We are soon moving to a larger home with a long dirt driveway and about 3-5 acres of grass area to mow. Total size is 10 acres of wooded, open and mixed areas, hilly. Driveway is "y" shaped; from driveway entry to house it is 850' long uphill and the other side is 450' on relatively flat road to an additional storage garage where the tractor will be parked. Since the house sits on a hill the mow areas slope down from the house with some additional 30' hills on both sides with about 1.5 acres of flat open areas where we may put in a 20'*30' garden (probably tiller in the future). Since I live in northern Michigan we also get a good amount of snow so the tractor will be used for snow blowing. 12" of snow and 2' drifts of either wet heavy or light powder snow are expected. The lawn isn't picture perfect, just your basic grass in sandy soil. Trees scattered around to mow around as well.
My initial budget was in the range of the 700 series (738/739 or 758). Pretty sure 4wd is going to be a must with snow blowing and the hill driveway. Started looking at the 1025r as it is not much more $$$. I don't have a need (currently) for a FEL but could see using one around the property in the future. Is it difficult to put one on the 1025r in the future if I did not get one initially? I have a full set of tools and prefer to do my own work when I can. Can the 700 series handle the snow blowing and tilling without too much wear and tear or should I stick with the 1025r? Given the total budget I'm also considering a cheap snow plow truck to clean the driveway and a less expensive mower for grass cutting, but then I'd still need something to till the garden with. I'm not too keen on maintaining a plow truck and a mower/tractor so I'm thinking a single machine for both duties.
Never owed a rider mower or tractor, we cut our current lawn with a hand mower. I am leaning toward the 1025r with 54" snowblower and 54" mid mount mower. We'll probably put a tiller on in the spring and perhaps pick up a box blade to help maintain the dirt driveway; or would just a basic blade work well for that?
Pretty sure a 1025r is in our future but would appreciate feedback.