Issue 47
Moving Rocks

Moving rocks

You’ve picked out your rocks and it’s time to move them into place. Hmmmm. Now that you’ve thought about moving them, you might be rethinking your choices. Before you reject a stone because of its size, here are a few techniques for moving heavy cargo.

Rock sled

Rock sled — If a rock is too heavy to move by hand, try dragging it. There are any number of things you can use as a sled. Loop a rope around a tire and use it as a sled to pull your rock. If you live where there’s snow, you’ll have access to plastic children’s snow sleds like the one in the illustration. These sleds can help you move your rocks to their new home even if it’s not snowing. Spray floor wax on the bottom of the sled and place your rock on it. Even a large plastic tub can work — wax the bottom of it and tie a rope around the container. Then pull the rock-filled container to where you want your rocks. Just be sure that you don’t damage the grass or path you’re dragging across. For example, if it’s just rained, you could tear out your grass, so choose a dry day.

Wheeled trash can

Wheeled trash can — Working on the plastic tub idea, try using one of those wheeled trash cans to dolly your rock to its new home. Lay the can on its side and roll the rock inside. Then tip up the can and wheel your way across your yard. Once on location, just tip the can and dump the rocks. Move mostly smaller rocks in this manner, and just a few at a time so you don’t cause the container’s wheels to collapse.

Pry bar

Pry bars — If you plan to make working with rocks and stones a hobby, you’ll want to add a couple of 4-foot-long pry bars to your tool cache. These rods of heavy metal are flattened on one end, with a flattened hook on the other. This allows you to wedge the bar between the rock and whatever it’s leaning or sitting on. The longer the pry bar, the more leverage you’ll have with the rocks.

To use a pry bar, have a small block of wood handy to use as a fulcrum, or a point of leverage. Place the tip of the pry bar under the rock and rest the middle to lower part of the bar on the block. Then push down on the bar to lift the rock. If the rock won’t budge, try moving the block toward the rock and try again.

When the edge of the rock is off the ground a few inches or so, slide a piece of wood or whatever you’re using as a sled under it. Then move the rock using the sled technique. Or use the pry bar to help you shift a rock a few inches to one side or the other.

Even though these tips will help you with rocks that you can nudge on your own, you’ll likely need to call in extra help for the big boulders.