One of the most frequently requested inquiries is how to level a lawn when it comes to lawns. Many individuals believe that leveling a lawn is too complex a job to tackle on their own, but it is straightforward and does not have to be costly. If your lawn is uneven, it’s a good idea to fill the low areas during active growth, which is typically determined by the type of grass grown but generally takes place in spring and summer.
Why is a Level Lawn so much Important?
A good, smooth, level lawn is necessary since it makes a more practical walking surface. Any activity (whether athletic or otherwise) will be made safer and more pleasurable, from soccer to croquet to just jogging about. For children and adults alike
A well-kept, level lawn is also healthy for your grass and easier to maintain. You can mow faster because the mower isn’t jumping about, and you can cut well because it won’t scalp the grass. Furthermore, mowing over a rough surface is quite unpleasant. Low areas are of particular concern because the level of the mower blade lowers when it passes over them, plunging it into the higher regions and reducing the grass there to nothing. The last benefit of a level lawn is drainage. Holes and low areas accumulate water in pools, increasing the likelihood of lawn disease.
How to Level Lawn Without Killing Grass
Regardless of how uneven the lawn surface is, whether it’s lumpy or bumpy or even has low spots, everybody wants to know How to level the lawn without killing grass.
Of course, there are two ways – one of which is more work than the other but definitely less expensive (and possibly more accessible). I’ll start with the least costly way first.
Mow the lawn, as usual, cutting as evenly as you can. This will make it easier to see your low spots and how much you need to fill them in. You can also take measurements from corner to corner of any flat area to ensure the entire yard is as level as possible. I would recommend taking measures of the entire lawn to determine how many cubic feet of soil you need to buy.
Make your raised beds by covering a section of ground with a sturdy wooden frame and screen or hardware cloth. A good size for a bed will be about 2′ x 4′. The reason for this is that these are the exact dimensions used for raised beds in gardening. How to level lawn without killing grass? The traditional way is filling in low spots with bags of topsoil or compost. This is very inexpensive but somewhat labor-intensive because you’ll have to open each filled bag and spread it around by hand, raking it out over the entire bed. The finished height should be slightly lower than the ground level around it.
What Causes a Lawn to be Bumpy?
Uneven lawns can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Animal digging
- Poor lawn care practices
- Thinning Turf grass
- Compaction due to heavy traffic
- Change in water flow
- Contractor repairs
- Original home builder mistakes or careless work
The Best Tools for Leveling and Grading a Lawn
There are several ways to level a large lawn or improve grading on the other side of your home.
You can either:
- If you don’t have access to large equipment such as a Bobcat or an excavator, you can use smaller walk-behind machines and hand tools for minor yard repairs.
- Alternatively, you might rent a huge machine like a bobcat or a little digger to save time and energy.
- Hiring a contractor to grade and level your lawn professionally.
The majority of readers of this context are most likely going the DIY route; therefore, these are top recommendations for a huge yard that you may level on your own:
- Thatch Rake
- Landscaping rake
- Lawn Mower
- Dethatching machine
- Flathead shovel
- 4 Stakes
- Ball of string
- Line-level/carpenter’s level, bricklayers level, or a string level
- Lawn Roller
- Wheelbarrow or Cart
- Topsoil or Mulch
- Push broom
Topdressing is a simple method that works well on gently uneven surfaces. It doesn’t work on severe issues. To begin, rake up all of the old grass and weeds from a dried-out lawn. Then spread an amount of sand over the yard evenly. Use enough to cover the surface by about three quarters. Level it out with a shovel or rake, then water thoroughly until moist but not wet for at least 24 hours.
If your lawn is on the more severe side of this effect, you’ll need to go beyond that and do topsoil or compost as well. Hopefully, it’s not that bad!
The following are the essential stages:
- Mow the lawn at the lowest possible cut;
- Using a garden rake or de-thatcher, remove the thatch from the lawn.;
- Make a batch of leveling mix in a wheelbarrow. Compost-based compounds are ideal for this;
- Use a shovel to distribute soil mixes in low areas of the lawn carefully.
- Rake the topdressing to ensure even distribution. On top of the low regions, apply 1/4″ to 1/2″ of soil combination. Only half an inch of material can be used at a time in order not to suffocate the grass;
- Spread the soil mixture into the grass as wholly as possible with a push-broom (or leveling rake). Once completed, there should be mostly grass.;
- To further stabilize the grass, water it.; and
- Keep track of the progress in the area. If the top dressing isn’t adequately filling in the gaps, repeat these steps until it is (after the grass has had time to recover). Sprinkle top dressing over small low areas, and depressions gradually repair them.
What type of top dressing is best for leveling lawns?
The most popular lawn leveling top dressings include sand and a sand-soil combination. Pure sand is the fastest and most straightforward solution for leveling purposes. Sand has excellent structure and leveling qualities, aids drainage, and can adhere to clay in the soil. Too much sand might leave your grass dry and thirsty because water will slip right through it.
