How Uneven Is Your Lawn
There are definitely different standards of lawn disrepair.
You have to figure out how bad your lawn actually is before you figure out your plan to get it level.
Is your lawn actually only slightly uneven and are you looking to achieve total golf green standard perfection or is your lawn covered in craters that would not look out of place on the moon?
If your lawn has patches that are only 1-2 cm deep and you want to get it level then you will definitely have to use a different tactic to what you would need to do if your lawn has divots that are 2-5 cm deep.
If your lawn is only slightly uneven and you want to level it with topsoil then that is the solution I will give you in detail below, on the other hand, if your lawn has deep holes or divots that you want to get level it is a different scenario and may take some major surgery to get level.
To get deep unevenness on your lawn level you basically will have to slice the turf and lift it up, fill it with enough topsoil to make it even and then put the turf back on top of it.
Sand For Your Yards Uneven Spots
An uneven yard is something that many Georgia homeowners have to deal with. While some people can ignore the uneven terrain, many others are bothered by it. They do not appreciate the eyesore that dips into their front yard, they find it difficult to mow, and children find that running through uneven spots in the yard can cause them to fall or twist an ankle. Whatever your reasoning for wanting to level your yard, sand is one of the top choices for leveling your yards uneven spots.
Filling and revitalizing uneven spots in your yard is a fairly painless process. The most important parts include getting good quality sand and knowing how to spread it. Below are steps to help you use sand to fill in uneven spots in your yard.
Levelling Deep Low Spots On Your Lawn
For the areas that have sunk more than 2cm deep a different method to level your lawn will be required. For this you will need a squared-off shovel. Using the shovel, slice into the centre and beyond the edges of the bump or hollow in a cross shape. Try to keep the cut as even as possible to make it easier to lift without breaking.
Cut to about 4-5cm deep, then slide the shovel underneath to cut each section of the cross horizontally, keeping the shovel as flat as possible to maintain an even thickness of soil. This is where it is essential that the soil is not too dry, as it will crumble when moved. Gently peel back the edges of the turf until you can lay them flat without breaking.
For levelling a bump in the lawn, dig out the excess soil until level with the surrounding area, tread down and fold the flaps of turf back over.
To fill a hollow, use a garden fork to turn over the soil to about 5cm deep, removing any large stones and breaking down any large clumps. Tread down to compact the soil to reduce the chance of further sinking afterwards.
Fill the hole with your top dressing mixture until level with the surrounding area, then rake over to break the soil down before folding the flaps of turf back over.
Check out our video tutorials for how to achieve a great looking lawn on our YouTube channel here.
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How To Level A Lawn
When it comes to mowing the lawn theres nothing more frustrating than trying to manoeuvre over lumps and bumps. A level lawn doesnt just look great and make for easier maintenance, it can have a few other advantages too.
For gardens with drainage and water logging issues, levelling and grading the lawn can assist in encouraging water flow away from your property, whilst allowing more water to be absorbed into the soil adding needed nutrients.
Types Of Lawn Leveling Soil
The level of bumps and lumps in your yard is what determines the type of soil you will apply to level it.
Likewise, the composition of your compound soil plays a major role in choosing the best lawn leveling soil.
The degree of the bumps, lumps and depression will guide you to know the exact soil your lawn needs to level the unevenness in your yard.
But then, there are basically two main soil for getting lawn leveling:
- Pure sand
- Sandy-soil mix
Though, the application of any of these soils, depends on the area you want to level. The area youll apply pure sand is not the same place you can use sandy-soil mix.
Lets take a closer look at these two types of soil.
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Leveling Out An Uneven Lawn
Areas of a lawn can become uneven over time, due to settling, drainage issues, and various natural and unnatural causes. In the least extreme cases, you can solve the problem by topdressing with a thin layer of leveling mix . This is a good solution for widespread unevenness that does not run too deep. More extensive variation in level may require multiple applications of topdressing or, in more extreme cases, filling in deep depressions with soil and reseeding over the filled areas. If unevenness appears near water pipes, along with drainage issues, consult a professional–you might have a damaged pipe causing the issues.
