How To Level A Bumpy Lawn
Over the years my lawn became progressively bumpier, to the point where scalping the lawn while mowing was a common occurrence, and our two year old would frequently trip when running over bumps or low spots. I began doing research on lawn leveling and after watching a few You Tube videos on professional lawn leveling, I was officially obsessed. This article will outline the results of my research, my results to date, and my plans going forward. Im not planning on getting all the way to putting green standards, but the principles hold true no matter how serious you are. Keeping your lawn level is an ongoing process, but with some simple steps its really quite easy and can make a huge difference to the quality of your lawn.
Why is it Important to Have a Level Lawn?
A smooth, even lawn, without bumps or depressions, is important as it provides a much more usable surface to walk on. Any activity will be made safer and more enjoyable from soccer, croquet, bocce ball to just running around. For kids and adults alike.
What Causes a Lawn to be Bumpy?
A sprinkler system is a common culprit for erosion since the water lines are prone to damage and the whole system requires regular maintenance. To investigate, check that the spray heads and rotors are working correctly and popping up to their full height, that the nozzles are not clogged or damaged, and that the heads are not leaking.
Lawn Leveling Equipment
Steps to Leveling your Lawn
Prepare To Level Your Lawn With Topsoil
If you are going to the trouble of leveling your lawn then you really should prepare your lawn properly for it so that you achieve the lawn perfection you are looking for.
Before you set your plan for leveling your lawn it is a good idea to mow it so that you can have a good look at it and see what areas you are going to take action to level out.
Before you take action you should have sorted any issues that you think maybe causing your lawn to become uneven so you may have to consult an expert otherwise when you level your lawn it may actually become uneven again.
When you are leveling your lawn with topsoil you dont want to be adding the soil to a soaking wet surface so I would recommend you give your lawn a good water a few days before you add topsoil so that it has had a chance to dry out and not be soaking.
Make sure you have everything you need such as a lawn leveling rake and the correct amount of soil before you start the process as you dont want to be running out of topsoil halfway through the lawn leveling process.
How To Level A Grass Lawn
No matter how level your lawn is when you first seed it or put down sod, it probably will develop some uneven spots over time. Ground settling and erosion are two primary causes of an uneven lawn. Its not a difficult task to level grass lawns, but if there is an underlying problem, such as erosion from improper drainage, you should try to fix the problem first. Otherwise, lawn leveling will become a regular occurrence on your to-do list.
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Step : Even Out The Entire Lawn
Once you have filled the holes and divots, cover your entire lawn with about 1/4 to 1/2 inches of the mix.
Keep this layer thin. Err on the side of caution. Even if you think you need more than 1/2 inch. If you put too much down, you may choke your grass.
If you still think you need more, you can reapply in step 8.
Filling Big Dips In Your Lumpy Lawn
For holes in the lawn, my advice would be to use a sharp knife of a lawn edger to remove the turf. Make sure you have a good 2-3 cm of soil on the back of your turf and set it to one side. Fill the hole with soil from elsewhere in the garden. If you use imported topsoil youll find that the grass will always look different where youve made the repair. Be sure to press the new topsoil down firmly. You dont want it to settle and sink in the next few weeks!
Replace the turf carefully, ensuring that it is nice and level. Keep it well watered for 3-4 weeks while the grasses regrow their roots.
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Should I Put Sand On My Lawn
A common mistake that many homeowners make when using sand for lawns is applying it too heavily or unevenly. This can leave unsightly globs of sand throughout the lawn while the grass beneath these heavy mounds of sand can literally be choked out. When top dressing a lawn with any material, only a very thin layer should be spread evenly over the entire lawn. Any areas where it globs or mounds up should be corrected immediately.
Many people also make the mistake of top dressing with sand to try to correct clay soil. This is actually the worst thing you can do, as adding sand to clay soil does not loosen up the soil instead, it creates a cement-like effect.
The best description Ive ever read about clay soil particles is that they are like a deck of cards, spread out in a messy pile as they would be in a game of Go Fish. If you were to pour water on a pile of cards, most of it would run right off the flat cards and not penetrate into the pile.
