Generally, powered rental equipment can save you a lot of time and effort, but for my buck, there’s no better proof of this than with a Dingo.
If you’re not familiar with Dingos, they fall into the class of “compact utility loader” -- the most common utility loader configuration is a tracked or wheeled machine outfitted with a wide front bucket. Dingos basically are small Bobcats that you walk behind, rather than ride (Actually, there is a little fold-out platform to stand on, but I found it easier to just walk behind the machine).
The thing about Dingos is that, first, they’re super-simple to operate. But more importantly, because they’re only 34.5” wide, can squeeze through most backyard gates, and once there, can lift more than 500 pounds in the bucket. Or, they can be outfitted with auger, tiller, trenchers or stump grinder attachments for non-lifting heavy work.
In my case, I didn’t need to dig postholes or grind stumps. But I did need to remove sod from, and level out, about 1,000 square feet of lawn; move some piles of broken concrete and a couple dozen “two-man” rocks; and spread seven yards of crushed gravel along with five yards of wood chips.
A lot of work -- If I’d tackled it with old-fashioned elbow grease, a shovel and wheelbarrow, it would have taken me a couple of months of weekends to do it all – and who knows what I’d have done to my lower back!
So old -fashioned elbow grease, pshaw! Enter the Dingo, and all was done in about a day and a half.
Looking back, moving the gravel probably was the most satisfying part, largely because a yard of crushed gravel weighs about 2,500 pounds. So I’d be moving and spreading about 17,500 pounds of gravel -- and that’s after I'd removed and relocated thousands of pounds of sod, soil and rocks. It all seemed like work for a prison crew, not a soft suburbanite.
Oh, but not so with the Dingo! With each shovel/bucket carrying more than our heavy-duty wheelbarrow, my son Rich and I spread the entire pile of gravel in a half-day. It’s hard to overstate how much easier it was to load and shuttle a nearly six tons of gravel 20 yards away with a Dingo, rather than with a wheelbarrow. Infinitely much easier is how I think I'd describe it.
Moving the rock piles came in a close second on the easy-meter – just scoop ‘em up, and off you go.
You’ll need to have the Dingo delivered to your place, and full-day rental rates in our area range from $150 - $200. But oh, the things you can do in a day with a Dingo!