Excavators have become must-haves in landscaping. Especially in climates facing irrigation needs, these powerful and amazingly adaptable little units are pretty impressive by any criterion. Useful for trenching, naturally enough, they also play roles in excavating and even grading with their track-powered movement and their front blades. The amount of torque and general power of these units is off the charts. They can lift thousands of pounds and place them like a jewel in a setting these days. Bear in mind as well, the track system of locomotion means rainy weather is less deterring.
Used in creating a substantial water feature, as in this picture below, we can see the stages and the utility of the “mini-ex”. Posed above with its big brother, we might also notice each has a “thumb” – a hydraulically powered piece of steel which clamps forward, pinching the object between the steel of the bucket for actually picking up individual items. We will see why this is so handy in just a bit.
The above shows us the initial excavation for the source, then the creek bed which will have water coursing down upon completion. What is not shown is the excavation which has already preceded this where the lines/pipes were laid to conduct the water from the lower levels. Needless to say, the excavator achieved this in its own labors – in fact, it took about a half an hour.
In the picture above, we see the process beginning where the thumb really gets some usage. Like a watchsmith or a jeweler, this guy – me 🙂 – adds a rock canted at just the right angle to lower onto the liner installed below. At this stage, we are setting stones which will receive the initial water, then burst out over some rocks producing a waterfall effect. This kind of work is exacting. Frankly, what the “mini-ex” accomplishes is stunning in terms of time-saving, compared to older methods and it is far less dangerous and less destructive in the right hands.
Placed gently, we construct a fairly enormous edifice, rock by rock, until our 160 foot creek bed is ready to cement at its various falls and then finish. The picture below shows us what the finished, very raw product looks like before planting takes place and obscures much of it.
Voila! You have a creek!
Below is a shot of yet another water feature where we need to apply cement, a bit at a time, to receive the boulders/rocks and then cement into place. What we see here is a bucket full of prepared, wet cement as the handsome sucker down in the hole spreads it around as judiciously as he can – which is not very, lol.
Here’s a look at this particular finished product:
Some more “Raw” looks at the various functions of the mini excavator – Here carving the earth for a retaining wall system:
Here, utilizing the ‘thumb’ and then packing down a rock in place after a fairly massive excavation, now attempting to somewhat artistically arrange boulders into place.
And the after effects of that effort.
These are just plain gorgeous machines to a landscaper, becoming more utile and widely-used than ever before. Once again, this is a machine whose arrival onto the landscape construction scene has caused far lower prices for harder work, yet which also release the budget for yet more bells and whistles, as it were.