How to build a pull behind lawn aerator

How to build a pull behind lawn aerator

How to build a pull behind lawn aerator. If the idea of a powerfully built homemade pull behind lawn aerator tickles your fancy right now (and it’s probably true, considering the beyond-reach prices of today’s top models), you may want to look closely at the tutorial we have pieced together below to help you build your own lawn aerator.

As improbable as it may seem, our DIY lawn aerator -built largely from cheap materials – does the job just as ably as the “premium” brands that are the dream of every homeowner.

The good news is that it’s not as hard to make as you think.

Scroll down to start to learn how to build a pull behind lawn aerator for your large yard now!

How to build a pull behind lawn aerator (spike tow behind lawn aerator)

The spike DIY tow behind lawn aerator is based, literally and engineering-wise, on a regular five-gallon oil drum and standard pipe holdfasts- these will give us tapered spikes about 3-inches long.

Essentially, we will rework the drum – and fix the desired number of spikes, based on the circumference of the drum- into an easy-rolling lawn aerator that lets water, nutrients, and air reach the grass roots for a lusher, more beautiful lawn.  

Any other big enough metal cylinder can be used instead of the drum- all we want is towable aerating equipment that is sturdy and long-lasting.


  • Five-gallon oil drum (use a drum that is still in a fairly good condition and without dents).
  • Pipe holdfasts- you can buy these from an ironmonger.
  • Enough sad and cement- depends on the circumference of your drum.
  • Granite chippings (fine) or gravel.
  • A copper pipe- long enough to work as an axle.


  • Chisel
  • A drill

How to build a pull behind lawn aerator – step by step directions:

Getting the drum ready

If your drum has an opening, skip to the next step. Note that you want the hole to be sizeable. But how big? Well, you’re good to go if the space can accommodate your hand.

In the absence of a hole, remove the end of your drum completely- simply melt the solder- or cut a big enough hole.

You can, for example, drill a couple of small holes – arrange them in a fairly large circle- then knock through the small pieces that separate them using a cold chisel

Get the spikes

Sorry, I cannot tell you the exact number of spikes you’ll need- it’s again a question of the size of the cylinder you’re adapting.

What is important is to have an adequate number of solid spikes -3 to 3 ½-inches long to be clear- to effectively pierce the ground and remove the soil compaction. 

A semi-circular loop (at the other end of your tapered spikes) is absolutely vital- it helps holds the pipe when knocked, for instance, into a wall.

How well do pull behind aerators work

Mounting the spikes

With the spikes ready, your next logical step is putting them into place.

This task has several procedures you need to complete:

Step 1: Marking the drum

The first thing is to mark the holes where the holdfasts will be inserted. Use chalk to draw a mark-outside of your drum -where each spike will go.

Bear in mind that your spikes will be positioned in rows and the optimal distancing is approximately 4” apart (in the rows).

On the same note, leave a 5 inches (or so) gap between individual rows.

Do pull behind dethatchers work

Step 2: Making the holes

Now make the openings themselves.

Just grab a holdfast and use it as a punch. You simply drive the spike through (from the outside), all the way to its broadest point.

And since the spike of holdfasts tends to be wider than the thickness, you should ensure the holes are rectangular in shape.

That way, the longest side will be parallel with the edge of the drum.

Step 3: Insert the holdfasts

Next, stand the drum on its end- you can place it on a soft surface or even two bricks so that you’ll have the end of the axle-carrying pipe protruding about 2 inches when put it in step 4 down.

Now insert your holdfasts -you’re doing this from inside of your drum- and tap them lightly through. Stop tapping when the curved part has come up against the inner side of the cylinder.

Step 4: Fill the drum

To fill the drum:

Mix an adequate amount of cement and sand. The recommended ratio is; one part cement: one part sand: three parts clean gravel or fine granite chippings.

Check that the mixture is sufficiently moist and if satisfied, put the pipe right in the center and ensure it runs through to the other end (until it protrudes as described earlier) then start to pour the cement mixture in.

Press the cement gently using a cane or even an ordinary stick.

The whole point to see that the mixture has been pressed in solidly between the curve of the holdfasts and the inner side of the drum.

Once you are done filling, leave the drum standing on its end until the mixture hardens.

pull behind lawn aerator

Step 5: Attach a pulling handle

If you have a lawnmower that you no longer use, you can modify the handle and fix it through the pipe to be used to pull the aerator.

The good news is that your options are unlimited and with a bit of imagination, you can adapt the handle to hook up to the hitch on your lawn tractor or ATV.

This is certainly the most practical way to tow it if you’re aerating a large property.

This is not cast on stone so feel free to experiment and find ways of including more features.

For example, a lift mechanism can be great for transportation and end of rows.

Likewise, weights could be necessary if you’re handling a badly compacted yard.

Now, if you’re creative, you can play around with the above design and invent a way of adding some weights.

Bottom-line is: Aerating your lawn helps revive your property’s damaged turf and this DIY pull behind lawn aerator can make all the difference if you don’t have spare bucks  lying around.

Give it a try.

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