Skip to Content

Make Your Own Lawn Roller: Types, Benefits, and DIY Instructions (2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

how to make lawn rollerYou’re proud of your lawn’s look, but those pesky bumps from the frost heaving keep marring its smooth perfection. What’s the best way to level out the lumps for a flawless finish? Making your own lawn roller gives you the power to create the ultimate lawn at a fraction of the cost.

With a homemade lawn roller, you’ll restore your lawn’s lush feel and maintain total mastery over its appearance. Choose from various drum materials like plastic, metal, or cardboard. Customize the roller’s weight by adding water or sand to compact just the right amount.

Get ready to say goodbye to pits and lumps as you roll your way to lawn perfection. How to make lawn roller options abound – from repurposed materials to easy DIY builds. Feel the thrill of liberation from expensive equipment and total control over your lawn’s flawless look.

Key Takeaways

  • Materials for homemade rollers can include 55-gallon drums, cardboard barrels, and old water heater tanks.
  • Lightweight options for rollers include cardboard drums with added weight from sand or water.
  • Heavy-duty options for rollers include 55-gallon drums filled with sand or gravel and 700 lb water heater tanks.
  • Rolling the lawn can provide benefits such as leveling the surface, improving soil compaction, enhancing moisture retention, and promoting faster grass growth.

Types of Lawn Rollers

Types of Lawn Rollers
You can make inexpensive lawn rollers from common household items to help level and compact your lawn. A 55-gallon drum filled with sand or water makes a sturdy and heavy roller. For a lightweight option, you can use a cardboard barrel from bulk paper rolls.

An old water heater tank cut horizontally also works if you add wheels and a handle.

Gallon Drum Lawn Roller

You’ll need a 55-gallon drum to build that homemade lawn roller. Pack the tank with turf master gravel for maximum soil compaction. Then simply roll it across your lawn, flattening out bumps and rigid patches for an instant repair.

This tank roller is perfect for leveling and patching your turf before mowing or planting seeds.

Cardboard Drum

Keep the cardboard drum roller lightweight to avoid compacting the soil too much. Roll gently over the lawn, just enough to smooth out bumps. Let the damp cardboard lightly press down on high spots and fill in low areas.

Monitor soil tilth and pH after rolling, and adjust mower settings for ideal grass health. A gentle touch keeps the soil loose for good drainage and oxygen while leveling the turf.

Old Water Heater

A standout tip is that an old water heater tank, able to hold 700 lbs, substitutes well for making your own heavy-duty lawn roller. Roll over spring’s frost boils and heaves to re-level before seeding. The water weight vibrates soil particles together for compaction that stabilizes new grass plants and speeds germination.

Salvage a tank from curbside trash to build an inexpensive but robust roller that smooths an established lawn or establishes newly planted turf.

Benefits of Using a Lawn Roller

Benefits of Using a Lawn Roller
Lawn rollers offer several advantages for your turfgrass. Leveling out bumps smooths the surface for easier mowing and establishes newly seeded areas. The weighted roller also compacts the soil, which helps the grass seeds stay in contact with the earth so they can germinate and grow new roots.

Leveling and Smoothing the Lawn

You can feel that satisfying crunch underfoot as the roller effortlessly glides across the yard, leaving a perfectly smooth, level surface behind. Rolling fills in the dips and flattens the bumps for a picture-perfect lawn. Spring bumps and molehills disappear under the drum’s weight.

Compacting Soil

Ain’t the ground firmly pressed! That lawn roller’s heavy steel tank squeezes out air pockets, packing the soil down nicely. Moisture stays put with less runoff and erosion. Plant roots drive deeper through the compacted surface to tap into extra organic goodness.

Establishing New Grass

Leveling that bumpy soil with a heavy roller will have your new grass growing quicker than a jackrabbit on roller skates. Choosing the right grass seed matched to your soil and climate, then preparing a fine seedbed will give those babies what they need to carpet up solid.

Mow high while they’re youngins and care for them properly – they’ll thank you with a lush green lawn in no time.

How to Make a Gallon Drum Lawn Roller

How to Make a Gallon Drum Lawn Roller
Rolling your lawn is an efficient way to remove minor imperfections and create a more level surface. You can easily construct your own lawn roller using basic materials like a 55-gallon plastic drum, steel rod, plywood, and brackets.

With simple tools and common hardware supplies, you will be able to assemble a rolling lawn leveler by cutting the plywood to size, fastening the drum to the support frame, inserting a steel axle, then filling the drum with water or sand to provide weight.

