After moving into a new home, you might find that some serious landscaping is in order to make the best of your garden or outdoor space. Often, this means transporting heavy materials such as rocks, flagstones, concrete slabs, timber or bricks.
Whenever moving something heavy, you should prioritize protecting your back. Back injuries are extremely painful and debilitating and can have you off work for months.
The best way to protect your back is to avoid any lifting whatsoever.
Here Are Four Tips to Help You Do Just That
Invest in a Dolly
The great thing about using a 2 wheel moving dolly is that you only have to lift the heavy object an inch or so to move it into position. You can then lean the dolly back and its low center of gravity will keep the load stable while you transport it. If going up a slope or steps, walk backwards, pulling the dolly in front of you.
Make sure you opt for pneumatic wheels, especially if you are going over rough ground, and inflate them before loading. A 4 wheel dolly may be suitable for flat ground but you will have to lift the load a bit higher (though still less than a wheelbarrow). Although hiring a dolly is possible, purchasing one can be more cost effective as they are useful for all sorts of internal and external moving jobs.
Roll using Pipes
Heavy duty PVC pipes are a surprisingly effective tool when you want to move heavy objects over flat ground or (with assistance) shallow slopes.
You will need to buy three 10m lengths of 4 inch diameter “Schedule 40” PVC pipe. Lift the front of the object to be moved and slip one length of pipe as far back as you can and the second just under the front. Then place the third length of pipe in front of the object (close enough so that the object can reach it when rolled forward).
Go behind the object, gently lift and push the rear to roll it forward and on to the third piece of pipe. When the object is clear of the rear length of pipe, move it to a position just in front of the object and repeat the process.
Walk the Object
If the above methods aren’t available to you, you may find that walking the object will work. This can tear up your lawn and scratch and chip hard surfaces so be very careful and protect the surfaces first if possible. You should only use this method on flat ground or very shallow slopes as you could easily lose control on steep slopes.
Then, simply tip the object gently until you can pivot it on one ‘corner’ and walk the opposite corner forward. Repeat with the other corner.
You may be able to use the object’s momentum to walk it in one go across the entire distance. If the object is heavy and unstable though, you may want to take breaks to ensure maximum control.
Flip the Load
The final suggestion, which can be easiest for steep slopes, is flipping the load over and over. This method is the slowest of the four and is only advisable with soft surfaces and relatively tough objects (moving stone slabs up a steep grass slope is one such use case).
First, put on some heavy duty gloves. Then you need to get down low and use your arms and legs to lift and gently flip the object over, standing clear as it falls.
With the above tools and techniques, you should rarely, if ever, need to put your back at risk again when transporting heavy objects.