One trick for leveling small depressions or holes covered with healthy grass is to cut out a patch of the turf and add the soil mix underneath it, then lay the patch back down. Known as sweeping under the carpet, this is a handy technique for leveling localized depressions without having the unsightliness of exposed soil on the grass, which happens with the other methods.
Whichever method you choose, spring is the best time to level your lawn, as the conditions are mild, giving the lawn a chance to recuperate before summer’s heat arrives.
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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Ready To Level Your Lawn
We hope you now feel ready to level your lawn!
Cut the grass, remove any thatch and moisten the ground before you get started. Make sure you use the right lawn dressing for your soil type. Take your time to tackle lumps and hollows, both small and large. And check over the results after a couple of days, so you can make any necessary adjustments.
Wed love to hear how you get on! If you have any questions, please comment and share them with us.
Should I Put Topsoil Over Grass Seed
Its not necessary to buy new topsoil or any special form of soil to cover your newly planted grass seed. If you spend time to prepare the soil you have, your new grass seeds will sprout. Once you have addressed the pH level of the soil, it should be loosened and aerated to promote the best root growth.
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Leveling Deeply Sunken Lawn Areas
If you have depressions, troughs, or holes that are deeper than 1 or 2 inches, you’re usually better off filling them with a good soil mix and starting over with new grass seed. Bringing up deeply sunken areas with topdressing takes too many applications, and you’ll spend more time trying to keep the grass alive than you will getting new grass to grow.
The trick to filling deep holes is to compact the soil gently and give it some water to settle it as you fill up the hole. If you simply pile on some loose dirt and plant your seed, the soil will settle, and you’ll be left with sunken area covered with nice, new grass. Walking on the soil is enough to compact it. Don’t compact the top-most soil where you will sow the grass seed. Prepare the soil and seed the area following the seed product instructions.
Easy Steps To Level A Lawn
Over time, even the most carefully laid of lawns can develop lumps and bumps. Water freezing and thawing, animals burrowing, and even people walking can all rid your lawn of its smooth surface. So how do you go about putting it right?
Were firm believers in the importance of a level lawn, and were going to help you achieve just that! Read on, and well take you through the process one step at a time. And well share some extra tips for getting great results.
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Reasons For Top Dressing
Whether you have a lawn with many obvious flaws or youre a golf course manager, there are many reasons why youd resort to top dressing. For the most part, you use sand to cover the flaws in the lawn.
- Even out the lawn: This is one of the most obvious reasons to use sand for top dressing. An uneven lawn not only looks bad but doesnt encourage the turfgrass to grow evenly. When you water it, the water pools in the low areas. So you cover those areas with sand to level out the lawn.
- Fix holes: Often youll find holes in your lawn that need fixing. If the hole is about 2 inches deep, you can easily remedy it with sand. First, youll need to raise the turfgrass in that area using a shovel. Then apply a thick layer of sand to fill up the hole. Finally, place the grass back and water the spot to help the sand settle.
- Prevent thatch: Depending on the type of turfgrass you have in your lawn and the amount of care and maintenance you provide, thatch might crop up and attach itself to the pets hide and even your clothes. Apply sand to prevent the growth of thatch.
Remember to fertilize the lawn before you apply the top dressing. This allows the grass to grow strong and handle the change in the soil after the sand is applied. Some people like to fertilize the lawn after applying the sand, but that puts the grass under a lot of stress, especially if you fix too many holes or even out too many patches.
The Best Tools For Leveling And Grading A Yard
There are a couple of different approaches to leveling a large yard, or improving grading away from your home.
You can either:
- work with smaller walk-behind machines and hand tools for minor yard repairs,
- rent large equipment like a bobcat or a small excavator to save some time and energy, or
- hire a contractor to come in and professionally grade and/or level your yard.
