The availability of heavy machinery to almost everyone has transformed the landscaping and excavation industry in Victoria BC. Anyone can go and rent an excavator and operate it on their property. The use of such machinery significantly cuts down on the number of people needed to complete a job as well as the number of hours a project takes. Not only that it cuts down on health problems that result from overexertion. It also makes possible jobs that were formerly reserved for those with far fatter wallets. However, one of the caveats of operating an excavator on your poperty either by yourself or if you hire an excavation contractor is the collateral damage it can do to your property.


First and foremost is to ensure that if you decide to hire someone that they have General Liability Insurance. This is the insurance that will protect you and your property in case of accidental damage. The amount of damage these excavators can cause is substantial. They the capacity to take out entire chunks of your garage, roof, and house. They can easily tear through water and gas line, which in turn can flood your house and neighbors, cause an explosion, and so forth. The General Liability Insurance protects you from this.

When renting excavation equipment, the rental price will typically include its own insurance so if you do it yourself, you may be covered by such. It's best to double check the terms.

Plywood Mats

In terms of preventing physical damage, one of the tactics is to lay down a road of plywood boards. Before doing so, ensure there are no debris between the plywood and the surface below. Failure to do so can cause scratching of the underlying surface thus negating some of the benefits of the plywood layer. Other materials can also be used such as metal or rubber. However, this is generally too expensive and impractical for residential jobs.

Minimizing Movement

The things that causes the most damage is usually driving around and especially turning on treads. A single turn from an excavator is guaranteed to literally tear up that part of your lawn. As a result, one can strategically minimize the movement of an excavator by either complementing its use with a wheel barrow, or driving in straight lines and avoid turning as much as possible. Generally speaking, for a healthy lawn, driving in straight lines on top of it a few times is fine.

For hard surfaces such as driveways, it's important that no debris, especially gravel, are caught between the tracks and the surface. Otherwise there can be scratch marks, which can be difficult to remove.

Dig Only Where You Need

For many newer users, these machines can be too much fun. Some users have a tendency to overuse them. It's important then to strategically minimize their use to avoid digging up the entire property. Dig only where you need to, as deep as you need to, as wide as you need, and as long as you need. Plan out your job before going at it. It's very easy with so much power at your fingertips to go overboard. These machines can remove in scoop what it takes an adult 30 minutes to do.

Using the Correct Buckets

There are generally two types of buckets. One with "teeth" for digging and one for scooping up dirt that's "smooth". The one with the teeth will dig far better than the larger wider bucket and because it's way smaller, is great for digging with more precision. If you try to dig with the larger bucket, you'll often end up scraping large swatches of lawn rather than digging into it. Be sure then to use the correct tool for the job.


Hopefully this guide will have clearly explained some strategies to utilize when doing excavation work to minimize collateral damage. Obviously the best thing is to have plenty of experience so you know what to look for but also have a good understanding and feel of the machine. If you are really unsure about the process, you can always hire an expert excavation service.