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Repair Your Bumpy Lawn: Causes and Simple Fixes for Uneven Spots (2023)

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how to fix lumpy yardYou’ve noticed your yard is getting bumpy and uneven. It’s frustrating when your lawn develops dips and mounds, making it uncomfortable to walk on and difficult to mow. Don’t worry – with some time and effort, you can smooth out your lawn and restore it to an even surface.

The key is identifying what’s causing the bumps in the first place. This will determine the best approach to fix your lumpy yard for good.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the common causes of uneven spots and simple, practical solutions to level your lawn. You’ll learn the best time of year to repair bumps and what tools and materials work best for filling in low areas.

With our tips on lawn leveling techniques, applying fertilizer and overseeding, your yard will be back to a lush, green, and smooth surface in no time.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation like dethatching and aerating is key before leveling the yard.
  • Use leveling tools such as a drag mat or lawn leveler to smooth out uneven areas.
  • Fill in low spots with a sand/soil/compost blend to level the surface. A mixture of these materials makes an ideal DIY topdressing.
  • Overseed bare patches and properly water after leveling to help the grass recover. Make sure to seed any thin or bare areas so new grass can establish. Lightly water several times a day to keep the topdressing moist while the grass grows in.

What’s Causing My Lumpy Yard?

Your yard is getting bumpy and uneven, with pits and mounds all over. This lumpy landscape likely stems from a few common causes.

Letting the soil freeze over winter can cause it to heave, while kids and pets trampling on soft ground makes dents. Heavy mowing equipment leaves deep ruts over time. And meandering tree roots gradually push up from underneath, disturbing the turf.

Addressing these issues requires understanding their root causes and using the proper tools to remedy them. With some work you can smooth over frozen soil bumps, fill equipment ruts, and level the lumpy areas to restore an even, consistent lawn.

Frozen Soil and Kids

You’re seeing that ruts and bumps emerge when the ground freezes and thaws, and kids tromp over softened lawn.

  • Aerate in spring to relieve soil compaction and stimulate grass growth.
  • Overseed bare spots to grow thick turf that resists damage.
  • Adjust the mowing height to 3 inches or more to protect grass roots and limit erosion.

With proper aeration, overseeding, mowing practices, and limiting play on soggy turf, you can smooth your lumpy lawn for safe family fun.

Equipment Ruts

It’s frustrating when deep ruts from mower wheels and heavy equipment track up your lawn. The key is to let the grass recover before the tracks become too severe. When the soil is moist, avoid mowing and reroute any machinery.

Mower selection also matters – wider wheels and lower pressure help prevent deep tracks. If uneven grass still bothers you, level any problem spots with a rake. And vary your mowing patterns to limit soil compaction.

Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause bumps and lumps in the grass, which are unsightly and can make mowing difficult. It’s tempting to just cut away the roots, but improper removal can damage or even kill the tree. Instead, there are some steps you can take to smooth out your lawn while still protecting the tree’s health.

First, aerating the soil around the tree can help reduce soil compaction and encourage your grass roots to grow deeper, filling in bare spots. Adding compost on top of the aerated soil provides nutrients for the grass to spread and thicken.

Using a core aeration tool pulls plugs of soil out of the ground, allowing air, water and nutrients to better penetrate the root zone.

When planting new trees, install vertical root barriers around the root ball. These barriers redirect descending roots down and away from the lawn. Pre-installed barriers prevent future problems with surface roots creeping into the grass.

With some care taken for both the trees and the lawn, you can have a smooth, healthy yard and keep your trees thriving. Addressing soil compaction and improving growing conditions for the grass while preventing future root issues will let your lawn and landscaping coexist in harmony.

When Should I Fix My Lumpy Yard?

When Should I Fix My Lumpy Yard
As a landscaping pro, I recommend tackling a lumpy yard in early spring when the ground’s thawed but still got some moisture, making it the perfect time for smoothing and leveling. This prevents further damage from occurring as frozen clumps melt and settle. You’ll also run into fewer bumps from snow cover and increased foot traffic.

In addition, be mindful to avoid mower ruts by mowing when the lawn’s drier rather than wet.

Addressing problem areas in the spring and mowing carefully allows you to remedy and prevent lawn bumps for a flat, even landscape.

