Clearing Your Land for a New Project

Clearing land is a big project for homesteaders, but a solid plan can make it efficient and affordable to do on your own.

You have a new project in mind — a garden, a pasture for livestock, an addition to your home — but your land is awash with trees, shrubbery and brush. To accomplish your goals, you’ll need to clear everything away affordably and efficiently.

Don’t get stuck with a drawn-out plan that lasts years. Instead, follow the guide below to create the space of your dreams.

Step 1: Choose an Area

Before you start chopping down trees or digging up the earth, you should section off the territory you plan to work on with stakes and bright tape. If you hire a professional crew for any part of the process, these markers will reduce the chance of mistake.

With a section in mind, you should also research your local zoning and building ordinances. The guidelines you must follow will depend on the size and scope of your chosen project. In some cases, you may need an inspector to visit the site and ensure everything is code compliant.

Step 2: Amass Your Equipment

You’ll need a variety of tools to complete your project, depending on the number of trees, brush and other debris on the property. If you merely have saplings and bushes to remove, you can get away with a shovel and hand saw. Towering trees and denser brush, on the other hand, may require chainsaws, tractors or even backhoes.

Gather all the right equipment before you start to save time and complete the project efficiently. If you need to rent a particular tool, shop around to find the best deal. Some companies offer discounts if you can return the equipment within a specified timeframe, such as before the end of the day.

Step 3: Sell Your Timber

To get the most value out of your land, you’ll want to cut down trees yourself. If you hire a professional, however, don’t let them haul everything away. Timber is a high-priced commodity that can put cash in your wallet. Instead, mark the trees that are valuable and get bids from brokers.

The value of your timber can vary significantly based on the size, quality and species. Top-quality black cherry, for instance, will command a higher price tag than scraggly sweetgum. Plus, the more timber available, the higher the price per unit companies will offer.

Step 4: Remove Ugly Stumps

You’ve cleared away brush and cut down trees, but now you’re left with ugly stumps. To remove them from the ground and make the land pristine, you’ll need to break out the stump cutter. This tool uses high-powered bladed disks to saw through trunks and turn them into wood chips.

Instead of getting rid of these chips, save them for later. They make excellent organic material for flowerbeds, walkways and play areas. You can also use them to line your garden. If you compost, wood chips will break down and enrich the soil, making it more nutritious for plant life.

Step 5: Prepare the Soil

If you plan to start a garden or create a beautiful landscape, your work isn’t yet complete. After you’ve removed the debris and tree stumps, you’ll want to prepare the soil. A lawn tiller and aerator will break up the dirt and create small pockets on the surface. These holes allow water and nutrients to soak through, creating fertile soil beds.

To plant healthy swaths of natural grass, experts recommend you invest in a lawn overseeder. This tool disperses seeds and fertilizer at timed intervals, ideal for areas disrupted by construction. The adjustable blades cut into the earth and ensure you aren’t seeding too shallow or too deep.

Step 6: Appreciate Your Hard Work

Once you’ve cleared your land and made way for new growth, take a step back and appreciate your hard work. While the process may not have been easy, the reward is worth the effort. You can now use your newly cleared land as you see fit.

If you want to plant a garden, consider what types of crops will work best in your climate. If you’re going to raise livestock, introduce a few species at a time. Start with smaller animals, such as chickens or ducks. Then, you can slowly add goats, cows, cattle or horses.

Clearing the Way

Clearing your land may seem like a lot of work. However, when you finish your project, you can stand back and admire your efforts.

To clear land affordably and efficiently, amass all the right equipment before you begin. Sell timber to earn extra cash and use a stump cutter to remove unsightly bulges. Once clear, prepare your soil with an aerator and seeder. With the right piece of land, you can complete any project your heart desires.

green cover of a book with flowers and a tree on the front


Ever wonder why some gardens and landscapes look dazzling year after year, while others decline? Or why does a planting look great at one location while the same plant looks skimpy and unattractive nearby? The characteristics of the site determine whether a plant will thrive. Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes describes how to evaluate site characteristics that are important to plants.

Intended for novice gardeners, experienced gardeners, and landscape professionals, the 81-page spiral-bound book includes 50+ color photos, a glossary, an index, and references and web sites for further information. Through 30+ hands-on activities, soil type, drainage, sunlight, compaction, slopes, minimum and maximum temperatures, wind, existing plants, wildlife and more are evaluated.

  • Published on Feb 12, 2020
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