So it’s that time of year! You are out in your yard preparing for your next do-it-yourself project, or you are tilling the soil for your next gardening project. You start digging when suddenly your shovel makes an unpleasant noise. A large rock! What were the odds? Fairly high, actually! Large rocks have a strange ability to turn up in uninvited places and are a huge nuisance. They are not impossible to get rid of, however. Use this article to get rid of large rocks in your yard, garden, and life!
1. Use a bobcat.
Depending on the size of the rock, you might need a machine to remove it. Large rocks are heavy lifting, as you know, and this can cause some serious strain on your back if you try moving them by hand. Don’t want to risk it? Why should you! Let the machine do the work.
This method is great because it is so fast. The forks of a Bobcat accomplish in minutes what might take hours for humans to do. Using these forks quickly uncovers the dirt surrounding the rock in order to hoist it out of the hole.
The extra benefit is that you can clear the rock right out of the hole and drive it away at the same time: the frustrating part about getting a rock out of a hole sometimes is that you might have removed it but it is still in the way. A Bobcat is a great way to get rid of a large rock for good!
Keep in mind that this suggestion might not work for everyone. You need a license to legally operate a Bobcat. You also should know that the treads or wheels of these machines could also damage your property. If you are getting a rock out of your garden, for instance, you might tear up your lawn using this machine in the process. Experienced operators know how to do manage a Bobcat well, however, so hiring a company to do this for you might be the best bet.
2. Use a shovel and pry bar.
Don’t have a Bobcat, or want to get rid of your large rock on the cheap? Of course. A large rock is not going to magically remove itself, unfortunately. You will have to work away at it. Use your shovel to clear away all of the loose dirt, smaller rocks, and debris that are around the rock. If you avoid this essential digging the job is almost certainly going to be much more difficult.
Uncovering the rock ensures that you will not experience as much resistance. This dirt creates a suction vacuum that works against you. It is also a massive stone, after all, so the weight itself will make it hard enough to remove already.
Once you have access to as much of the rock as possible, it is time to employ your high school physics lessons: that’s right, they were indeed useful for something! You want to create a fulcrum effect to gently guide the rock out of the hole it is in. A great way to do this is to use your shovel to help you out along with your pry bar. Make sure you have a sturdy shovel to do this, or it might break with the tension.
Place the shovel upside-down near the base of the rock. If you don’t have a strong enough shovel, consider using a small rock or something equally sturdy to do the job. Next, use your pry-bar as a spear (Spartan style!) to stab under the rock to a depth of approximately six inches. Too little and you won’t be able to get the leverage you need, and going too far means you will be working against yourself.
If your pry bar is simply smashing into the rock again and again, chances are you need to do some more work to uncover the bottom of the rock. If you make successful insertion, use the bottom of your shovel or whichever solid material you chose and perform a rowing motion.
Don’t force straight downward on your pry bar. You are working against yourself and are on track for a sore back in no time. The rowing motion, or the “rowing the boat method” is simpler and also more effective.
To do this, gently guide the rock in a certain direction. You might need to try a few different angles to find out which way the rock wants to move. Some rocks are trickier and bigger than others, of course! Lever the rock out of the hole, and presto, a great success was had!
Ideally you would have a friend help you with this. You might almost have the rock out of its hole only to have it drop back in on you at the last second. If only someone was there to help! Having a helper will get the job done faster and likely save you frustration and a sore back.
3. Use a different vehicle.
Perhaps you tried the pry bar method and it did not work. Fair enough, don’t get yourself down: some rocks are simply too big to deal with by hand. If you don’t have access to a Bobcat, you can try using a different vehicle. Few people do have access to one, and Bobcats are pricy to rent. You can also hire someone to come get rid of the large rock for you, but this is also costly, of course. If you feel like putting the time in yourself, then keep on reading!
Try using an All Terrain Vehicle, pickup truck, or a tractor in place of a Bobcat. A tractor can occasionally be fitted with forks similar to the ones on a Bobcat. If not, they at least have solid towing capacity. This same idea applies to ATV’s and pickup trucks.
Basically you will use these vehicles to physically drag the large rock out of the hole. Follow the same suggestions listed above for clearing out the area around the rock to uncover it as best as you can. Next, use either chains or nylon towing straps to secure the rock and attach it to the hitch of whatever vehicle you have access to.
Nylon straps might in fact be your best bet. If a chain breaks while you are towing the rock out of the whole, it might fly backwards and damage your vehicle or cause physical harm to you or anyone else who might happen to be around. Not the best idea! Nylon straps also tend to grip onto a rock much more effectively. Wrap your chain or strap around the rock. For maximum effect, try and find surfaces that you can slide the chain or strap inside of or into. Slowly accelerate your vehicle to guide the rock out of its hole.
4. Use a jackhammer.
If none of the above solutions worked, it might be time for a jackhammer. This is also a good solution if you don’t have access to a vehicle but were unable to remove the rock by hand. A jackhammer might be your best friend in this event.
You likely don’t have a jackhammer just lying around your house. Fortunately, almost any tool rental store will have one that you can use. Use the jackhammer to break the rock into smaller pieces that are more manageable. You will have to uncover it first, of course. This is also a great idea if the rock is simply too large to remove in its entirety. Simply knock off as much of the rock as you need to plant your garden or sink a fence post, for instance.
Be sure to wear the proper hearing and eye protection whenever using a jackhammer. From experience, rock particles in your eye are NOT a good time! Also be sure that you know how to operate it correctly, or you might put yourself in danger.
So there you have it! Follow these steps to get rid of large rocks that are giving you trouble in your life. Whichever method you choose, always remember that safety is a top priority. You can easily throw your back out moving a large rock, so try and get someone to help you, or even consider hiring a company to do this for you. And remember: it’s not all bad. Depending on the condition or the general appearance of the rock upon removal, you might have a new showstopper you can artistically add to an area of your property. People pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for natural stone from stone yards. Nature might have done you a favor!