Spring is Best

You must prepare the ground while it’s still moist and malleable, or else your efforts at smoothing will be thwarted. Spring is the optimal time to fix a lumpy yard, when winter’s freeze has thawed and before the summer stresses set in.

The soil’s pliable from spring rains, ready for smoothing and patching. It’s also an ideal time for lawn care – aerating, dethatching, fertilizing, overseeding. Remove the layer of dead grass and thatch with a dethatcher so new grass can flourish.

Fill in ruts and low spots. Repair winter’s upheaval before the yard greens up and spring growth takes off.

Your lawn will look its best for the blooms of spring when you seize this short window of opportunity.

Avoid Mower Ruts

Don’t mow the lawn when it’s too wet or you’ll leave deep ruts that worsen the lumpy yard. The rotating blades and heavy mower will dig channels into the soft earth. Footprints and tire tracks also dent the vulnerable ground.

When the lawn dries, those impressions solidify into pesky bumps and pits marring the yard.

Wait until the ground firms up to mow, even if the grass gets shaggy. Mow when the top couple inches are dry for smooth operation. If unavoidable, go over ruts lightly with a topdressing mix when the lawn is moist to fill and level before the sun bakes them in place.

Be patient and let the ground dry adequately so mowing doesn’t exacerbate the lumpy, bumpy lawn.

How to Level Your Lumpy Yard

How to Level Your Lumpy Yard
Get your yard smooth and even with some simple steps. First, prep the area by mowing short and dethatching to remove built-up thatch and debris. This allows your lawn to start fresh. Next, use a wheeled leveling tool to spread topsoil over bumps and into dips, blending uneven spots with the grade of your yard.

Make several passes, then use a landscape rake to feather the edges. Your lawn will now have a flat, consistent base for lush grass to thrive. Proper leveling improves drainage, makes mowing easier, and gives your yard a polished look.

Mow, Dethatch, Top Dress

Prep your bumpy yard by mowin’, dethatchin’ and top dressin’ to smooth and refill dips like a zamboni on ice.

Gauge soil temperature and shadow length to mow when grass is dry, not soppin’ wet. Set your deck high to avoid ruts. We’ve mastered land art – sculptin’ landscapes is our specialty.

We’ll revive tired turf with a custom topdressin’ mix, dethatchin’ guide handy. Fluff soil and fill divots usin’ our compost roller, while screened loam makes the perfect topdressin’ layer.

Transform your property into a flat canvas this spring – no more bumps and humps after our TLC.

Use a Leveling Tool

  1. Fill ‘er up with our custom topdressin’ mix – the perfect blend for your heavy clay soil.
  2. Give those knobs and bumps a good rollin’ to flatten ’em down.
  3. Spray any leftover lumps to soften before another pass.
  4. Inspect for nails or rocks before draggin’ – safety first.

No more trippin’ hazards or messy mowin’. Just a smooth, lush lawn ready for some early bloomin’. A little elbow grease and the right tools turn those lumpy lemons into level landscaping art.

Top 4 Tools to Level Yard

Looking to fix that lumpy lawn? Start by dethatching with the Greenworks 14-inch Electric Corded Dethatcher to remove debris. Then spread topsoil over uneven spots using the Levelawn Lawn Leveling Tool and its wide bar.

A Lawn Spreader with Upgraded Side Clasps will help you seed those leveled areas for a flat, lush lawn.

1. Greenworks Dethatcher 14-Inch Electric Corded

Greenworks 10 Amp 14” CordedView On Amazon
You’re gonna improve your lawn’s health in no time with Greenworks’ efficient 14 wide path Dethatcher that removes debris. This versatile electric corded tool provides adjustable tine depth so you can customize between light and deep thatching.

Switch out the tines to use it for aerating too – everything you need for a healthy, lush lawn.

  • Wide 14 dethatching path works quickly
  • Adjustable tine depth customizes thatching
  • Easily converts to an aerator
  • Wheels and cord hook aid maneuvering
  • Interchangeable tines included
  • Cord could limit range
  • Not for extremely large yards
  • Tines may need replacing after heavy use

2. Electric Dethatcher Scarifier Height Adjust

Sun Joe AJ801E 12-Amp 13-InchView On Amazon
The Sun Joe electric scarifier’s adjustable height lets you customize dethatching depth for your lawn’s needs. With its 12-amp motor and 13” wide cutting path, this corded scarifier efficiently removes unhealthy thatch buildup and stimulates growth.

