What Is Lawn Leveling?

What Is Lawn Leveling?

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Rebecca
April 23, 2022
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If your lawn has lumps and bumps on it, you’ll know it can be frustrating to walk on and it also affects the appearance of your lawn.

Your lawn won’t look as good as it could, and an uneven lawn also points to unhealthy grass, which is why you need to do some lawn leveling. 

What is lawn leveling? This is the process of making the lawn get a smoother surface. You can level your lawn yourself with some tools and soil mixes. With that in mind, let’s explore what you need to know about an uneven lawn.

What causes it and what can you do to remedy it? Here’s your DIY guide to lawn leveling. 

Why Is It Important To Have A Level Lawn?

Why Is It Important To Have A Level Lawn?

A level lawn has many benefits besides looking good. Here’s a rundown of some of them.

  • Your lawn won’t be a safety hazard. If your lawn has many bumps and lumps, this can make it easy for you or your kids to trip and hurt yourselves.
  • It makes lawn maintenance easier. Your rake will be able to remove plant debris and dried leaves much faster and more effectively, and you won’t damage your lawnmower.
  • Your lawn will be healthier because you won’t have water accumulating in areas of it. These can contribute to grass growth problems, such as fungal diseases.

What Causes An Uneven Lawn?

What Causes An Uneven Lawn?

There are many different things that can cause your lawn to be bumpy and uneven. Here are some of the most common. 

  • Foot traffic: If your kids play on the lawn a lot, this can put pressure on the grass and soil. Increased foot traffic in certain areas of the lawn can also cause this problem. 
  • Earthworms: While they’re tiny, these worms can be frustrating when you’re trying to have a beautiful, lush lawn. They are capable of moving between 20 and 25 tons of soil per acre every year! You should keep your soil’s pH low to prevent them from being attracted to it. 
  • Water puddles: During cold months of the year, if the water sits on the surface of the lawn this can result in bumpiness. To prevent this from happening, you should ensure proper soil drainage.
  • New structures: If you’ve recently installed a fence or other hardscape that changes the flow of water on the lawn, this can also cause sunken areas in the garden.

Tools You Will Need To Level Your Lawn 

Tools You Will Need To Level Your Lawn 

Before you level your lawn, you should ensure you have all the correct tools. These include the following: 

  • Soil mixture of topsoil, compost, and sand
  • Topdressing (of topsoil)
  • Garden rake 
  • Shovel 
  • Push broom
  • Grass seed
  • Sprinkler or hose 

How To Level Shallow Areas Of Your Lawn

How To Level Shallow Areas Of Your Lawn

If you have areas of your lawn that are around one inch lower than the rest of the soil, you can apply a top dressing mixture to fill it out. To do this, apply a thin layer and spread it evenly with a rake so that you level the ground.

You then want to tamp down and compact the soil with your feet and the flat side of your rake. Then, water the soil lightly to encourage soil compaction. Leave it to settle.

After the soil has settled, which should take a few days, you can plant grass seeds. After you’ve done this, add some more topsoil then pat it down. 

The topdressing should contain a mixture of compost, fine sand, and topsoil. Make sure this mixture doesn’t contain plant debris or mulch, both of which can be suffocating for your grass.

The fine sand you should use is play sand. Try to follow the guideline of having 40 percent of sand, 40 percent of topsoil, and 20 percent of compost.

Here are extra tips on how to apply it to your soil:

  • Mix the leveling mixture in a tub with a shovel.
  • Mix it well so that all the components are blended properly. 
  • Apply up to half an inch of the mixture to low areas in the lawn. Never apply more than this as it can smother the grass. 
  • Rake the mixture so that it’s evenly spread. 
  • With a push broom, brush the grass back and forth. This pushes up the grass blades. 
  • Lightly water the area. 

If the bumpy or uneven area of the lawn didn’t have grass growing in it before, you should overseed the area so that you’ll encourage it to grow. 

How To Level Deep Areas Of Your Lawn 

How To Level Deep Areas Of Your Lawn 

If your lawn has areas that are more than two inches lower than the rest of the soil, you’re dealing with major leveling. These deep holes need to be filled. Here’s how.

  • Fill the hole with soil, then compact it a bit. You can compact the soil by walking on it. 
  • Water it so that the soil will settle properly.
  • Avoid just piling loose dirt on it, as this will cause the area to sink again. 
  • Then, prepare your soil and seed the area of the lawn (via The Spruce).

How To Prevent An Uneven Lawn In Future

How To Prevent An Uneven Lawn In Future

To ensure that your lawn can be healthier in the future, here are some things that you need to do to keep your grass in good condition. By looking after your lawn regularly, you can prevent unevenness from happening.

  • Don’t use your lawnmower in the same path every time you mow your lawn. This can cause ruts in the lawn, so try to change your cutting pattern regularly.
  • Aerate your lawn. A garden rake can help you to break up any raised areas so you can level them out. Doing this regularly prevents bigger problems in the future.
  • Eliminate thatch. This buildup of organic matter appears on the surface of the lawn. It blocks sunlight, moisture, and nutrients so the grass can’t thrive. Remove thatch with a garden or power rake. 

Extra Tips For Leveling Your Lawn

Extra Tips For Leveling Your Lawn

To ensure the process of leveling your lawn goes smoothly, you should follow some important tips, such as the following. 

  • Mow your lawn before you level it. Cut your lawn short, but not too short. Aim for between 21/2 and 3 inches of height. You don’t want the stem to be seen as this makes it prone to drying out. 
  • Remove thatch. This buildup of organic plant debris could have been why your lawn became uneven and bumpy to begin with, so you want to remove it. Note that you should only have about a quarter-inch to a half-inch of thatch on your lawn. You can remove it with a thatch rake. 

Once you’re done with leveling your lawn, you should water it lightly. This helps the top-dressing mixture to settle into the grass while it also fills up any air pockets that can be present. You can do this easily by using your lawn sprinklers. 

Is Lawn Rolling The Same As Lawn Leveling? 

Is Lawn Rolling The Same As Lawn Leveling? 

Lawn rolling can help you to level out some minor uneven areas in your lawn, but you should add top dressing to the soil beforehand. In this way, it’s similar to lawn leveling. It does come with some drawbacks, though. 

Rolling your lawn compacts dirt underneath the grass. This prevents water from entering the soil. Some lawn care experts don’t recommend rolling a lawn. This is because it essentially flattens the lawn but it’s not enough to smooth out lumps and bumps in it.

Related Questions 

When is the best time to level your lawn?

When is the best time to level your lawn?

You should aim to level your lawn just before spring. This gives your grass a chance to grow and it will also give the lawn moisture in the form of rainfall so that the soil can set after you’ve leveled it.  

Can you level out your lawn with just sand?

You should avoid using sand on its own to level out your lawn. A dry topsoil and sand mixture is better to achieve this. 

Conclusion

If you want to even out your lawn so it looks better and your grass can grow healthier, we’ve outlined some important tips to follow so that you can level it out yourself without calling the pros.

We’ve given you tips on how to fix minor and major issues so that your lawn has better drainage and is safer to walk on so it’s not a tripping hazard. 

Resources:

Rebecca

Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.