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How to Level Your Backyard Quickly & Affordably in 8 Steps (2023)

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how to level back yardHeard the expression levelling the playing field? Well, when it comes to your backyard, that couldn’t be more true. With some basic equipment and a bit of elbow grease, you can level out an uneven lawn quickly and affordably.

Whether due to tree root growth or poor drainage, understanding how to level back yard is essential in keeping your landscape aesthetically pleasing while avoiding costly repairs down the line.

Key Takeaways

Prepare the lawn by mowing, dethatching, and digging up the grass in low-lying areas. Fill the low-lying areas with a soil mixture and overseed. Use a carpenter’s level to ensure accurate leveling. Maintain the lawn with dethatching, fertilizing, topdressing, mowing, overseeding, aerating, and watering schedules.

What is Yard Leveling?

What is Yard Leveling
Yard leveling is the process of making a lawn even and beautiful, using sand, topsoil, compost, and grass seed – all while wearing your gardening gloves! It involves filling dips in the ground with soil mix or overseeding to make it more level.

Yard leveling can help combat weeds, disease, and drainage issues, as well as give dull grass a rejuvenated look.

Hardscaping such as foot traffic or pet activity may cause bumps on your lawn that need to be leveled out before reseeding with topsoil. You could also fix frozen areas caused by winter weather by digging up sod from those spots after thawing, if needed.

Overall, yard leveling not only gives you an aesthetically pleasing landscape but also ensures every part of your backyard is happy and healthy despite any pests, diseases, or wild animal activity. Plus, there’s no need for expensive commercial-grade equipment; basic tools like shovels and wheelbarrows, plus materials costing less than $10 per bag, will do just fine.

Allowing yourself time throughout spring and fall should have everything up and running in no time, giving you and your neighbors a pleasant backyard view each day when done correctly.

Reasons for Yard Leveling

Reasons for Yard Leveling
Leveling your backyard can help combat pests, diseases, and wild animals while also improving soil quality and seed germination – giving you a lush landscape to enjoy with friends and family that sparkles in the sunlight.

Geographical location plays an important role in determining what type of lawn leveling rake should be used for best results. A professional grading service may use a power rake or sod cutter to level the ground before overseeding it with grass seeds liked by your region’s climate.

Lawn fertilizing is another key factor for success when trying to establish a healthy lawn, as well as ensuring proper water drainage – both are essential components of any successful landscaping project.

Adding compost into the soil will provide additional nutrients, which helps support beneficial microbial life within your yard. Thatch removal is necessary if too much has built up over time due to pet activity, foot/motorized traffic, or improper mowing techniques; this layer prevents proper aeration, so it must be removed first using either manual means like hand rakes or dethatching machines, depending on how severe the situation is.

Finally, after all these steps have been taken, one last part remains: spreading topsoil evenly across the entire area using either plastic leaf rakes combined with large push brooms for larger surfaces.

What Causes an Uneven Lawn?

What Causes an Uneven Lawn
Uneven lawns can be caused by a range of issues, such as pests, diseases, heavy foot or motorized traffic, and improper lawn care. Soil erosion is another common culprit; when soil is washed away from an area, it causes dips and bumps in the yard, making mowing difficult.

Mulching techniques still used today can also partly be to blame for unleveled yards, as they tend to build up on one side over time if not attended to regularly. Watering needs may have been neglected in some areas, while fertilizing options weren’t applied evenly throughout the entire space, causing patches of grass that don’t grow as tall or lush due to lack of nutrients.

The benefits of aeration might go unnoticed, but having compacted soil means air isn’t reaching down into roots, making growth stunted and hard rake marks left behind after mowing more prominent. Grass seed won’t take hold properly unless there’s fertile soil beneath it, so instead, a mix containing topsoil should be laid first, then leveled out using rakes or a push broom before sowing begins.

This helps prevent bald spots from occurring further down the line when regular wear takes its toll on your turf. Lastly, remember disease-causing organisms love damp conditions, so invest in proper drainage solutions, no matter how level you get your yard.

How Do I Know if There is a Landscape Grading Problem?

How Do I Know if There is a Landscape Grading Problem
You can tell if you have a landscape grading problem by evaluating the existing soil, looking for dips and depressions in your lawn, or observing areas of hardscaping. For instance, waterlogged areas are often caused by improper grading that prevents water from running off.