Materials Needed

Gathering the right supplies will ensure your drum roller takes shape properly. You’ll be needing a 55-gallon drum, some scrap lumber, a metal rod, brackets, and handles to build your roller. Opt for a plastic or metal drum over cardboard – it’ll hold up better over time.

Size the drum and add weight for your lawn’s soil moisture and texture. Grease up those brackets and add sturdy handles so you can roll with power over your garden.

Construction Steps

Start prepping the drum by drilling a hole dead center of one end. Hammer bolts through the plywood to secure them to the drum’s sides, making sure they’ll spin freely once you slide that metal rod through the center hole.

Empty a couple of bags of sand inside before sealing up the open end with ply. Hitch up the roller and start compressing that soil, stimulating deep rooting growth on even acidic lawns. For optimal results, follow up with some dethatching equipment or a garden roller attachment.

How to Make a Cardboard Drum Lawn Roller

How to Make a Cardboard Drum Lawn Roller
Ya can gather cardboard sheets and duct tape ’em into a tube for a lightweight roller that flattens without overly compactin’ the soil.

Here’s how ya make one:

  1. Gather corrugated cardboard sheets. Look for appliance boxes or delivery boxes with sturdy cardboard.
  2. Cut the sheets into 3-4 foot lengths based on your desired roller width.
  3. Tape the cut sheets into a tube shape using duct or packing tape. Make sure the corrugation all runs the same direction.
  4. Insert a metal rod through the tube as an axle. Attach handles made from wood slats or rope.
  5. Fill the roller with sand or water for a bit of weight if needed.
  6. Give ‘er a roll and watch them bumps disappear! The cardboard gives just enough oomph without over compactin’. Cheap and easy to make, this roller’s an environmentally friendly way to repair lawn damage.

How to Make an Old Water Heater Lawn Roller

How to Make an Old Water Heater Lawn Roller
Did you know that a 55-gallon drum can hold up to 700 lbs? You’d use that for the drum in your homemade water heater lawn roller.

An old water heater tank makes a great heavy roller to flatten your lawn. Drain all water from the tank and remove any electrical connections. Weld steel brackets onto the tank to connect a crossbar handle. Insert a steel rod through the center of the tank and attach wheels on each end to create the roller frame.

Fill the tank halfway with sand or concrete to weigh it down. Tow behind a tractor or push by hand to roll high spots and fill in low areas.

Your DIY roller will have your lawn looking pristine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size lawn roller is best for my yard?

The best size lawn roller for your yard depends on a few factors. Consider the size of your lawn, how much weight you need to apply, and maneuverability. A smaller roller, between 18-24 inches wide, allows for precise rolling in smaller areas.

Larger rollers, over 3 feet wide, work faster on expansive lawns but become difficult to turn. Optimize results by selecting the minimum roller width and weight suitable for your lawn’s acreage and needs.

Should I fill my roller with sand or water?

You’ll want to fill that baby with water, friend. It’ll provide plenty of heft without over-compacting the soil. Just leave a little air at the top so it doesn’t crack when things get freezing. Drain and store it empty when you’re done rolling to prevent corrosion. Sand’s fine too if you pack it tight, but it’s messier to deal with.

How often should I roll my lawn in the spring?

You’ll want to roll your lawn every 10-14 days in early spring to smooth out frost heaves and get things nice and level before mowing. But don’t overdo it – rolling more than every couple of weeks risks compaction. Let mother nature work her magic too.

Can I tow my lawn roller behind my riding mower?

You betcha, you can hitch that roller to your riding mower! Just make sure to use an appropriate tow pin and safety chain so it stays secured. That’ll let you cover more ground and get your lawn smoothed quicker than pushing it by hand.

Where can I buy replacement parts for my lawn roller?

Check the manufacturer’s website first. Many offer parts diagrams and online ordering. Hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s may stock common parts such as wheels, axles, and hitches. Small engine repair shops often have inventory for lawn equipment parts as well.

You can also look for used/aftermarket parts on eBay or Craigslist if OEM ones are too pricey.


As a horticulturist, I totally dig how turbo rejuvenating your lawn can be with a DIY drum roller! Ya dig?

With just a few basic supplies and tools, you can whip up a wicked-cool roller that’ll compress them unruly soil clumps and smooth out imperfections quicker than you can say righteous! Whether you craft a far-out water heater roller or keep it simple with cardboard, crushing up bumps gives you a primo canvas for seeding.

Flattening things out helps your turf establish a stellar root system, so it stays stinkin’ vibrant. Ain’t no sweat building your own roller—and you’ll save some bread. Just remember to avoid overpacking, so oxygen and water can nurture your lawn.

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.