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Excavating a Garden: The Essential Guide

Garden excavating with Rabbit Plant Hire machinery

Transforming your garden starts with a blank canvas and often that means beginning with excavation. Whether you’re clearing the way for a majestic garden layout, setting the stage for a serene pond or laying the foundations for an outdoor structure, excavating your garden may be a critical first step. But where do you start? And how can you ensure that this initial step doesn’t turn into a daunting ordeal or disaster? This guide aims to navigate you through the process, highlighting the crucial aspects of garden excavation, the tools you’ll need and how Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire can help simplify your project.

What Does it Mean to ‘Excavate’ Your Garden?

Excavation involves removing soil, debris and any other obstacles from an area to prepare it for landscaping, construction or other garden projects. This process can range from simple soil removal to more complex tasks, such as digging out space for a pond or preparing foundations for a building or structure.

How Much Does Garden Excavation Cost in the UK?

Understanding the costs involved in garden excavation is crucial for planning your project budget effectively. While the total cost can vary widely based on the scope of your project and the specific needs of your garden, one of the key components to consider is the cost of hiring the necessary equipment.

Equipment Hire Costs

At Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire, we offer a range of excavators suitable for every type of garden project, from small-scale landscaping to more significant excavation work. The cost of hiring an excavator depends on several factors, including the size of the excavator, the duration of the hire and any additional accessories or attachments you might need.

Factors Influencing Cost

  • Duration of Hire: The length of time you need the equipment for will significantly impact the cost. Short-term hires can be economical for quick projects, while longer-term hires may offer better value for extended projects.
  • Delivery and Collection: Depending on your location relative to our depot, there will be costs associated with delivering and collecting the equipment. We strive to keep these costs as low as possible, ensuring your project remains within budget.
  • Additional Equipment: Depending on your project’s specifics, you might need additional attachments or equipment. These extras can influence the overall hire cost, so it’s important to discuss your project with us to identify any potential requirements upfront.

Getting a Detailed Quote

The best way to understand the cost of excavating your garden is to get in touch with us for a detailed quote. Our team at Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is dedicated to providing transparent pricing and advice, helping you select the right equipment for your project without overspending. We can also offer insights into optimising your hire to get the best value, ensuring your garden excavation is both successful and cost-effective.

Tips for Your Project

Check If Your Project Requires Planning Permission

Before you start, it’s crucial to know if your project requires planning permission.  The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and local planning policies can provide guidance on this. For smaller projects, you might not need permission, but it’s always better to check and be sure.

Hire the Right Equipment

The success of your garden excavation largely hinges on using the right equipment. Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire offers a range of excavators perfect for any garden project. Hiring the correct size and type of machinery can save you time and money in the long run.

  • Small Excavators: Ideal for tight spaces and smaller projects, like the Kubota K008 Micro Diggers or the Kubota U17-3a Excavator, tend to be more cost-effective, perfect for those looking to undertake minor adjustments to their garden landscape.
  • Medium to Large Excavators: For larger projects that require more power and deeper excavation, such as the Kobelco SK210LC or the Doosan DX140LC-5, the hire cost will be higher, reflecting the increased capabilities and potential for larger scale transformations.

Take a look at our plant hire services or excavators for hire.

Consider Getting Someone Experienced to Help

While our equipment is designed for easy use, if you’re not experienced in operating excavation machinery, we strongly advise getting help from someone who is. This could mean hiring an operator for the day or having a seasoned professional guide you through the initial stages of your project. Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire believes in empowering our clients to undertake their projects confidently. We’re here to provide advice on finding the right assistance, ensuring your excavation goes smoothly and safely, even without prior experience.

Talk to Us Today About Your Upcoming Project

Planning a garden excavation can be overwhelming, but with Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire you’re not alone. Our fleet of modern, well-maintained equipment is at your disposal, ensuring you have the right tools for the job. Plus, our knowledgeable team is always a phone call away, ready to offer advice and support from the moment you choose your excavator to the completion of your project. Reach out today to discuss your needs and how we can assist in making your garden transformation a reality.


Can You Hire a Mini Digger for Your Garden Project?

Yes, you can. Mini diggers, such as the Kubota U17-3a Excavator, are perfect for garden projects, offering the agility and power needed for smaller excavation tasks. Just ensure your site and project space can accommodate the digger’s size and movement.

Can You Hire an Excavator for Your Garden Project?

Absolutely. Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire offers a variety of excavators suitable for garden projects of all sizes. From compact models for precise work to larger machines for extensive excavation, we’ve got you covered.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Excavate Your Garden?

This depends on the scale of your project and local regulations. For minor excavations, you might not need permission, but it’s crucial to verify this with your local planning authority.

How Long Does It Take to Get Planning Permission?

If required, obtaining planning permission can take several weeks to months. Starting this process early is advisable to ensure it doesn’t delay your project.

Transforming your garden through excavation can seem like a monumental task, but with the right preparation, knowledge and equipment, it can be a smooth and rewarding process. Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is here to support you every step of the way, from selecting the right plant to hire to providing expert advice of how to operate it. Ready to start your garden excavation project? Contact us today and make your garden vision a reality.

Rabbit Plant Hire:

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is an established and expert supplier of plant hire for commercial and domestic building projects throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

To find out more about Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire’s plant hire services contact our expert and friendly team on 01903 851957 or

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is part of The Rabbit Group of companies, which includes Rabbit Demolition, Rabbit Skip Hire and Rabbit Toilet Hire.