Simply set one of the 5 height positions, from.4” below soil to.4” above, to match your turf’s requirements. The spring steel tines penetrate deep to lift and discard debris into the detachable collection bag for easy cleanup.

Weighing only 27 lbs, the AJ801E is lightweight and quiet for residential use. Make multiple passes to thoroughly renovate tired grass.

Overall, this affordable scarifier brings back your lawn’s lush appearance.

  • Adjustable height settings
  • Wide 13 cutting path
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Quiet operation
  • Detachable collection bag
  • Limited by cord length
  • Collection bag is small
  • Multiple passes may be needed
  • Some durability concerns

3. Levelawn Lawn Leveling Tool

Rocklin Lawn Leveling Rake |View On Amazon
You’ll love how the Levelawn smooths your lawn’s bumps ‘n dips in a jiffy. Simply fill the 36 leveling bar with topsoil or sand, hitch it to the wheeled cart, and drag it across lumpy spots and uneven terrain.

The broad bar levels up to 6X more area per pass than a regular rake, saving you tons of back-straining work.

Make a few passes when the grass is slightly damp to fill in low spots, flatten hills, and achieve a flat, lush lawn.

  • Covers 6X more area than rake
  • Saves time and back strain
  • Fill bar with topsoil, sand, etc.
  • Use when lawn is slightly damp
  • May take multiple passes
  • Prep lawn first by mowing short
  • Follow product instructions for best results

4. Lawn Spreader With Upgraded Side Clasps

Landzie Lawn & Garden SpreaderView On Amazon
After leveling your lawn, fill this upgraded spreader with seed to rejuvenate bare spots. With its large 40-pound hopper, you can cover up to 5,000 square feet before having to stop and refill, letting you quickly seed those worn areas.

The sturdy metal frame and reinforced plastic clasps keep the heavy hopper securely attached, while 10 air-filled tires provide a smooth, cushioned roll across your newly flattened yard. Weighing only 15 pounds when empty, you’ll find this spreader easy to maneuver and lift.

  • Covers up to 5,000 sq ft per fill
  • Larger 40 lb hopper capacity
  • Lightweight at 15 lbs empty
  • 10 pneumatic tires for easy rolling
  • Some assembly required
  • Not for commercial use
  • Works best with granular fertilizers/seed

Greenworks Dethatcher

Greenworks Dethatcher
Detach your way to a smoother yard with Greenworks’ electric power. This efficient 14-inch wide dethatcher makes quick work of clearing out grass clippings, fallen leaves, and other debris that leads to uneven bumps.

Its adjustable tine depth lets you tailor the thoroughness – from a gentle clean to a deep cleansing of compacted thatch buildup.

Maneuvering the lightweight 27 lb dethatcher is easy thanks to rear wheels and a cord retention hook that keep the power cord out of your way.

Simply walk behind and guide the dethatcher over worn patches, lumpy spots, and places where rain tends to puddle. The spring steel tines will penetrate to lift and break up matted layers, allowing air, water and nutrients to better reach grass roots.

Restoring ventilation this way helps fertilizer absorb better too for a vibrant, green lawn.

Do it in early spring or fall when grass is still moist and growing to allow for regrowth. Then finish leveling with a top dressing of compost or topsoil to fill in lingering dips or holes. Your lawn will thank you with a smoother, healthier look that improves curb appeal.

  • Clears debris for better growth
  • Adjustable tine depth
  • Maneuverable and lightweight
  • Cord may limit range
  • Not for extremely large lawns
  • Tines may need replacing

Sun Joe Scarifier

Sun Joe Scarifier
Power up a smooth lawn with Sun Joe’s electric scarifier. Feel the 13-inch swath spring to life as the motor spins its steel tines at 3,100 RPMs, ready to penetrate deep and lift years of accumulated debris.

Adjust the height to your lawn’s needs, whether a light thinning of new growth or deep cleansing of compacted thatch buildup.

