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The Best Types of Equipment for Landscaping

The Best Types of Equipment for Landscaping

The Best Types of Equipment for Landscaping

Reading time: 7 min

Large scale landscaping projects call for powerful and versatile heavy equipment. From moving dirt and debris to trenching and leveling, the right heavy equipment can help your team complete projects efficiently and on time.

If you’re considering a new machine for your fleet, you may be wondering which ones are best suited to landscaping projects. The type of machine you choose will depend on a number of factors, so it’s important to understand the strengths of each piece of equipment.

Here are the top heavy equipment machines for landscaping applications.

1. Skid Steer Loaders

Skid steer loaders are a type of wheeled heavy equipment with a separate transmission for the right- and left-sides of the vehicle. Skid steers aren’t turned by rotating the front axle, as are normal vehicles, but by operating the left and right wheel pairs at different speeds causing the machine to “skid” while turning.

The unique design of a skid steer makes it capable of zero-radius turning, affording it incredible maneuverability in cramped spaces.

In addition to their smart design, skid steers are also highly versatile. With the limitless attachments available for skid steers, they can be used for diverse landscaping applications such as hauling dirt and debris, transporting pavers, loading mulch, carrying topsoil and much more.

Use Cases: Moving soil, moving pavers, grading and leveling ground, loading and unloading trailers, operating attachments.

Popular Skid Steer Loader Manufacturers: Bobcat, John Deere, Komatsu, Kubota, New Holland.

2. Excavators

As their name implies, excavators are machines designed for digging. The cab of an excavator can rotate 360 degrees, making it efficient at landscaping projects where moving lots of dirt is required.

Due to their long boom arms, excavators also have substantial reach. This advantage allows operators to reach over obstacles like fences, walls or hedges without damaging the work area’s surroundings.

While they excel at digging, excavators can be fitted with a number of attachments in order to extend their capabilities. Compact excavators can be used to dig trenches, handle and transport bulky materials and quickly dig holes for planting trees or installing fence posts.

Use Cases: Digging and removing soil, moving rocks, creating ponds and swimming pools, demolishing existing structures, building retaining walls, installing trees, operating attachments.

Popular Excavator Manufacturers: Hitachi, Komatsu, Kobelco, Volvo, JCB.

3. Backhoe Loaders

Backhoe loaders are a versatile type of heavy equipment with a front loader attached to the front of the machine and a backhoe attached to the rear of the machine.

The articulated boom of a backhoe loader is similar to the boom of an excavator, making it a comparable machine in terms of digging power. What sets the backhoe loader apart, however, is the loader at the front of the machine, which provides better carrying and scraping performance.

Backhoes are common on landscaping projects. They excel at a number of intensive tasks such as digging up vegetation, moving boulders or gravel, excavating dirt and transporting heavy trees.

Use Cases: Digging in soil, removing rocks and debris, digging trenches, moving heavy materials, excavating and shaping small areas, operating attachments.

Popular Backhoe Loader Manufacturers: JCB, Komatsu, Case, John Deere, Volvo.

4. Wheel Loaders

Wheel loaders are a type of heavy equipment with a front-mounted bucket designed for transporting materials across long distances.

While other machines, like excavators, are specially designed for digging, wheel loaders are made for lifting and transporting large loads. Although they’re not as precise as other machines, they’re incredibly powerful, quick and easy to operate.

Wheel loaders are ideal for landscaping projects that require moving debris, top soil, mulch, gravel, sod, pavers, plants, trees or other heavy loads.

Use Cases: Loading and unloading large quantities of rocks or soil, transporting heavy materials across the job site, grading and leveling ground, clearing snow and debris from large areas, operating attachments.

Popular Wheel Loader Manufacturers: Komatsu, Volvo, John Deere, JCB, Case.

5. Dozers

Also known as a bulldozer, a dozer is a type of tracked heavy equipment with a blade attached to the front of the machine. Dozers are most commonly used for large-scale applications, like excavating soil and leveling plots of land.

Since they’re typically fitted with a blade, dozers are not as efficient at handling materials and clearing loads. They’re better suited for pushing activities, like clearing and grading land.

Use Cases: Grading and leveling ground, clearing trees and stumps, demolishing existing structures, building and shaping hills and berms, creating and maintaining access roads and driveways, pushing and moving large quantities of material such as soil or gravel.

Popular Dozer Manufacturers: Komatsu, John Deere, Case, Liebherr, Shantui.

6. Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are popular on job sites where moving large quantities of dirt, sand or debris is required. A key feature of dump trucks is their hydraulic dump box, which allows operators to dump loads into trash heaps or dirt piles.

While dump trucks do not have the same digging and lifting capabilities as loaders or skid steers, they can move vast quantities of loosely compacted materials across great distances. They’re ideal if your landscaping project requires you to transport materials to a scrap yard or recycling plant.

Use Cases: Transporting very large quantities of loosely compacted materials, hauling away debris, delivering material such as mulch or gravel to the job site, acting as temporary storage for materials on the jobsite.

Popular Dump Truck Manufacturers: Volvo, Komatsu, Hitachi, Liebherr, Terex.

Machine Attachments for Landscaping

The great thing about modern heavy equipment is that many machines are easily adaptable. Attachments can be fitted to your machine to provide it with expanded capabilities and boost your team’s efficiency.

Here are some of the best machine attachments for landscaping.


Augers are drilling attachments used for making deep, narrow holes in soil. They are commonly used for drilling narrow holes when planting trees or installing fence posts.

Use with: Skid steer loaders, backhoe loaders, excavators.


Backhoes are versatile digging and excavation attachments with a long arm and a bucket at the end. Backhoes can dig deep and wide trenches, excavate foundations and remove soil and debris.

Use with: Backhoe loaders, excavators.


Hammers are heavy-duty attachments specially designed for breaking up concrete, rocks and other hard materials. In landscaping, they’re frequently used to break up concrete and rocks during the demolition phase of a project.

Use with: Backhoe loaders, excavators, skid steer loaders.


Mulchers are powerful attachments used for grinding and shredding trees, brush and other vegetation into mulch. They’re ideal for clearing land, right-of-way maintenance and erosion control.

Use with: Excavators, skid steer loaders.


Rakes are versatile landscaping attachments used for clearing and smoothing soil, rocks and other debris. Rakes are available in a number of specialized designs, like root rakes, land rakes and rock rakes.

Use with: Skid steer loaders, wheel loaders.


Trenchers are specialized attachments designed for creating trenches for utilities, irrigation or drainage. They are incredibly efficient for digging narrow and deep trenches with minimal disturbance to the surrounding soil.

Use with: Backhoe loaders, excavators, skid steer loaders.


A seeder is a planting attachment used for sowing seeds into soil. Seeders come in different styles designed for specific applications. They are used for reseeding, reclamation and landscaping projects.

Use with: Skid steer loaders, compact track loaders, tractors.

Stump Grinders

Stump grinders are used for removing tree stumps and roots. They are safe and efficient attachments for removing stumps in residential and commercial areas.

Use with: Excavators, skid steer loaders.


Planers are used for removing asphalt or concrete surfaces, typically in preparation for a new road or parking lot.

Use with: Skid steer loaders, backhoe loaders.

Get Help From the EquipmentShare Shop

When it comes to choosing the right heavy equipment for your landscaping project, it helps to understand the many options available.

The EquipmentShare Shop is a great resource for small business operators and fleet managers looking to learn the ins and outs of heavy equipment for landscaping. With a catalog of OEM and aftermarket parts from dozens of leading manufacturers, you’ll find components for a variety of landscaping machines. Still can’t find the part you need? Contact one of our parts experts for personalized assistance.

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