Most people reading this article will probably be going the DIY approach, so these are my recommended tools for leveling a large yard by yourself:
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What To Put On Lawn To Level It
Make a top dressing mix to fill in the area beneath the grass in sunken areas of your lawn from two parts sand, two parts topsoil, and one part compost. The sand helps maintain a level yard because it doesnt compact easily, while the soil and compost contain nutrients that your grass needs to thrive.
Common Top Dressing Materials To Use
As we mentioned, when it comes to using sand to top dress a lawn, many people are divided about the issue. However, experts recommend that you analyze the soil in your lawn and choose a suitable material that matches it. Thats the golden rule for top dressing. If you use a different material, it could interfere with the growth of the grass and might even leave barren patches where you applied it. Here are common materials to consider.
- Sand: By far the most popular top dressing material for your lawn. It works best when your lawn is sandy or loamy. But even if you have clay soil, sand can improve the drainage and aeration of the lawn and improve the growth of the grass.
- Topsoil: When in doubt, try to use the same soil in your lawn to cover holes and level out the lawn. You wont risk changing the composition of the lawn or impact the grass in a negative way. On the other hand, it wont improve the fertility of the soil either.
- Compost: Many experts recommend using compost over sand or soil since it enriches the soil and doesnt have any of the negative effects those two have. Make sure youre using a finished product and that the compost is not contaminated with weed seeds or other invasive plants.
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Can I Use Builders Sand To Level My Lawn
Topdressing with builders sand is a no-no. Its nasty sticky stuff that will stain your clothes and probably leave stones on the surface of the lawn. Itll crucify your mower blades too. If you are planning on re-seeding after topdressing, use a really good quality sand-soil mix from a reputable supplier.
How To Level A Lumpy Lawn
Over time, the soil beneath your lawn will move and settle, leaving you with hills, hollows and undulations. Here are my tips on how to level a lumpy lawn.
To get that perfect bowling-green look, the surface of your lawn must be smooth. Doesnt matter if it slopes slightly to help with drainage, but it must be free from lumps and bumps.
Youll find too, that a lumpy lawn can lead to all sorts of problems with mowing. The hillocks are more likely to be scalped by the mower. Not only will this blunt your blades, it opens up the sward to let in weeds and diseases.
In contrast, dips in the lawn become obvious when the grass within them is slightly longer than the rest of the lawn. Theres a noticeable difference in colour.
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How To Top Dress An Established Lawn
For established lawns that need top dressing, prior to doing so mow low with a rotary mower equipped with a catcher. Aerate or core your lawn, spread the mix evenly over the desired area, then rake, level lawn or broom it into the lawn profile. Never top dress more than 1cm in a single application, making sure the grass tips are still exposed.
For more hints and tips on top dressing your lawn check out our article here.
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What Causes Lawn To Be Uneven
Now you know the best lawn leveling soil, its important you know the causes of unevenness in your yard.
Even though maintaining a level lawn is a continuous process, the idea of what causes it can help put a permanent solution to it.
A level lawn isnt just easy to maintain but offers kids the enabling environment to have fun. Thats why every home owner desires to have level lawn soil.
Some of the major causes of low and higher spots areas in the yard include:
- High foot or motorized traffic.
- New fences
- Higher spots caused by seasonal freezing and thawing.
- Pest or disease problems.
- Animals digging
- Lack of proper lawn care such as lawn mower-scalping
Sometimes, bumps and depressions can be the result of drainage problems. Broken water or irrigation pipes also cause bumps or rough lawns.
Uneven lawns can also be as a result of natural and unnatural cases of settling in an area. Over time, settling causes depression, though this might be unavoidable.
Bumps or unevenness can also be as a result of buried objects like wood debris. Remove the wood debris and level the location that is all for this type of unevenness.
People also cause unevenness of lawns, by walking on soft lawn most especially in the early spring or immediately after heavy rains. Even animals use their legs to cause unlevel lawn as well.
Constant checking on animals will help to prevent unlevel lawn soil. Keep a watch on your animals to prevent them from creating unevenness in your yard.