A grassy and green yard undoubtedly looks most beautiful. However, when that green yard or lawn gets uneven and bumpy, it stills away all the beauty. Additionally, the uneven yard may prove to be hazardous in the sense that it may cause trips and falls.
Nonetheless, a bumpy yard should not give you sleepless nights, as there are easy ways to fix such issues. That being said, while a professional landscaper can surely do the magic by using machinery, you can also level your yard yourself.
Sounds relieving, isn’t it?
So without any delay, let us start our journey to learn how to level a yard, which is uneven without the need of a specialist.
But before that, let’s understand what does an uneven yard means and what things cause it.
Why level a Yard?
A yard may go uneven or bumpy for several reasons, including animal damage, soil erosion, tree or plant removal, drainage issues, etc.
An uneven yard looks aesthetically unpleasant, sometimes even like a battlefield, in worst cases. So, if you do not focus on leveling your yard, it would add a bad look to your entire property and offer less usable space to walk and garden.
Also, leaving your yard uneven may result in water collection in the holes, increasing the risk of lawn disease.
Contrary to this, a flat or even lawn is healthier and easier to manage. Furthermore, running the mower on a leveled yard gets easier, ensuring better mowing and machine performance.
The Importance of Yard Leveling
Since a yard is a large endeavor, it is important to proceed slowly. However, before dealing with the elephant in the room, let us discuss the importance of yard leveling.
Micro-depressions, bumps, and ditches that frequently lead to water logging and render the yard unhealthy and unattractive are amended by leveling the yard. Therefore, the answer to the question of why level the yard is to make it aesthetically beautiful and healthy. To be more specific, a level yard gives your outdoor landscape solidity.
We’ve highlighted a few advantages that yard leveling has below. You can use these advantages to grasp the significance of this activity better.
- Enhance the yard’s drainage system.
- Make the yard uniform and attractive.
- Avoid stumbling or other accidents.
- Make mowing the lawn simpler.
- Make it simpler to erect facilities like a pool.
- Prevent the breeding of pests such as mosquitoes.
- Make the yard’s upkeep simple.
How Do I Know if There is a Landscape Grading Problem?
You might never find the proper remedy if you don’t identify the problem. Therefore, before considering how to level your yard, you must determine whether it has a landscape grading issue.
Checking for standing water is one tested method to determine if your yard has a grading issue. A broken drainage system is the first indication of a problem with your yard. The list below includes some additional signs that can alert you to a grading issue in the landscape.
- Exposed tree roots due to top-soil erosion
- Wear and tear across the yard creates water stagnation
- Pooling water in driveways
- Breeding of molds, fungus, and other pests in stagnant water
- Water accumulating at the house’s foundation
- Unlevel landscape
How to Know if my Yard Requires Leveling?
By now, you know why you should focus on leveling your yard if it is bumpy. But the question is how to precisely know that my yard is no more even and requires leveling?
Well, we got your back, as we provide you with the signs that would help you recognize the need for yard leveling.
- The easiest way to know that you have a bumpy yard is to look for standing water. If your yard has holes in it, you will waterlog in them.
- If you discover drainage issues, it may be time to focus on re-grade the yard and leveling it.
- Another way to check if your yard needs leveling is by checking its slope.
The land surrounding your house should ideally slope away at a rate of 1/4 inch every foot, or about 2 feet per 100 feet.
Take a three ft. long wood stake to measure the slope of your yard’s landscape. First, drive the wood stake one ft. deep in the soil at the base of your house. Then measure a distance 100 feet away from your house and drive another 3-foot-long stake 1 foot into the ground.
Next, attach a string to the stake by the house at ground level. Carry the string to the second stake. With the string level, secure it to the stake. To do this, use a carpenter’s level.
Next, measure the distance from where the string attaches at the far stake to the ground.
You might be able to level the yard yourself if the drop is between 3 inches and 2 feet. But if the drop is more than that, you should probably employ a professional to grade the yard for you.
Equipment to Level a Yard
After ensuring that your yard needs leveling and you can undertake the process yourself, it’s time to gather the necessary garden equipment.
It is relatively easy to gather the essential equipment necessary for the process.
That being said, the tools that you would need include:
- Hand rake
- Thatch rake
- Plastic leaf rake
- A large push broom
- Large push broom
- Lawn Mower
Steps to Level a Yard
This is the central section of this article. Here we have broken down the process of how to level a yard into small and easy steps.
You can refer to these eight easy steps to yard leveling to ensure better results.
Start your yar leveling process by mowing the grass of the area that you want to level. However,
Remember not to cut grasses too short that their stems are visible. Doing so can dry out the grasses.
After you have mowed your yard, you must decide how much land you want to work on.
You can do so by visually determining if the lumps and bumps are limited to a single place or are spread across the yard or garden.
Doing this is pretty straightforward.
We show you how you can go about the second step.
After mowing, walk around your yard feeling for creases, lumps, and ridges with your feet. As you walk, you can visually divide your yard into sections and analyze which ones need to be leveled.
For the mildly uneven areas, you can use the process of top-dressing. This is a less invasive process and can be repeated every year, especially during the spring months.
The primary steps involved are:
- Start by de-thatching the yard with a de-thatcher or a garden rake.