Glide steadily over lumpy turf and dipping hollows, letting the tines comb and stir the neglected ground below. Watch as chunks of dead grass and stifling mats fill the easy-empty bag at a satisfying pace.

Keep going over worn patches and stubborn bumpy spots until a healthier, livelier lawn begins to peek through.

Reward your ground’s revival with a top-dressing mix blended from compost and quality soil to gently fill in remaining pits and craters. Feel pride in the leveled, green expanse you’ve uncovered – a lush, flawless lawn ready for growth, play, and memories.

No job’s too big for Sun Joe’s scarifier, and your yard will show the vibrant results of its renewing touch for seasons to come.

Levelawn Tool

Levelawn Tool
Load up your Levelawn with soil and glide it over the bumps to effortlessly smooth your lawn. Feel the sturdy metal bar flex and bend to contour the dips as it drags material into each low spot.

Simply make pass after pass, letting gravity and the Levelawn’s wide swath do the work for you. Avoid overfilling and create a perfectly even grade. Let the grass soak up a good watering when you’re done so the newly deposited soil can properly settle overnight.

Come morning, marvel at the transformation. No longer will your lawn’s uneven look be an eyesore, with frustrating lumpy areas that ruin its curb appeal and health.

Friends will compliment your flawless, green lawn, never knowing it was recently a minefield of embarrassing bumps. Quickly and easily, this essential tool lets you regain control and restore uniformity when dealing with the common problem of a lumpy yard.

Wolf-Garten Rake

Wolf-Garten Rake
With the large divots filled and ground leveled, your lawn is well on its way to perfection. But months of neglect may’ve left thatch buildup that suffocates grass and causes unsightly yellow patches.

Enter the Wolf-Garten dethatching rake. Feel its stainless steel tines glide through the turf, restoring breathability down to the roots. Adjust the blade angle as needed, keeping the 25cm head low to lift matted debris.

Dump gathered thatch in your compost bin. Make repeated passes across trouble spots until you expose bare soil. Reseed any misshapen mounds of turf the tines reveal, tamping with the back of the rake.

Proper storage keeps the Wolf-Garten’s precision tines rust-free for seasons to come. Hang it inside, away from wet equipment that causes corrosion. With spring’s arrival, a thorough tine cleaning preps it to renew lackluster grass.

Trust this sturdy rake to remedy poor soil texture and reverse the damage left by winter.

What to Use for Filling Low Spots

What to Use for Filling Low Spots
When it comes to fixing a lumpy yard, you’ll want to use a customized blend for filling in those pesky dips and holes. For optimal results, mix together sand, topsoil, and compost in equal proportions before distributing evenly with a drop spreader or rotary spreader.

This balanced concoction provides the proper texture and nutrients to assist your grass thrive in those problematic zones.

Mix of Sand, Soil, Compost

You’ll blend a mix of sand, soil, and compost to smooth over those pesky dips and bumps. Core aeration and bent grass repair readied the turf. Now it’s time to batch mix a sandy soil and compost, creating your magic elixir.

Dump it in the spreader and make passes over insect damaged spots. Tamp low spots until the landscape feels right. Repeat the process in heavy foot traffic areas, taking time to appreciate your work.

Let the organic material and equipment do their job. Make multiple passes over problematic areas until you achieve a flawless finish. Relax knowing you conquered the lawn, making it safe for play and primed for growth.

Use a Spreader

Adjust the spreader settings for an even coverage.
Make multiple passes in different directions.
Ensure wheels roll smoothly over the turf.
Refill often to maintain hopper weight.

With the right spreader, we can conquer those bumps and dips. Test settings using compost to find the optimal flow rate and walking pace. Make a few passes over the yard, watching how the material falls. Adjust as needed until you achieve a flawless finish.

Relax knowing your spreader makes quick work of transforming the landscape. Just keep the hopper full and wheels rolling until the lawn lies smooth and flat before your eyes.

Keep Your Leveled Yard Healthy

Keep Your Leveled Yard Healthy
Once you’ve smoothed out those bumps and dips, your work isn’t over – maintaining a lush, level lawn requires ongoing care. Start by fertilizing and overseeding to strengthen grass roots; then be sure to water properly and mow at the right height to keep your lawn looking its best.

