If your lawn is in such a mess that you need to tear it out and start all over, then you're looking at a lot of labor unless you use the right equipment. Unless your yard is tiny, tearing out old sod and digging up the soil by hand is such a big job that it could take too long to get the work done. You could rent individual machines such as a sod cutter and tiller, but a better idea could be to rent a small skid steer such as a bobcat. Here's a look at renting a skid steer and how it's helpful for prepping your yard for new sod or grass seed.
What To Know About Skid Steer Rentals
You don't need any special license to rent a skid steer from an equipment and tool rental place. However, it's a good idea to understand how to use one before you rent it. If you've never used one before, ask to be shown how to use the skid steer safely. Once you have the skid steer on your property, spend time practicing until you feel comfortable using it. You'll probably pay by the day, and in addition to asking about the rental fee when you call for information, ask about additional fees if any. You may also need to buy insurance and pay for cleaning if you don't hose the skid steer off when you're finished with it. You may also have to pay for delivery and pick up if you don't have a way to get the skid steer to your property.
How A Skid Steer Helps Prep The Soil
You can use the skid steer to strip off the top layer of weeds and grass so you can eliminate all the growth that makes your yard look ugly. Once the soil is bare, you can use the skid steer to rake the soil and break up clods. You might also need to grade the soil so rain drains the way you want it to and not toward your house. Once that's done, you can use the skid steer to move mounds of amended topsoil around your yard and spread them out. Prepare in advance for all the steps you need to take so you don't have any downtime once you've rented the skid steer, such as having the topsoil delivered the day before so it's ready to spread.
Once the topsoil has been mixed in, you're ready to spread grass seeds or put down new sod. You can apply sod in plugs, squares, or rolls. If you buy sod in big rolls, you can use the skid steer to unroll the sod on your lawn as long as you can rent the attachment needed to do so. However, the hard part of installing a new lawn is prepping the soil, so once that's done, you may want to finish the process by hand.