How to Dig a Hole With a Backhoe

Using a backhoe can make a small digging job a lot easier and a large job possible. As more families are purchasing small tractors for yard work and mowing, using a backhoe is becoming more common practice. The backhoe attachment is one of the optional equipment pieces when ordering your new tractor. How do you dig a hole with a backhoe once you have one? Read on to learn how to dig a hole with a backhoe.

  1. Call MissDig or the statewide excavation safety and utility damage prevention company in the state where you are digging. You should call before beginning any digging job to avoid breaking telephone lines, gas lines or anything installed before you arrived. You can be responsible for repairs if you do not call and end up damaging equipment.

  2. Determine the location of the hole. Take into consideration the depth and the distance to the farthest edge at the bottom of the hole before setting your backhoe up. You will also need enough area to make two piles of dirt. You will want to keep the top soil separate.

  3. Turn the bucket upside down and press it into the ground until you lift the tires off from the ground. Then, set the stabilizers to prevent the backhoe from tipping or moving. Some of the tractor loader backhoes TLBs require you to either flip the seat over or turn the seat around when using the backhoe function instead of the loader function.

  4. Skim off the top soil for the entire hole first and place that pile on one side of the hole. Backhoes have four possible functions. You can stretch out the entire arm to reach as far as possible, swing the arm back and forth, bend the elbow and move the bucket back and forth to dig, scoop and drop.

  5. Dig your hole focusing on one area of the hole at a time. This will reduce the number of times that you retract the arm, which will reduce your work time and fuel consumption.


  • Take time for safety precautions and read the instructions.
  • Backhoes can and do tip over and sink into the mud.
Continue Reading