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I made a new drag mat over the winter and I wanted to share it's design after I was able to test it out. It is kind of based on a design that I saw marketed for golf courses. Like this one.

My first attempt at leveling a lawn was at my old house (4k) in which I sand topdressed and then went over it with a baseball infield style drag mat. It worked okay but the front of the drag mat would constantly lift up and float on top of the sand. I thought what would make it better is if I could add some weight and a cutting bar to the front of the mat. I came up with this design here.




I started out with a 2"x12"x4' piece of lumber and then added a 2"x4"x4' and a 2"x8"x4' to it with 1/2" bolts. I made the 2 outside bolts longer so the chain could be attached to it. I also made sure I drilled the holes on the bottom of the setup so the bolt heads would sit inside the squares of the drag mat and not stick out. I then added the 4'x3' drag mat that I had from my previous leveling attempt and added a 2"x2"x4' piece of 1/8" thick angle iron on top of that held on by 3/8" lag bolts.




The 2"x12"x4' is used as a platform that holds weight. I used Deere suitcase weights that I had but I'm sure dumbbells would work as well. I installed some more 1/2" bolts to hold my weights in place making sure the bolt heads sit inside the drag mat squares. I then, based on some of the designs I saw, added a few brushes to the front mounting them to the 2"x8"x4'. I made sure the brushes I picked were the right height so they would sit even with the ground once installed.




Although I haven't tested it for its original purpose yet, I used it to fill trenches that were dug for an irrigation install. The results were so good I thought I would share.

The original plan for this mat is to try and smooth my new larger yard (38K) by heavily coring (10% affected surface area 3" deep) before I renovate and then draging all the cores in and repeating a few times. Hopefully by doing that 2-3 times before seeding it will help prepare the seed bed and smooth it out some. I'll post the results of that here in a couple months when I do that. I also plan on using it in the years ahead to break up less aggressive coring (5% affected surface area) and over time smooth a large lawn with out sanding.

Lastly, depending on the slope of your yard make sure you have something capable of pulling it as the final weight is over 200 lbs. I used my X590 and it handled it no problem.


 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Very nice - great job. :thumbup:

I notice that you rotated the steel mesh 90-degrees from the way a traditional drag mat is set up. Was that for any other reason than getting a 4' wide setup with the 3x4' mat?

I ask because those steel drag mats only flex/roll up one way. I have found that when dragging mine perpendicularly across my recent irrigation trenches that the weight of the mat will actually flex a little down into the trench and drag out some sand with each pass. This sketch is exaggerated a little, but should give you an idea of what I'm talking about:


In other words, I can some benefit to the orientation you used in some applications. Does that make sense?
 

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Bewitched KBG (38k sqft)
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ware said:
I notice that you rotated the steel mesh 90-degrees from the way a traditional drag mat is set up. Was that for any other reason than getting a 4' wide setup with the 3x4' mat?
Good catch Ware. I did rotate it 90° on purpose. By doing so, and now that it is mounted, it made it like a rigid drag mat. It now has minimal flex in either direction. I agree, the way a standard drag mat is kinda pulls material out of low spots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@CenlaLowell, the X590 pulls it fine, even up the steepest hill and all the weight. I worry alittle with the LA115, the X590 has a stronger transaxle. The last thing I would want to see you do is blow yours. If your ground is fairly flat and doesnt have hills, I would try it but maybe try less weight first. If you have hills, I dont think I would attempt it with a LA115.
 

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Pete1313 said:
@CenlaLowell, the X590 pulls it fine, even up the steepest hill and all the weight. I worry alittle with the LA115, the X590 has a stronger transaxle. The last thing I would want to see you do is blow yours. If your ground is fairly flat and doesnt have hills, I would try it but maybe try less weight first. If you have hills, I dont think I would attempt it with a LA115.
No hills on my lawn. I was thinking about not using any weights just adding the brush and the boards to connect it. It says the drag mat weighs 19 lbs I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@CenlaLowell, in the design I made you will need some weight to prevent it from tipping forward. A way to prevent that without adding weight would be to find a solution to mount the chain lower. Maybe mount it on the brushes if possible.
 

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Pete1313 said:
@CenlaLowell, in the design I made you will need some weight to prevent it from tipping forward. A way to prevent that without adding weight would be to find a solution to mount the chain lower. Maybe mount it on the brushes if possible.
Okay, I will try it just the way they ship it first. Then I will make adjustments. I definitely see dropping the height of the chain to stop it from tipping. This is what I ordered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
koba56 said:
Pete, How has your drag mat worked out? I'm thinking of following your build and want to know if you are happy with it.
It worked really well getting a seedbed ready after an aggressive coring.
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=14624#p14624

It also worked really well when I sanded a flatter spot of my yard
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=71996#p71996

It only worked ok when using it to drag in cores after aerating the whole yard. The issue I have on my yard is there is about a 30ft change in elevation across the property. Lots of hills and dips. When I used the mat across some of the hills, it would dig into the face of the hill alittle. This is due to how rigid it is as well as turning on a hill/slope possibly too fast. Wasn't terrible, but just didn't like it. In my last round of coring and dragging, I just used a regular drag mat which worked better for my yard.
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=209301#p209301

For a flatter yard I would recommend this setup. If you have hills/elevation changes, I would play around with the amount of weight added and/or make sure you go slower on those hills.

The setup has held up well thru the years. Some wear to the mat part of it, but overall is still in good shape.
 

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Pete1313 said:
koba56 said:
Pete, How has your drag mat worked out? I'm thinking of following your build and want to know if you are happy with it.
It worked really well getting a seedbed ready after an aggressive coring.
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=14624#p14624

It also worked really well when I sanded a flatter spot of my yard
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=71996#p71996

It only worked ok when using it to drag in cores after aerating the whole yard. The issue I have on my yard is there is about a 30ft change in elevation across the property. Lots of hills and dips. When I used the mat across some of the hills, it would dig into the face of the hill alittle. This is due to how rigid it is as well as turning on a hill/slope possibly too fast. Wasn't terrible, but just didn't like it. In my last round of coring and dragging, I just used a regular drag mat which worked better for my yard.
https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=209301#p209301

For a flatter yard I would recommend this setup. If you have hills/elevation changes, I would play around with the amount of weight added and/or make sure you go slower on those hills.

The setup has held up well thru the years. Some wear to the mat part of it, but overall is still in good shape.
Great! Thank you for the reply.
 

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@Pete1313 Thanks for putting this thread together. The drag looks fantastic and I am planning to follow your build.

I really appreciate the detailed information and pictures. Although I'm a little confused on how you actually affixed the drag mat to the wooden frame? I'm guessing the angle iron is part of the drag mat itself?

Also just wondering now that you've had it for a few years if there's anything you would do different if you were to do it again. Thanks again for the great information!
 
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