Additionally, an unhealthy grass is usually caused by scalped lawns where mowing was done too low as well as thin grass or bare patches due to garden spade compaction. If you observe any of these signs, it would be wise to consult with a professional who has experience in identifying all underlying problems and creating solutions that will keep your lawn healthy and even.

To determine the severity of a landscape grading issue, consider using a professional eye – someone experienced in landscaping design can help identify potential issues faster than DIY methods. Additionally, use a lawn mower to check for unevenness on topography, fill holes/depressions with soil mix then add 1/2 inch or less top dressing over leveled area, and use a garden spade to dig out sod not damaged beyond repair, which allows new seed germination growth opportunities without having to buy expensive sod rolls.

In addition, renting specialized equipment such as dethatching rakes, manual aerators, edgers, etc. may become necessary depending on job severity. All these items cost money, but doing repairs yourself will save time and effort when compared to hiring professionals.

Taking action early before major damages occur ensures the best results while reducing costs now rather than facing more costly repairs later down the road.

Before Leveling Your Lawn

Before Leveling Your Lawn
Before taking on any lawn leveling project, make sure you have the necessary tools and materials. This includes a mower, rake, shovel, wheelbarrow, and push broom. Sand may be needed for areas that are too hard or compacted, while topsoil can help fill dips in your ground.

Compost is great for adding beneficial microbes to improve aeration of soil and seed germination success rate. Research what type of grass grows best in your area – cool-season or warm-season varieties both require different care.

If there are pests present, such as grubs or disease-causing fungi, get an appropriate insecticide. Sharpen mower blades before use, as dull blades can lead to soil erosion due to tree roots not being cut properly when trimming back grasses over time.

How to Level a Yard [8 Steps]

How to Level a Yard [8 Steps]
To begin leveling your yard, start by mowing the lawn to ensure an even surface. If needed, dethatch any areas of thick thatch with a rake or specialized machine before digging up grass in sunken parts of the lawn and making a soil mix out of topsoil, sand, and compost.

STEP 1: Mow Your Lawn

First, mow your lawn to a consistent height for an even look. Water and aerate before overseeding or reseeding. For tougher areas, consider digging out sod or using a garden rake to break up compacted soil caused by motorized traffic or wild animals.

Wear gloves and use a wheelbarrow during dry season, if needed. Dethatch if thatch build-up is evident due to improper lawn care maintenance. Sweep away debris with a large push broom after dethatching and seeding, so seedlings have adequate exposure for growth.

STEP 2: Dethatch Your Lawn [as Needed]

If your lawn is experiencing heavy thatch buildup, dethatching can help revive it. Select the right seed for sun exposure and soil compaction levels. Remember to water deeply – a sprinkler system may be required for best results.

Care must also be taken when dealing with frozen ground or soft, wet grass. Improper lawn care can lead to things like disease or drainage issues, so make sure you are aware of any underlying problems before proceeding with dethatching.

STEP 3: Dig Up the Grass in the Sunken Area of the Lawn

Dig out any sunken patches of grass in your yard using a shovel. Remove the sod and soil from the low-lying area, being careful not to disturb nearby healthy grass or cause further damage. Use mowing tips for height control and aeration techniques to keep soil quality high while dealing with foot traffic, broken sprinkler pipes, etc.

Fill holes with a combination of topsoil mixed with fine sand as needed, then level it off by raking lightly. Follow watering schedules for each type of grass installed per manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep up on regular maintenance such as lawn care, including fertilizing and reseeding if necessary.

STEP 4: Make Soil Mix: Topsoil, Sand and Compost

Combine topsoil, sand, and compost to create a soil mix that will help you level your lawn quickly while keeping it healthy for years. This mixture allows for better compaction, water retention, and drainage depending on the type of soil in your yard.

Adjust mowing height according to the plant selection you choose as well; this helps with germination and prevents overgrowth, which can lead to poor-quality grasses or even bare spots.

STEP 5: Fill Sunken Areas and Holes With Soil Mixture

Take a shovel and start filling any sunken areas or holes in the yard with your soil mixture. Ensure you spread it evenly across all affected spots, using a carpenter’s level to get an even layer. Pat down the area for an even surface before aerating, fertilizing, and overseeding the space as needed.