Clay soil particles are flat and card-like. They lay on top of one another making water unable to penetrate them. When you add larger, heavier sand particles to this scenario, it weighs down the clay particles, making them even more impenetrable by water and nutrients. For this reason, it is especially important to not top dress clay soil with sand. Instead, use a rich, fine compost.
Choosing The Right Mixture For Leveling
Look, sand is the best leveling agent that there is. But it wont retain nutrients for your lawn. As a result, too much sand can be bad for your lawn.
While some people use only sand to level their lawns, it is best to use a mixture of sand, topsoil, and compost. Especially if you have a lot of leveling to do. There are 2 mixtures to consider. And it really comes down to your preferences.
In my experience, I find it best to do a 50/50 mix of topsoil and sand. And then follow up with a top-dressing of compost. While this option adds a 5th step to the process, it works out better.
For one, it creates a mixture that is easier to level. And adds extra nutrients at the surface of the lawn where they can settle down over time. Feeding the lawn for months after application.
Better yet, the top dressing serves as a final layer that can ensure that as the ground settles, there will be extra material to fill in the gaps.
If you are looking for a slightly simpler process try this one. This option will remove one step.
Some people recommend mixing all three together in a ratio of:
and 20% compost.
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When To Add Sand To Your Lawn
If you have a riding lawn mower and mow in the same direction, you may develop ruts from the tires. Over time, these ruts when driven over in the same location can become deeper and scalping can occur as the lawn becomes more uneven.
Lawn parties and outdoor events can also cause divots throughout the lawn. Every summer we rent inflatables such as bouncy houses/water slide combo inflatables that always compact our backyard soil and leave the area very bumpy with deep divots.
Fine sand is best to use to help level a lawn. Thin layers of multiple applications of sand can help level an uneven or bumpy lawn over time. Sand top dressing can also
- Lots of mason sand added as topsoil to my putting green experiment
- Play sand I use for leveling. Can be purchased at home hardware strores.
Is It Appropriate To Level Your Lawn Using Pure Sand
Most people believe lawn leveling is a complicated and expensive process. However, it is easy to level your lawn, and the process does not cost much. It would help if you filled uneven spots in your lawn during the growing season which is usually during summer and spring. The appropriate time to level your lawn depends on the type of grass on your yard.
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Levelling Shallow Low Spots On Your Lawn
For areas that are only 1-2cm lower than the rest of the soil, the top dressing mixture can be applied directly. Shake out a thin layer over the problem area and spread evenly using a garden rake until it is completely filled out and level.
Using your feet and the flat side of the rake, tamp down and compact the soil. Lightly water the soil to further aid compaction and leave to settle. Repeat this process for all shallow areas that need attention.
Once the soil has been left to settle for a few days grass seed can be distributed, followed by a further light dusting of topsoil mix, then pat down gently with the palm of your hand. For the first 48 hours the soil will need a light spray of water 4 times per day to assist in germinating the seeds.
Then water regularly and allow time for the grass seed to grow. Another application can be done if there are low or bare spots remaining after it has settled.
Levelling Larger Lumps Or Hollows
For the parts of your lawn that are deeper than 2cm, you will have to adopt a different method to the one described above. Make sure your lawn is moist, but not too wet, before you try this. Youll need a squared off shovel, to cut into the centre and beyond the edges of the area in a cross shape. Keep these cuts as even as possible to make it easier to lift the turf back. Cut into the lawn to a depth of around 4-5cm, then slide the shovel underneath each section of the cross horizontally. Try to keep the shovel flat so that the soil stays even across the section. Peel back the edges of the turf and then either dig out the excess soil or add extra soil depending on the type of unevenness you are tackling. If you are removing soil, make sure to flatten it back down then fold the turf back over. If you are adding soil into a hollow, turn over the soil and remove any large lumps or stones. Compact the soil and then fill it with more topsoil. Rake it once more then fold the turf back over.
Push the turf back down, starting from the outside and working in towards the centre. Fill in any gaps between the cuts with top dressing and you can always add more lawn seed to fill out the lawn. Water the area regularly once this is done to keep it healthy and growing.
The Supplies You Will Need
Before you get started, you will need to make sure you have all the equipment and supplies you need ahead of time.
