Yard Leveling: How to Level a Yard in 8 Simple Steps

By: ROS Team

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Is your lawn a bumpy mess, making mowing a nightmare and playtime a challenge? An uneven yard can be an eyesore, but don’t despair! Leveling your yard is an achievable project that can dramatically improve your outdoor space. With a little effort and these 8 easy steps, you can transform your yard into a smooth, functional haven you’ll love.

Why Is It Important to Level a Yard?

There are several benefits of yard leveling. First, it helps prevent water pooling, which can damage the foundation of your home. Second, it ensures that the grass grows healthily by allowing for proper drainage. Lastly, mowing and other maintenance practices become much easier when the landscape is even.

Leveling Yard
Photo Credit: Canva

 

Yard Leveling Tools, Equipment, and Materials

Tools

  • Shovel: For moving dirt
  • Landscape Rake: For smoothing out large areas of soil
  • Push Broom: For spreading and leveling fill material
  • Edger: For creating clean lines between your lawn and walkways
  • Carpenter’s Level: To check for level as you go
  • Tamper: To compact fill material (optional)

 

Equipment

  • Wheelbarrow: For transporting dirt
  • Lawn Roller: To compact a large area of soil (helpful for seeding afterward) (optional)
  • Topsoil or Fill Dirt: Depending on whether you need to raise low spots or fill in holes

 

Materials

  • Sand: For filling in small dips and irregularities
  • Compost: To improve drainage and soil quality
  • Grass Seed: If you’re leveling an area that will be replanted

How to Level a Yard?

Achieving a smooth, even yard isn’t just about aesthetics; it promotes healthy grass growth and prevents water from pooling around your foundation. Here’s a how to level a yard:

STEP 01: Start with a Clean Slate

Begin by mowing your lawn to its shortest setting. This will give you a clear picture of the uneven areas and make it easier to work on the soil.

STEP 02: Dethatching for Better Drainage (Optional)

If your lawn has a thick layer of thatch (dead grass and roots), dethatching it before leveling can improve drainage and soil health. This step might not be necessary for all yards, so assess the thatch buildup before proceeding.

STEP 03: Addressing Sunken Areas

For dips and holes in your lawn, carefully remove the existing grass using a shovel. Aim to dig slightly beyond the edges of the sunken area to create a stable base for the fill material.

STEP 04: Creating the Perfect Mix

To fill in the low spots, create a well-draining soil mix. Combine topsoil, sand, and compost in equal parts. The topsoil provides nutrients, sand improves drainage, and compost adds organic matter to enrich the soil.

STEP 05: Filling Up and Evening Out

Spread the prepared soil mixture evenly over the sunken areas, aiming to bring them level with the surrounding ground. Use a shovel to distribute the mix and a rake to smooth it out.

STEP 06: Ensuring Consistent Grade

Once the dips are filled, it’s crucial to check the overall grade (slope) of your yard. Use a long straightedge and level to ensure proper drainage away from your house. If high spots exist, carefully remove some soil to achieve a consistent slope.

STEP 07: Hydration is Key

After leveling and smoothing the soil, water the area thoroughly. This helps settle the fill material and promotes good soil contact with any existing grassroots.

STEP 08: Monitoring and Top-Ups

New soil may settle slightly over time. Keep an eye on the leveled areas, and reapply the soil mix as needed to maintain a smooth and even surface.

FAQs About How to Level a Yard

When Should I Level My Yard?

The best time to level your yard is determined by the kind of grass you have. In spring, warm-season grasses like Bermuda are preferred when temperatures rise. Cooler season grasses such as fescue should be done in late summer or early fall for greater moisture and cooler temperatures. However, do not level during drought or while soil is too wet.

When Shouldn’t I Level My Yard?

Avoid leveling yards in droughts when the soil is dry and challenging to deal with, or in very wet times when the soil is soaked and hard to compact.

Is It Expensive to Level a Yard?

Leveling yards can vary in cost depending on several factors, but it can range from  $1,000 to $3,000 on average. Here’s a breakdown of what affects the price:

  • Yard Size: Bigger yards naturally cost more to level. Prices can be per square foot or per acre.
  • Severity of Unevenness: A slightly uneven yard will be cheaper to fix than one with significant dips or slopes.
  • Material Needed: Does your yard need extra fill dirt or topsoil? This adds to the cost.
  • Labor: Rates will vary depending on your location and the complexity of the project.

 

How Long Does It Take to Level a Yard?

Leveling backyard yourself can take 5-7 days, while hiring professionals can get it done in 1-3 days (12-24 hours of work).

What’s the Difference Between Leveling and Grading a Yard?

Leveling makes the­ entire yard flat and eve­n and removes all bumps and dips. A leve­led yard is like a smooth, flat tabletop with no slope­s or tilts. On the other hand, grading create­s specific slopes and contours in your yard. It shapes the­ yard into hills and valleys. Grading gives your yard specific tilts and angle­s to help water drain properly. It contours the­ surface for landscaping features like­ gardens or pathways.

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