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How to Make a Concrete Lawn Roller

By Mark Morris

Landscape maintenance is a chore, no way around it. Keeping a beautifully manicured lawn takes a lot of work and the right tools. Getting a nice, tight cut on your grass without leaving scalp marks is in itself an art that few master. One of the keys to smooth, green grass is making sure that your mower has a level track to run on, free from bumps and divots. To accomplish this, landscape companies use large, heavy rollers that smooth out minor imperfections. Here is a plan for an inexpensive, DIY alternative.

Choose a barrel or drum that is the same size from top to bottom, preferably one that has crimping edges on the lid and a screw-off cap. Mark the center of the lid using a tape measure.Cut a 3-inch hole with drill and hole-saw. (Hole-saws are used for door locksets. Get one rated for steel doors, with finer teeth for metal cutting.) Use lid to mark bottom of barrel and cut a 3-inch hole.

Cut a 3-inch pipe to length (2 inches longer than the height of the barrel). Thread both ends. No pipe threader? Your local hardware store can thread pipe for a few dollars. Twist one of the floor flanges onto the outside of the drum bottom, enough to make the pipe end rise to the top of the flange. Run a bead of construction adhesive, such as Liquid Nails, around the flat side of the flange against the barrel. Stand the barrel in a sandy spot so that the flange pushes into the sand. Level it. Cut a 1 by 4 long enough to fit snugly in the top of barrel, centered and lying flat. Drill a 3-inch hole in the center of it. Use this to hold ther pipe in place until the concrete is in.

Add 10 80-pound bags of quick drying cement mix to fill the barrel. Add one or two at a time, mixing in an appropriate amount of water; follow manufacturer's instructions. Make sure each bag is mixed well before adding dry concrete. Prevent voids that will unbalance the roller. Fill to the top and remove the 1 by 4. Seal the lid in place and turn the remaining floor flange onto a 3-inch pipe, which should protrude 1 inch from the top of the drum. Add a bead of construction cement under the flange and tighten it down snugly with the pipe wrench. Allow 24 hours to cure.

With plenty of help (this thing weighs 900 pounds and will crush you) tip the barrel onto its side. Cut the 2-inch pipe to length, about 20 inches longer than the 3-inch pipe, and thread both ends. Slide one 2-inch pipe through the 3-inch pipe in drum. This is the barrel axle. Twist one pipe nut onto each end of both 2-inch pipes. Drill a 2-inch hole in both ends of each iron strap. Center holes about 2 inches from each end. If your drill won't cut it, find a local welder with a drill press to do the job.

Attach one strap to each end of the barrel axle with pipe caps and tighten. Attach the opposite ends to remaining two-inch pipe so that it is between them. Thread the chain through this second pipe and fasten to a stout mower or tractor. You are now ready to bring the look of the PGA's golf greens to a yard near you.


Things You Will Need

  • 50-gallon metal drum with lid
  • 3-inch galvanized, threaded pipe 2 inches longer than the height of your barrel
  • 2 3-inch floor flange fittings
  • 2-inch galvanized pipe threaded with caps and pipe nuts
  • 2-inch by ΒΌ iron straps 3 feet long
  • Drill and 3-inch hole saw for metal
  • 2-inch metal cutting drill bit
  • Tape measure
  • Permanent marker
  • Enough concrete to fill the barrel
  • Pipe wrench
  • Pipe threader (optional)
  • Construction adhesive, such as Liquid Nails
  • 1 by 4 lumber
  • 16 feet of one-inch hardened steel chain

About the Author


Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.