May purchase sand-soil mixes in many forms, or you can create your own. A standard combination is 30 percent soil or organic compost and 70% sand. The compost/soil adds nutrients and beneficial germs to the lawn, lacking in the sand alone.
Your existing soil will determine the most acceptable top dressing for your application (a soil test can reveal it). If you need to over-seed part of your lawn, use a soil mix to enable seed germination. Sand is often the best option if you’re just concerned with leveling.
Filling Small Holes in Your Lawn
Simply filling the disturbed dirt back in and topping it up with topsoil may be an effective remedy for small animal holes. If the hole is tiny, the existing grass may grow over it. Fill small holes with topsoil, compact it down, and make sure it’s level. Over seed with a similar grass already growing in your lawn. Take care when feeding and watering the seed. Check out my guide on over seeding here. For ant hills, using a spray is recommended.
How to Level a Slightly Unleveled Lawn
What if your lawn has a few distinct holes (an inch or deeper)? Because topdressing takes time, it’s not always the best solution for these regions (since you have to work 1/2″ at a time). Instead, think about replacing the sod and addressing the source of sinking before backfilling with fresh dirt. The removed sod can be reinstated. Follow these instructions to replace your sodded grass:
- Remove the sod covering the low area (if the location is larger than 1-foot square, cut out several pieces and set them aside). It’s best not to cut the pieces any wider than 18″ strips. Gently pull them out of the dirt so that the roots are free. To keep them wet, roll up the strips. If you’re in the sun, move them to a shaded area;
- Fill the hole with enough topsoil to ensure that when you replace the sod, the space will be level;
- As you fill the hole with soil, water it to help settle it. This will eliminate air pockets, allowing for a more uniform texture and depth of the earth.
- If the sod is still in excellent condition, replace it with new seed.; and
- Water the lawn well. I don’t recommend doing this project right after significant rain. The soil will be thick and wet, making it challenging to work with.
Leveling a severely uneven lawn
Finally, if your lawn appears to be the surface of the moon, you may need to employ more drastic measures. Topdressing or sod-cutting will not likely be sufficient in correcting the situation. If your yard has been overgrown, you’ll need to regrade it and plant a brand new lawn. This was the case for me in my backyard, as evidenced by the photos. A part of the yard sloped towards the home, while another half was too steep to be utilized. I decided to do most of the work by hand, which I found to be the best method for a lawn this size. I was able to be more accurate than a machine could. You can see that I had a tractor but mainly used it to remove an old patio and excavate the foundation for a new one.
How to Regrade Your Lawn
The first guideline in grading is that the land should slope away from your home. Every ten feet, it should drop by at least two or three inches. The maximum inclination for a lawn should not exceed 12 inches per four feet of length (that’s six percent). If the drop is more than a foot, you’ll need to consider constructing a little retaining wall or laying down a ground cover or decorative grass over the slope. The following are the primary stages:
- Place stakes in the ground to establish a slope line for the yard to drain appropriately. Transit is a more accurate approach to measuring your yard’s slope than a level. This is my favorite method. May rent them for little money from your local equipment rental shop. To obtain measurements, you’ll need two individuals to measure.
- Once you’ve figured out the slope, begin removing the topsoil from the problem areas. To alter the soil, scrape away high areas and fill in low ones. Grading may require some larger equipment if your yard is big. This sort of equipment may be hired or leased; it depends on your budget.
- Tamp the soil surface and scatter 2 inches of topsoil over it. It will minimize dampness issues between the two layers of dirt.;
- Finally, spread the rest of your soil, which should be at least another four inches thick;
- Once you’ve completed grading, can lay sod or grass seed. The grade (after amendments and new grass) should match the existing fixtures in terms of height (walkways, patios, and lawn). Sod will result in an inch lower finished grade than seeds.
Considerations for New Grass
If you’re utilizing sod, be sure it’s rolled well to reduce the sturdy grass and footsteps in the following weeks. To assist the grass in reestablishing itself, be sure to water thoroughly. Use mulch to restrict weeds. To encourage root development, apply fertilizer. Keep people and pets off of the ground as much as possible for at least a few weeks. And establish some barrier to keep them from trampling on it.
What is the optimum time of year to level?
Repairing takes careful planning. Try to schedule your repairs for the spring. It will allow the grass to grow in and will provide moisture for the soil to set. Spring may be the ideal time concerning moisture, yet it can also be the most challenging. Because of the snow-melt, the ground is generally soft, which might cause new bumps if there is too much vehicle movement. Do not try to level the lawn when it is dormant in the winter.
Measures to Avoid Problems
After your lawn is flat, it’s essential to take preventative actions to avoid adding new bumps or hollows. The following are the two most common ways to achieve this:
- When you switch your lawnmower cutting pattern in between cuts, don’t make ruts by using the same line.; and
- When it’s exceptionally wet, keep pedestrians off of the grass.
I believe you can appreciate my lawn leveling passion after reading this article on How to Level a Lawn and perhaps learned a thing or two. Maintaining an even ground is a continuous operation, but it’s pretty simple and may make a significant difference to the quality of your lawn if done correctly.