How To Clear a Wooded Lot for a House
Taking a plot of untamed land and using it for a building project can be a truly massive undertaking, and that’s before any construction ever takes place. That’s because a plot of land that hasn’t seen any use by humans will have become a haven for plant life. Vacant lots can quickly become overgrown with weeds, brush, and trees. Rocks and the stumps of fallen trees will pose obstacles as well. If you’re looking to build a new home, all of it may have to go.
Clearing all the rocks and brush from your home doesn’t need to be an insurmountable task, however. With a few tips and tricks, and the right equipment, it won’t take long at all. Read on to learn about how to clear a wooded lot for a house:
Survey the Land
Since you’re clearing the lot for a specific purpose—building a house—you’ll most likely have access to blueprints for construction. With this information, you’ll be able to figure out exactly just how much lot clearing you’ll need to do. It’s possible you won’t want to clear all the vegetation on a wooded lot: perhaps you’ll want to leave some of it for a possible yard or wooded barrier.
In any case, you’ll have to stake off the area where you want to perform construction. Figure out where you’ll place roads or driveways, where you’ll need to connect the home to the electrical grid, and where you’ll install gas mains and other important utilities.
Performing a thorough survey of your land will also help you create a budget for the work. You’ll be able to more effectively decide what, if any, equipment you may need, and if you’ll need to hire any contractors for the job.
Assess Any Hazards
Clearing a wooded lot can have unseen challenges that you’ll need to make yourself aware of before you can start the process. For example, because unused lots tend to become overgrown with weeds and other vegetation, you’ll need to ensure there aren’t any large rocks hiding where they can’t easily be seen. If there are, they may end up posing a risk to the heavy equipment that you’ll use to clear the brush away.
You’ll also need to consider the area’s vulnerability to ecological issues, such as flooding. Clearing the lot may increase the risks of erosion and flooding, which you’ll need to prepare for. Talk to your contractor about the best methods of doing this.
Find Out If You Need Permits
Before starting any sort of building project, you’ll need to do a little research on the zoning laws in your area. You may need a permit, or even several permits, before you can do the job. The laws regarding this will vary depending upon the location; you might have to take protected plant or animal life into consideration. Other environmental factors, such as wetlands in the area, may also have an effect upon the laws regarding how to clear a wooded lot for a house.
If you find that you do need permits to do the job, you’ll need to apply for them and fill out all the appropriate paperwork before you can proceed. This process can be made easier if you’re making use of a contractor, such as Mr. Tree, for lot clearing. A good contractor can handle all the permits and other critical paperwork so that you don’t have to.
Start by Removing the Largest Obstacles
There are certain obstacles that are easier to remove than others; rocks are among the most difficult to remove because they can’t simply be cleared away by heavy machinery. You may simply need to remove rocks by hand; get a wheelbarrow and walk around the lot, picking up any large rocks and carting them off.
Removing boulders may take several people because large rocks are often bigger than they look. Grab a shovel and dig around them to discover if any portion of the boulder is hidden underground. Then, with the help of a few friends, hoist the boulder into the wheelbarrow and cart it away.
Removing Whole Trees
Removing trees—both living and fallen ones—from your property is a completely different matter. There are several reasons for this. First, you may decide that you want to preserve a few live trees on the lot. If that’s the case, you’ll have to perform the rest of the lot clearing carefully in order to avoid risking the trees you’ve decided to keep. Trees you do decide to remove will end up posing unique challenges of their own.
Cutting down trees requires a good deal of protective equipment: you’ll need a helmet, eye protection, and heavy-duty clothing with long pants and long sleeves. You may also need a harness to climb up into a tree and remove the largest limbs before you cut it down. Importantly, you should never perform a task like this alone; always have a spotter to help you stay safe during any lot clearing jobs.
Because of the inherent risk involved, if you have large trees to remove from your lot, you may want to hire a contractor, such as Mr. Tree, who can perform the job quickly, safely, and effectively.
Removing Tree Stumps
Removing tree stumps is a good deal harder than removing even the largest boulders, and that’s because the roots of a tree make it impossible to simply dig the stump out of the ground. You’ll have to rent equipment, such as a stump grinder, to grind the stump away. If you have time to wait, you can attempt to remove the stump chemically or even attempt to burn it out (if this is legal in your area).
Once again, this is a job that will most likely be easier if you put it in the hands of a trained professional.
Clearing Away Branches, Sticks, and Brush
Brush and brambles can be cleared away by hand—make sure you’re wearing gloves—or using equipment such as a weed whacker or string trimmer. Smaller vegetation can be raked away. You’ll probably need to rent a dumpster to dispose of all of the weeds, brush, and vegetation you end up removing.
For larger sticks, tree branches, and dead trees, there’s a possibility you could earn some money by selling them for lumber. Talk to your contractor at Mr. Tree to see about collecting any wood from your land and selling it to help offset the costs of clearing your wooded lot.