How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Boulder from Your Yard?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated April 27, 2022
A white house with garden
Photo: Westend61 / Westend61 / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Removing a boulder costs $900 on average, but can range between $650 to $1,200.

  • You’ll spend around $250 to hire a pro to haul it from your home.

  • The boulder size is the biggest cost factor, with boulders costing between $50 to $200 per cubic yard to remove.

  • The distance away from the hauling company and dumpsite from your home impacts cost.

  • You can DIY smaller boulder removal, but may need a professional for larger rocks.

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Boulders can enrich a yard’s character and add natural beauty, but sometimes they can be frustrating to mow around and leave your yard looking patchy. To remove a stubborn boulder on your property, you’ll pay an average of $900. Whether you DIY it or hire a pro, here’s what you need to know to budget for boulder removal. 

The Cost to Remove a Boulder Near You

There’s no getting around it—boulders are heavy. But beyond the size of the boulder, one cost factor is actually where you live. It costs between $650 to $1,200 to remove a boulder and between $50 to $600 to haul yard waste away from your home, with most homeowners spending around $250

Rural vs. Metropolitan

Cities or suburban areas are likely to see costs at the lower end of the price point because of ease of access. However, if you live in a rural location and want to call up a yard waste hauling company from the big city to remove your waste, you might end up paying extra in transportation costs that put you at the top of that price range. 

Gas and multiple trips to and from your house to the home improvement store or dumpsite all might add to the estimate you get from a contractor.

Type of Terrain

Some terrain is better than others when it comes to removing a boulder. If you’ve ever tried digging into a rocky ground to remove a root or rock, then you know the challenges of accessing your target. Needless to say, removing a giant boulder in rocky or clay soil types poses extra challenges compared to loam or sandy soil.

Similarly, hilly terrains are just that much harder to access, and even more dangerous for rolling a large boulder if it’s on the top of the hill. The last thing you want is to turn your boulder into a bowling ball!

Cost to Remove a Boulder by Size

Boulders used as landscaping
Photo: Simon McGill / Moment / Getty Images

Again, it costs anywhere from $650 to $1,200 or an average of $900 to remove a boulder. For a small boulder that can be removed without an excavator or rental dumpster, you can spend as little as $250 on the project, but for very large boulders that require multiple days of work, you might pay closer to $2,400 for a professional to come in and clear the obstacle. 

Estimated cost per boulder size:

Boulder SizeTypical Removal
Small Boulders$250
Small to Medium Boulders$650
Medium Boulders $950
Large Boulders$1,200
Very Large Boulders$2,400

Boulder Removal by Cubic Yard

Eyeballing the size of a boulder can prove subjective, which is why many pros will give you a quote based on the boulder’s cubic yard size. Removing a boulder from your yard typically costs between $50 to $200 per cubic yard. Price variation is due to factors like materials required to remove the rock, size of the excavation, number of workers required, and even inclement weather leading to delays in the project.

Boulder Removal Cost Breakdown

A few variables come into play when you’re calculating the cost of your boulder removal project. Here’s a quick breakdown of where the money goes in your project:

Tools and Supplies

You will need a handful of supplies to remove a boulder. If you hire a pro to do the job, these expenses are factored into the total quote, but if you’re removing the boulder on your own, here’s a breakdown of the different tools you may need.

Tools and Supplies Needed for RemovalCost for Those Tools and Supplies
Rototiller Rental$25–$50 per day
Garden Gloves$5
Pointed Shovel$30
Garden Rake$10
Wheelbarrow$150
Dumpster Rental$300–$500 per week
Excavator $300 per day

Boulder Size

The larger the boulder, the higher the cost to remove it. Since boulders cost around $50 to $200 per cubic yard to remove, factor in the size of your boulder to determine the cost to remove it.

Labor

Most removal companies charge anywhere from $120 to $150 per hour depending on location, distance for transporting a removed boulder, and the extent of work required to remove the boulder. 

Keep in mind that when you sign a contract with an excavator company, you’ll likely be billed a minimum amount of guaranteed service hours (usually eight hours a day). For this reason, you’ll probably spend between $950 to $1,200 to hire an excavation company near you to do the job.

Cost to Remove a Boulder Yourself

Not all boulders are giant monoliths. Factor in the cost of materials and the amount of time you’ll have to put into removing the boulder to determine if it can be DIYed. If you can remove the boulder yourself, it costs around $250 to DIY remove a boulder, but if your project is large enough for you to need an excavator and a dumpster, tack on another $700 for a total of $950

Cost to Remove It Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor

DIYing a boulder removal means you’ll save that $120 to $150 per hour rate that would go to labor. For an eight-hour contract, expect to save roughly $300 to $550; however, these potential savings can dwindle to nothing if you need to rent an excavator and dumpster to complete the job.

Likewise, for larger projects that you can’t do alone, it might not be feasible or safe to attempt to remove the boulder without a local grading and hauling company to help. Always factor in the complexity of the job and determine if you can realistically remove the boulder before you invest in costly rental equipment.

How to Save Money Removing a Boulder 

To save on the cost of removing a boulder, consider DIYing the job with a few friends. Once you’ve removed the boulder from the ground, consider keeping it and skipping the dumpster rental to save you hundreds of dollars. Another tip for saving money is to use a sledgehammer or rotary rock hammer that can break the boulder into smaller pieces, making it easy to transport without the use of a dumpster.

Removing a Boulder Questions and Answers

What should I consider when removing a boulder?

If you decide to DIY the boulder removal, you’ll want to wear work gloves and protect your eyes when you break the boulder into smaller pieces. Also, make sure the site where you’re digging won’t hit a pipeline, causing you a whole new problem.

Where do I take the boulder once it’s removed?

After your boulder is successfully removed, you have a few options for what to do with the yard waste. You can rent a dumpster if your yard has many boulders or you’re planning a larger project, or you can even save the boulder and reuse it as part of your landscaping to save on landscaping costs. A few ideas include using the boulder as a natural, abstract statue, breaking it into smaller pieces to line your garden bed, or building a wall if your yard is overrun with rocks.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Other projects that you can do at the same time as your boulder removal include installing a pool, building a deck, or installing a patio in your yard.

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