Sticking to these simple lawn care practices will ensure your leveled yard stays green and flawless all season long.

Fertilize and Overseed

You’ve got to fertilize and overseed that patchwork quilt of a yard now, partner. Pick an organic, slow-release fertilizer to green things up. For seeding, use a sun/shade mix matched to your grass type.

Cut high, sharpen blades often, and water deeply – your lawn will bounce back in no time. Trust me, a little TLC keeps your grass happy and your yard looking mighty fine all season long.

Proper Watering

Water properly and keep that yard in tip-top shape, partner.

  1. Adjust sprinkler cycles based on seasonal changes.
  2. Install moisture sensors to prevent overwatering.
  3. Water early mornings to reduce evaporation.
  4. Set zone schedules based on sun exposure.
  5. Collect rainwater with barrels to supplement irrigation.

Proper lawn watering provides lasting health. Avoid the puddles and runoff. Aim for deep roots with smarter approaches.

Mow at Right Height

Mow high, friend, and say goodbye to those pesky lumps for good. A taller turf helps conceal uneven spots and strengthens your grass against wear. Let it grow a little longer in spring and summer. Mowing too short exposes soil and stresses grass.

Follow the one-third rule – never remove more than one-third of blade height when cutting. This encourages dense turf and deeper roots. Adapt height for season and grass type.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to level a lumpy yard?

Leveling a lumpy yard usually takes 1-3 weekends, depending on the size. Start by clearing debris and preparing the lawn. Then make passes with a drag mat when the grass is moist to fill dips. Follow up by hand raking.

Be patient – it may take a few applications to get the smooth, flat lawn you desire.

Leveling a lumpy yard is a process that requires time and effort. Clearing debris and prepping the area creates a blank canvas to work on. Using a drag mat when conditions are right lets gravity help fill in low spots. Supplementing with hand raking ensures precision results.

Having realistic expectations going in, and diligently repeating key steps, leads to the flawless finished product. With a systematic approach and some perseverance, you can transform a bumpy lawn into a pristine level surface.

Should I dethatch my lawn before or after leveling it?

Dethatch first, then level. Detaching lifts debris allowing your leveling to contact the soil. Raking smooths lumpy spots for even coverage when seeding. Prepping properly primes your property’s potential.

What’s the easiest way to move soil, sand, or fill dirt around the yard?

Use a wheelbarrow to transport soil, sand, or fill dirt around the yard. You can dump loads where needed and spread the material with a rake. For large areas, consider renting a small tractor with a front-end loader. Its scoop can move large volumes quickly.

A garden cart also works well for smaller jobs and is easier to maneuver than a full-sized wheelbarrow.

Renting equipment like a skid steer or small front-end loader allows you to efficiently move a high volume of material. These machines have buckets or scoops designed for materials like dirt. Just drive to where you need the material deposited and dump it out.

If you only need to move smaller amounts, a sturdy shovel can work. You may need to take more trips back and forth, but a shovel gets the job done without extra equipment.

For final shaping and spreading, a rake or hoe is handy. A landscape rake with a wide head can smooth and spread material efficiently. Consider renting a powered tiller or chipper/shredder if you need to break up compacted soil or blend in amendments like compost.

Will leveling my yard get rid of all the bumps and dips?

Leveling can significantly improve bumps and dips, but may not eliminate all unevenness. Additional topdressing or regrading problem areas will likely be needed for a perfectly smooth result.

How often do I need to re-level my yard after fixing it?

You’ll likely need to re-level your yard every spring. Frost heaves over winter create new bumps. Traffic patterns and settling sod also cause uneven spots. Annual leveling maintains a smooth, hazard-free lawn.


Your lumpy lawn can transform into a green carpet in no time! After tackling the bumps and dips head on with our tested techniques, you’ll gain a lawn so flawlessly flat your neighbor’s jaw will drop. Just imagine mowing, planting, and playing in perfect grass. Don’t let another season slip by without acting.

Grab those tools, spread that soil, and unleash your inner landscaper. With a few weekends of sweat equity, you’ll gain the lawn of your dreams.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.