More and more homeowners are turning to snowblowers to take the strain out of snow removal, are you one of them?
Do you know when and where a snowblower can be used?
We cover everything you need to know to help answer the question of when can you use a snowblower on grass or gravel.
Many of you will already know that there are 3 main different types of snowblowers. First is the smaller single-stage snow blower (snow thrower), next up a two-stage snow blower, and lastly the beast of them all, the three-stage snowblower.
It’s always important you have the right snow blower for your circumstances, weather conditions, and surfaces.
For example, a two-stage machine can clear a thick blanket of heavy snow with no problem, whereas a single stage may struggle.
So, Can You Use A Snowblower On Grass?
Although the answer is yes you can use a snowblower on grass and gravel, it does actually depend on the snow blower and setup you have. Getting it wrong risks churning up your lawn or damaging your snowblower.
All snow blowers feature a spinning auger and generally a scraper bar, and it’s these parts that can dig into your lawn or be damaged while clearing snow from unpaved surfaces such as gravel.
However, certain types of snow blowers are equipped with skids and these are the snow blowers that can be used on grass, uneven, or unbound surfaces.
It’s these skids that determine whether you can use a snowblower on grass or not.
What Are Skid Shoes And What Do They Do?
Put simply, skids are an adjustable attachment fitted to a snowblower or snow thrower and are designed to act as a spacer between the auger and the ground. Therefore avoiding any digging into the lawn or scraping on the gravel.
The scraper bar (shave plate) can be found at the bottom of the auger housing underneath the machine.
And, it does exactly what the name implies, scrapes the snow from the ground. Generally, scraper bars are adjustable and when used in conjunction with skid shoes, allow you to clear snow from uneven surfaces and grass.
To find how and if it can be raised check the user manual for your model.
How To Check If Your Snow Blower Has Skids
It is important to note that not all snow blowers have skids or can have skids added. This makes it all the more important that you check before you buy or you start clearing a surface that needs them, as even when buying the best cordless snow blowers you may discover more often than not they don’t have adjustable skids if they’re not two-stage models.
If you are unsure if your snowblower has skids fitted, simply take a look. They are attached to the sides of the auger housing and can easily be seen as shown in the image above.
Main Types Of Snow Blower Skids
Now you know what skids are, what they do, and where they are, let’s talk about the different types of skids available. And, which are useful for what circumstance.
Metal Skid Shoes
Generally speaking, metal skids are cheaper than composite products and are longer-lasting. However, although metal skids can be used on both even and uneven surfaces they can be prone to damaging surfaces such as wood decking and varnished or painted surfaces etc.
Composite Skid Shoes (Non-Abrasive)
Composite products may not be quite as durable as metal products but they are still very durable. These are a great choice if you are clearing asphalt, wood decks, and concrete, etc. as there is less risk of them marking the surface. These can also be used on even or uneven ground.
Roller Skid Shoes
Roller skid shoes are as the name suggests, skids that have a roller fitted. This design helps when maneuvering or transporting heavier model snow blowers as they will be rolling as opposed to sliding.
However, these are not suitable for gravel, grass or uneven surfaces.
Although a blanket of snow can benefit your lawn during the cold snowy months by acting as an insulator and protecting it from icy cold winds and frost, there are times at which you may need to clear your lawn of snow.
Follow my easy step-by-step guide on how to use a snowblower on grass and you’ll be clearing snow like a pro.
1. Clear The Grass Of Any Rocks Or Objects (Ideally Before It Snows!)
Before winter snow lands and spring arrives, there are a few things you can do to avoid damage and problems. Firstly, make sure your lawn is ready for winter, the stronger and healthier the grass the better it will handle adverse conditions.
Secondly, ensure that all garden hoses, sprinkling systems, and extension cords are not left sitting on the grass and store safely out of reach of snow and ice.
Lastly, avoid expensive repairs by removing debris such as twigs or stones before a heavy snowfall.
2. Use Sticks To Mark Any Permanent Fixtures
Driveway markers are not only good for driveways. They are great for marking the edge of your lawn, garden beds, and permanent garden fixtures. After all, you’ll be working blind once the snow arrives.
3. Make Sure Your Skids Are Correctly Fitted
Before you start check that the scraper bar and skids are set to the right height and that they are secure.
If you have any doubts about how to do this always refer to the user manual for instructions.
NEVER place your hands inside the workings of a snowblower until you are satisfied all safety procedures have been followed. A snow blower is a dangerous machine when extreme care is not taken (even when turned off).
4. Clear A Small Amount Of Snow At A Time, Checking As You Go
Although a two-stage machine is great for dealing with heavy deep snow, don’t try to clear too much at one time. Trying to work at high speed and clear too much at once will not only make it harder for you but may also clog the discharge chute.
5. Go At A Slow Speed
If you are clearing snow from grass or loose and uneven materials don’t go full speed ahead, slow and sure is always best. By slowing things down and checking all is going well every few minutes you will avoid expensive mishaps.
What About Using A Snow Blower On Gravel Driveway?
One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to snow blowers has to be ‘can you use a snow blower on a gravel driveway’? As we mentioned earlier, the answer is yes but with caution. In fact, it’s the same procedure as removing snow from grass.
Follow our simple step-by-step guide above for snow blowing on grass and you can use your snowblower on gravel in no time.
Note: Always take note of where you throw snow. If gravel is accidentally picked up and sent through the chute with the snow it can cause damage to vehicles, properties, and worse, humans and pets.
Fitting Larger After Market Skids
Although most two-stage snow blowers will be supplied with skids, for some circumstances fitting larger skids can be beneficial. This is especially true if you have an area to clear of snow that is uneven, unbound, or cracked when standard skids just don’t make the grade.
The longer ‘Armor skids’ act like skis so you have the benefit of sliding easily over cracks, lumps, bumps, and loose stoned surfaces. Here’s a great little video where you can see what they are, how they are attached and watch them in use.
Remember to measure the distance between the slots on your machine carefully before ordering, different makes and models of skids all vary in size.
Wrapping Everything Up
We hope the information given above has helped you understand how to clear snow from uneven surfaces and grass without damage. Have the right machine, adjust to the correct settings, and take it slow and you to sail through this winter.
What Else Are People Asking?
To finish off, we’ll answer a few questions that are commonly asked to help you further. Well that’s our lot, stay safe and enjoy this winter everyone.
Can you use a snowblower on a dirt driveway?
Because most two-stage snowblowers are fitted with an adjustable scraper bar and skids it is possible to use them on dirt driveways. However, be sure to adjust the scraper and skids to a suitable height for your particular surface.
Do snowblowers throw rocks?
Whether you have a small snow thrower or a larger gas model, all snow blowers use a fast spinning auger to throw snow It is, therefore, important to clear all debris from your driveway before the snow settles as a snowblower will throw rocks and anything else in its path.
Are gravel driveways good for snow?
To a certain extent, gravel driveways are better for dealing with snow as they are unlikely to be affected by the freeze-thaw cycle that can damage concrete.