- Next, mix up a batch of leveling mix in a wheelbarrow.
- Take scoops of soil, mix with a shovel, and add to the bumpy areas of your yard.
- Use the backside of a landscaping rake and/or a grass roller to level up the new topsoil.
- You can further compact the top layer by adding water to it and leveling it.
- Water the grass after completing the leveling task.
Note: Keep in mind only to add ¼”- ½” of soil mixture on top of the low areas. If you add ½”, you may smother the grass.
This step is mainly for those who have holes in their yard more than 2- 3 inches.
You should start leveling by removing the old turf from the holes before filling them. First, dig up the old turf by placing a shovel on the outer edge of the shallow spot. Next, move the shovel down and under approximately 2″- 3″ to ensure to get under the grassroots. Then, using the shovel, pull the grass up to reveal the ground beneath.
Now fill the area beneath the grass in the lowered areas by layering them with a top dressing mix.
You can make the dressing mix by adding:
- 2 parts sand
- 2 parts topsoil
- 1 part compost
After preparing the soil mix, fill the recessed areas with it. You must ensure to place the grass on the new topsoil.
Once the lowest holes are filled, spread the rest of the top-dressing mix across your whole yard with a shovel to a depth of ¼”- ½.”
You must make sure not to keep to a thin layer, as a thick layer could choke your grass. However, if you feel, you may repeat the process to add a second topsoil layer.
After spreading the topsoil, water your lawn with sprinklers to aid in settlement of the soil mix in the grass, filling air pockets, and reviving your yard.
As we stated earlier, you may feel the need to apply the topsoil mixture more than once to level your yard completely.
So, in such a situation, you can repeat steps 6 and 7 after the grass starts to grow, or you no more see the 1st layer of the dressing.
Things to Remember
To get the best result from your yard leveling process, you must remember a few vital points.
- Always try to level your yard during the dry season to avoid the issue of waterlogging and soil erosion.
- For basic repairs, the best season is spring. However, try to undertake the task after the snow melts, as excess moisture in the soil may give rise to new holes due to too much traffic.
- Never attempt leveling during the winter months when the grass remains dormant.
- Use the removed soil at the time of grading the yard to avoid any wastage.
- When the yard is wet, try to avoid stepping on it too often.
Should you Level your Yard Alone?
This is a valid question when you are thinking about leveling your ground on your own.
You may feel apprehensive if doing this task alone is at all feasible.
But we say you can level your ground without any expert help. Hiring professionals for this task may cost you more than $1000, depending on your yard size and grading requirement. However, if you follow the above steps, you can reduce the cost to as low as $500.
That being said, you must keep in mind that undertaking the process on your lonesome would require the investment of time. So, you must be prepared for that.
Ans. The cost will vary as per the size of the yard and its condition. Nonetheless, if you undertake the process alone, you may expect the price somewhere around $500 (approx.).
Ans. Yes, you can surely level your yard much more economically by being resourceful and using DIY landscaping equipment. See the above section to learn more.
Ans. As a thumb rule, you should level your yard in the dry season but avoid the winter months when the grass remains dormant.
Ans. Yes, if your yard is small or has very few sunken areas that are shallow, you can level it by tamping utilizing your foot and the bottom of your rake.
Ans. The best ways to prevent lumps or bumps in the yard is by:
1. Keeping the soil layer thick and healthy.
2. Aerate to infuse moisture into the soil.
3. Use nitrogen-rich fertilizer to fertilize the ground.
4. Prevent pets or strays from digging holes in the yard.
5. Prevent using heavy garden equipment regularly.
Follow the steps below to level your yard easily:
• Making a leveling mix or buying a commercial mix
• Apply the mixture
• Cove the yard with topsoil
• Level out the yard
• Water the entire yard
To learn in detail about the steps, please refer to the article above.
A yard may be leveled effectively and affordably.
• Plants should be removed from the leveling area.
• Remove soil from the yard’s high points and distribute it in trenches and pits.
• Make a level surface without any apparent depressions or mounds.
• Clean up all soil that has been disturbed.
• Put the plants back where they belonged originally.
• Reseed the grass
• Thoroughly irrigate
• Dispense mulch up to 2-3 inches thick.
• To prevent weed development and soil erosion, cover bare areas with straw or other mulch.
Take note: Thoroughly water the area that will be leveled the day before to wet the soil. It will be simpler to dig the area if you do this.
It is typically preferable to fill ruts, dips, or pits with a suitable soil mixture. Then you can start over with fresh grass seeds.
To level your yard, you can use the following equipment/ tools.
• Lawn roller
• Topdressing mix
It is possible to grade a small area of a yard by hand. So, if you wish to grade your yard by hand, follow the steps below.
• Remove the topsoil
• Install the irrigation lines, if required
• Lay down meshing or geogrid
• Add back the topsoil
• Level and smoothen the topsoil
Note: The grading of the yard may involve heavy equipment like a bulldozer. Hence, talk to a landscaper before initiating the process.
So, to wrap up, we can state that leveling your yard on your lonesome is not at all a daunting task. All you need to have is a proper plan, DIY equipment, and time to invest. Then, you can follow the 8 steps mentioned above on how to level a yard yourself anytime you want to.
So, don’t feel apprehensive and wear those garden gloves to dirty your hand right now!