Keep Your Lawn Healthy, Happy, and Even

Keep Your Lawn Healthy, Happy, and Even
Maintain a healthy lawn by regularly dethatching, fertilizing, topdressing, mowing, and overseeding to keep it lush and even.

  • Dethatch the lawn at least once a year to remove dead grass clippings or thatch, which can prevent new growth.
  • Fertilize your grass with an appropriate fertilizer based on the season and type of grass you have for optimal results.
  • Topdress with a soil mix composed of sand, compost, or topsoil – whichever is most suitable according to your local conditions – to fill dips or depressions throughout the yard so there are no large disparities between areas.

    Mow your lawn frequently – about once a week during peak growing seasons – but not too short as this can damage the root system; also remember never to cut more than 1/3 off at one time! Overseed any bare patches in springtime when temperatures start rising again after winter dormancy cycles have ended, using quality seed specifically designed for use in that region.

    Water deeply but infrequently to avoid drowning out any newly planted seeds while keeping moisture levels consistent enough for them to take root easily into moist soil beneath the surface level. In addition, aerating helps improve drainage if waterlogging becomes an issue while adding beneficial microbes into the soil, thus allowing oxygenated air to reach deeper down towards the root systems.

    By following these steps, proper care will maintain a beautiful landscape all year round!

Costs & Best Time for Yard Leveling

Costs & Best Time for Yard Leveling
Inviting guests over to your backyard should be as simple and stress-free as possible. With the right materials, tools, timing, and cost considerations for leveling out your yard, you’ll be ready to entertain in no time! The costs of yard leveling depend on a variety of factors such as location and job severity; however, basic tools like a lawn mower or rake can typically range between $100-$300.

Topdressing supplies (topsoil mix with compost or sand) are usually under $10, while grass seed prices may vary from $1.

For the best results when overseeding, it’s recommended that cool season grasses are planted in late fall, while warm season varieties thrive better when planted during late spring months, using an aeration process beforehand for optimal soil quality and germination success rates.

Mowing at the proper height also helps reduce weed growth, improves drainage, and dethatching methods help remove excess built-up debris, which prevents turf diseases from occurring.

Careful consideration should always go into any lawn care project, but by following these tips, you’re sure to have a healthy, happy, even landscape that makes entertaining outdoors enjoyable all year long!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of yard leveling?

Leveling your backyard can provide numerous benefits, like combating weeds and diseases, improving soil quality and aeration. It can also add a touch of nostalgia with anachronistic tools like shovels or wheelbarrows! Enjoy the freedom to take control of your outdoor space for healthy grass growth.

How can I prevent my yard from becoming uneven again?

To prevent your yard from becoming uneven again, regularly aerate the soil and overseed with grass seed. Dethatch when needed to avoid an overgrowth of thatch, which can cause unevenness.

Are there any alternatives to leveling my yard?

Yes, there are alternatives! Try aerating or dethatching your lawn to improve its appearance without fully leveling it. This way you can keep those pesky uneven patches away while still retaining the natural beauty of your yard! With a bit of effort and care, you’ll have a luscious backyard that’s as smooth as glass.

Is yard leveling difficult to do on my own?

Yard leveling can be done on your own with the right tools and knowledge. It isn’t overly difficult, but it does require care and attention to detail.

What type of tools do I need for yard leveling?

You’ll need gloves, a hammer, stakes, string, a leveler, and various other tools like a lawn mower and hand rake to level your yard properly.


Coincidentally, leveling your backyard is one of the most important steps to creating a well-maintained and beautiful outdoor space. It’s a great way to combat weeds, diseases, and drainage issues, as well as rejuvenate existing grass and improve soil quality.

With the right materials, tools, and knowledge, you can quickly and affordably level your backyard in eight easy steps. Start by mowing the lawn and dethatching if needed. Then dig up the grass in the sunken area and fill it with a soil mixture of topsoil, sand, and compost.

Lastly, overseed the area and water it to keep your lawn healthy, happy, and even. With the cost of basic tools and materials under $10, grass seed at $1.50-7 per pound, and professional services running from $80-120, there’s no better time than now to level your backyard.

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.