Clearing Land for Your Greenhouse – Part 1
You’ve picked the prefect location for you DIY greenhouse; one that offers the best sun, easiest access and perhaps even the most pleasing location for your property overall. You’ve however run into one problem: your land is not clear of objects like trees or rocks, or perhaps is not level. In order to prep the building site, and before you can even begin your foundation work, you need to start looking at the best way to clear your land.
Considerations To Take BEFORE Clearing Your Land
Clearing land is not an easy job! While it may seem like something you and a friend can take care of in a weekend, and perhaps you can if the area does not require a lot attention, but often the work will take much longer than you may think. I grew up in Maine, which at one time was filled largely with family farms. Over the years, for one reason or another the family farms started to disappear and the fields that they painstakingly cleared by hand (and with Ox) began to grow back in. Now when walking through the woods it is not uncommon to come along a rock wall in the middle of the woods; can you imagine what those farmers would think if they could see their land now? Mother nature is quick to take back ignored property.
Before you take on this process you should clearly consider the following:
- Your own skill level. Machinery like chainsaws, tractors, and bulldozers can be dangerous if not run by people who are properly trained. Do not let your quest to build your own DIY Greenhouse lead to an accident. Hire professionals, or find a friend or relative to help you complete tasks you may not have the skill to complete on your own. There is no shame in asking for help!
- Before you put a shovel in the ground, put chainsaw to tree or rent an expensive piece of equipment, make sure you check with your local municipality. You may need a permit, or have to submit plans for your clearing before you start the job. You may even need to apply for permits for things like storm water run off during construction if your area is within a delicate watershed. Your local code enforcer will be able to walk you through the proper steps you need to take in order to complete your project. If you fail to do things properly – you may find yourself in a world of trouble and susceptible to fines, having to do costly repairs, or even having to restore your land to it’s original state and not being allowed to move forward.
- There is a world under your feet! In an effort to bring everyone basic utilities like water, power or sewer; many homeowners,
municipalities and even state run agencies have put these utilities underground. You should never dig into the earth without being 100% certain of what is under the earth where you are excavating. Many states have a program (most often called “Dig Safe”) that you can call, free of charge, and submit what is known as a “ticket”. Within a week you should hear back from anyone who may have something buried in the area you are looking to work. Of course this does not mean that everything has been noted, a former owner may have buried something and not noted it anywhere. Take care while digging, go slow and keep your eyes peeled!
- Are you sitting on money and don’t even know it? Before you hire that arborist to come in and take away trees, do you know what they are worth? You might be surprised! Most arborists will come in and give you a free estimate for the cost of removal of the trees as well as their value. Be sure to get at least three quotes for comparisons sake. There’s not only the chance that you could break even, you might even get a check back!
- Plan of attack: Take a look at and know what obstacles you’re dealing with – and make a plan on how to remove them properly. Tree and rock removal are one of those things that everyone will have their own opinion on how to complete. Some may think you should just push trees over with a bulldozer, others will say to cut them down and pull the stumps separately. Rocks may either be dug out by hand or machine or removed using tools / mini explosives to make the process easier. Taking a couple of hours to make a plan before starting could save you days in the future.
Resources / Tools
These are affiliate links and will bring you to a page where you can buy tooling / books to aid you in the process of clearing land.
- Land Clearance: Alternative Techniques for Removing Trees and Bushes
- (This book is pricey, but a good resource) Tree Harvesting Techniques (Forestry Sciences)
- Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start (CARB Compliant)
- Ames True Temper 1195100 Pick Mattock with 36-Inch FiberPro Handle