Many lawns could use a little bit of leveling. Over the years, lawns can form small bumps and valleys as the soil settles unevenly. Leveling makes for a better and safer play area for your family and enables your lawnmower to cut more evenly. Plus, it just looks nice! This article applies to lawns with minimal leveling needs. If your lawn is extremely uneven you may want to consider bringing in an excavator (and perhaps a contractor) to level/regrade the entire lawn and then overseed the lawn to start from scratch. That being said, this article is for those in need of some basic leveling where a little effort will pay off in a big, beautiful, way.
Sand is key, but add some OM
You can use regular screened sand to level your lawn, but it is far better to add some good organic matter to the mix. While sand is essential to leveling your lawn, there are several reasons you should mix compost and/or peat with the sand before leveling; it is a perfect opportunity to add a little organic matter to your soil and promote your lawns overall health, if you want to overseed the lawn after leveling it will be a more fertile mix for your seeds to sprout and establish new growth, and, finally, sand does not hold water well so it does not help protect grass during dry times.
- Sand – works great for leveling – but contains no nutrients/ low in organic matter
- Sand/Peat Blend – 75/25 mix – ideal mix as your adding some great OM with the peat
- Sand/ compost mix – 75/25 mix – another ideal mix that adds OM to your soil.
- Wheelbarrow – strong enough to wheel 100 lbs at a time if needed.
- Shovel – garden type shovel.
- Garden rake – metal garden rake.
- Soil leveling tool – Ideally you’ll want to invest in a nice soil leveling tool / rake, it is going to make this job much easier and you will have better results. But if you are determined leveling can be accomplished with a good garden rake alone.
Leveling your lawn
The basic leveling process includes; top dressing the lawn with sand mix, raking, and then leveling the material to get the desired flat soil top surface. Your final leveling should not cover blades of grass unless you plan on overseeding entire area.
- Use a wheelbarrow to bring your top dressing mix the area of application.
- Use a shovel to spread mix in little piles around the area you want to level.
- Use the backside of a steel garden rake to even out the mix application roughly.
- Use your soil leveler to evenly work the sand mix into the lawn so that the grass blades are peaking through.
You will want to apply ⅓-½ inch deep at one time, this will allow grass to grow up some before applying next layer of top dressing if leveling is not completed. If you want to go more aggressive and get the job done at once you can fully level your lawn and do a complete overseed, overseeding heavier on the regions where the grass is completely covered by the leveling mix.