What Exactly is a Landscape Trailer?

Looking for information on a landscape trailer?  Are you thinking of starting or currently own a landscaping business and unsure of the best type of trailer to transport your equipment and tools?  I'm guessing you may be having a hard time finding much information if you happen to be searching for that specific term online.  Well, not to worry, you're in the right place now.  The challenge with finding quality information on a landscape trailer is that the term "landscape" is referring to the application or use of the trailer, and not necessarily the trailer itself.  That's really just another way of saying that you can use many different types of trailers for your landscaping business.  It really all depends on the nature of services you offer and the type of equipment you use.  

The two most common trailers you might see on the road hauling landscaping equipment are utility trailers and enclosed cargo trailers.  What works best for you?  Well, it ultimately comes down to the type and the amount of equipment your crew is hauling, your tow vehicle, and also the budget.  However, with the variety and sheer number of used landscape trailers out there I'm sure you'll have no problem finding a model that meets your requirements and budget alike.

Open or Closed Landscape Trailer?

For most landscapers and small contractors an open utility trailer will work well and allow you to transport tools and materials to and from the work site.  If weather is not a problem for you, buying an open utility trailer would be a wise and economical choice.  Ranging in price from $500 to $2,000 and up, open landscape trailers are much lighter in both weight and cost than enclosed trailers. However, if your crew is transporting heavy equipment or if you are expecting to travel a long distance with a possible overnight stay you probably want to look at an enclosed trailer that will provide some added protection from both the elements and people alike who might want to walk off with your equipment when you make a stop.  They combine essential features of weather protection and theft protection. These landscape trailers are lockable to give your cargo maximum protection. These trailers cost around $1,600-$5,000.

Where Can I Buy a Landscape Trailer?

A landscape trailer can be purchased from a variety of different places. You probably have a few small distributors in your area that carry a variety of different styles and prices. Another option is a big box chain store that will have a selection of different trailers.  However most of the ones that I have seen only offer a steel grate floor which is not great if you want to transport mulch, sand, gravel or even if you might leave that random tool on your trailer floor because it probably won’t be there when you end your trip.  If budget is a concern, there are literally tons of used utility trailers online.  One of the best places I've seen to find used equipment is on EBay, and since TrailersResource.com is an eBay affiliate, you can browse the current listings for a used landscape trailer by following below.  

You may not be aware, but if you're handy and looking for a new project, you can also purchase trailers of this type in kit form from online retailers and large chain retailers.  When you purchase a kit, you receive all of the parts and components that make up the trailer along with an instruction manual.  Similar to buying Ikea furniture, you will be responsible for assembling the trailer yourself.  Here are a few of examples of open utility trailer kits for sale on Amazon:

And for those that are even more adventurous you can even buy trailer design plans, and with a little skill you can build a landscape trailer yourself and save hundreds of dollars.

Regardless of how you acquire your landscape trailer, once you pick the style of trailer that meets your need you will have to learn how to use it properly. If you buy from a small dealer you are likely to get some hand holding and personal instruction. If you buy over the internet then you are going to have to learn on your own.

How to Hook up Your Landscape Trailer to Your Truck

Hooking up your trailer is not as simple as just backing your truck or car up to the hitch and making the connection. There are a few things that you must be aware of or you could find yourself in some serious problems when you are driving down the road at 60 miles per hour.

The first thing you have to understand is what weight can your vehicle tow. Now this is a combination of both the physical ability of the vehicle and the rating of the tow hitch, also known as Tongue Weight (TW). The basic deal is the larger the vehicle and higher the tow hitch rating the more you can tow. However you cannot tow more with your vehicle just because you put a larger hitch on it. Both must work together.

Secondly, it's imperative to know the the weight ratings of the trailer. Each trailer has a maximum weight capacity that it can carry no matter what type of vehicle is towing it and that is based on the structural components of the trailer including the hitch, frame and the axle and tires. Just because two trailers appear to be very similar may have a load rating 500 or 1000 pounds apart.  So make sure you know the combined weight of your landscaping equipment before deciding on a trailer model.

Once you've determined your vehicle can tow a specific trailer with a specific load and all of your equipment, now you need to know how to hook up your trailer, load it and drive it.

Safety Chains

Safety chains should always be used when hauling any type of trailer, and especially when towing landscape trailers loaded with expensive equipment.  After all, your business depends on that equipment! A tow hitch chain will reduce the risk of your load swaying back and forth or flying out of control (or worse) if your hitch fails.  It will also help to protect your tow vehicle, and other motorists.

Loading Your Landscape Trailer

There is a basic rule when loading your trailer called the 60/40 rule. It simply means that 60 percent of your load should be in front of the trailer’s axle. Normally this is true in most cases however you must consider how much downward force the hitch on the trailer is putting on the ball on the vehicle’s hitch.

Each setup will be different but the measurement you are looking for is called the Tongue Weight. Tongue Weight can be measured with a household bath scale for very light loads but it can get tricky if your tongue weight is over 150 pounds. At that point and if you are hauling a Van or Double Axle trailer it is important that you invest in a special scale which will tell you if enough weight is on the ball so the load will be safe and the trailer won’t sway as you go down the road.

If the tongue weight is too light then your trailer will sway. If the tongue weight is too heavy it will be difficult to steer your vehicle.

The problem may require shifting of the load or lightening of the load.

Use Tie Down Straps to Secure Your Load

Every landscape trailer should have a way to secure the load. Tie down straps are an easy way to provide adjustable security for most loads but be sure to investigate and use them at their rated strengths. If you have heavy objects like you are towing a riding lawnmower or tractor in your flat bed utility trailer you want to make sure that you tie it down at at least two points in the front and two points in the back with each of these points attaching to the left and right of the trailer.

Just as you distribute load you want to distribute the load on the tie down straps so no one strap or direction is taking the load more than any other or you might end up with shifting loads while you are driving and that is probably worse than loading your trailer wrong from the start because it will be startling when you are trying to control your load.

Check List for Loading your Trailer

  1. Make sure the loaded weight is within the ratings of the equipment
  2. Tow hitch and hitch-ball are tight
  3. Coupler hand wheel is tight
  4. Safety chains are properly attached and secure
  5. All lights are connected and working
  6. Check all tires for correct pressure
  7. Load trailer heavier in front
  8. Secure the load

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