit to build it in the first place. 

Read more → Your Homeowners Association Nixed Your Home Improvement Project. Now What?

Call the utility service

Remember when we said safety first? We meant it. Make sure you call your local utility service and tell them what you're planning on doing. They'll send someone out to your property to mark underground utilities so you don't end up digging up your water or gas lines. 

Check the weather

Bad weather can mean you have to put your project on hold. Check the weather report before you rent a machine. That way you won't end up paying for a rental that you can't use or having to return it before you're finished your job. 

Blanchard CatDJ Yandle is the Rental Operations Manager with seven years experience at Blanchard Machinery's rental division. Blanchard is a licensed Caterpillar dealer in South Carolina. They also offer a wide-range of Cat and non-Cat products through their rental and used divisions. 


Read more:

Remodeling? Don't Skip the Permit!

Landscaping During a Drought: How to Do It Right

Look Before You Sign: Weird Things That Might Be Restricted by Your HOA