You will need:
Straight hard rake and other screed tools,
Buckets or a wheelbarrow,
Sand and compost mixture,
How much material will you need? Check out our article on measuring mulch, the calculation method is similar.
Why Is My Lawn Uneven
Soil is amazing! Within the relatively small area of a domestic lawn there can be several areas with different soil types. Maybe theres a mineral seam running through the lawn, or an old river bed. Perhaps parts of the lawn have been used for different things in the past. One of my customers has grassed over her old vegetable garden but in certain weather conditions you can still see where they were.
If youve ever watched the TV program Time Team youll know that the soil in a garden can give us clues as to what was there hundreds of years ago. So maybe the dips in your lawn are a hint that theres treasure beneath ityou never know!
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How To Smooth Out A Bumpy Lawn
Here are the basic steps:
How To Level A Lawn Like A Homeowner
If you are a homeowner with a lawn, you already know that uneven areas in the lawn do not look good.
Worse still, they can also be a hazard to children, pets, and anyone who steps in an uneven dip.
Luckily, the process of leveling a lawn is very simple and your reward will be a beautiful lawn free of uneven dips.
This guide will show you how to level a lawn with limited tools and supplies. So you arent left taking out a second mortgage on your home simply to purchase tools and equipment.
Here is how to level your lawn, like a homeowner.
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Leveling Your Lawn With Sand
If you want your lawn to look like a golf course, then you need to maintain it like one. And that means, among other things, leveling with sand. Sand leveling may sound like a radical practice but its actually one of the oldest turf practices in existence. And as Ive discovered, leveling is just one of the many benefits to
Is Adding Sand To Lawns A Good Idea Or Not
To sand or not to sand? its definitely a point of contention between gardeners! Applying sand to lawns is an old tradition, in fact, it has been done in on Scottish golf courses since the sport was invented. But with many of todays homeowners taking up holistic gardening practices, some say that adding sand to your lawn can do more harm than good.
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Whats The Best Type Of Topsoil For Leveling A Lawn
If you are going to level your lawn with topsoil there are a few options when it comes to what material you can consider for using to level your lawn. I will now go over what materials different people say you should use or not use to level your lawn and look at the advantages and disadvantages of all the available options.
- Sand Sand can be used to level lawns and some people like it because it is very fine I texture so it is easy to work it down to the soil. Using sand can cause problems especially if you have soil with a high clay content under your lawn. When sand and clay mix it can turn into a near concrete mixture and that will cause all sorts of drainage problems later on.
- Sand/ Topsoil Mix Using a sand and topsoil mix is a much better option than using sand on its own. Using this method has the advantage of the sand making it easy yo work through the grass and down to the thatch level whilst the soil makes sure there is still good drainage. The topsoil will also add some nutrients back into your lawn.
- Topsoil If you use a high-quality topsoil mix for leveling your lawn it will have all sorts of benefits as apart from leveling your lawn it will add organic matter back into your lawn. When you add a blend like this onto your lawn all the nutrients will work their way down to the soil and back into your lawn. Adding quality topsoil to your lawn will have the same effect as using fertilizer on it.
Getting Rid Of Lawn Lumps
Subtle lawn lumps can be rectified by topdressing around them. The big bumps that catch on the bottom of your mower call for bigger interventions.
Take a very sharp knife and cut a huge H shape in the lawn. The up and down lines of your H should run either side of the bump, the crossbar needs to be right across the middle of it.
Youve created two flaps, starting in the middle of the bump, peel each flap backwards. Use your knife to sever the grass roots but leave as much soil as possible attached to each turf.
Remove excess soil and check the level. Return the flaps of turf to their original position, and but the edges up together. You may need to trim them to fit. Water well and keep the soil moist until the grass has rooted back in.
To check for rooting, tug on the plants. If the whole sod lifts up, the roots arent quite ready for you to stop watering. If you get a handful of grass, your work is complete.
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Spring Lawn Care Guide 12 Simple Tips
With Spring just around the corner, its time to think about lawn maintenance again. Its important to kick start the growing season by providing the grass with the nutrients it needs to get established and healthy before the summer heat and increased foot traffic arrives. Neglecting your lawn in the spring will have you paying for it for the rest