Knowing how to level a yard can seem tricky, especially if you have never done it before. But it is also essential for building a strong foundation for outdoor structures, or even just to give your yard a clean and even look. Additionally, a yard full of bumps and hills can be a safety hazard for anyone walking around, and can even cause you to easily miss spots when cutting the grass.
However, leveling a yard is not as hard as you might think. In this article, you will learn how to level a yard easily by following these 6 steps:
1. Perform Any Necessary Yard Work
Step one is to identify and remove what is making your yard so lumpy and uneven in the first place. It could be a variety of issues: drainage problems, leaking pipes beneath the surface, mole hills, tree roots, and more. Before you level your yard, you need to not only remove the underlying problem, but work to prevent it from happening again. If you are unsure of what to do, speak with a land grading contractor in Northern VA for help. They can advise the best ways to remove the problem and prevent further issues.
Once you have identified the problem and are ready to begin, here are the tools you will need for leveling:
- Lawn mower
- Thatch rake and a bow rake
- Push broom
- A wheelbarrow
- Fill dirt or sand
- Water hose
2. Mow Your Grass As Low As Possible
Cut your grass as low as you can without scalping your yard. Since your yard is bumpy right now, it is okay if some spots are uneven. You will take care of that later once your yard is leveled.
Once the grass is mowed, take a close look at the layer of decayed grass at the base of the turf, called the “thatch”. If the thatch is ½-inch or thicker, your grass cannot get enough air or water and you will need to remove or loosen it with a thatch rake. If it is a rather large area, consider, instead, renting a thatching machine from your local home improvement store.
3. Create Top Dressing Mix
Create a mixture of dirt, sand, topsoil, and compost. This is called a “top dressing mix.” The fill dirt and sand will enable you to properly level your yard, while the topsoil and compost will provide the necessary nutrients that help your grass grow and thrive.
For sunken spots that are deeper than a few inches, remove the grass on top before filling the holes. Use your shovel to dig under the grass layer just below the grass roots and pull the grass layer back to expose the dirt.
Once the hole is filled with your dressing mix, lay the grass back on top. Do this for any divot or low spots that need to be filled. This is where have a strong sturdy wheelbarrow comes in handy, by helping you transport your dressing mix across your yard and wherever it needs to go.
4. Spread the Mix Across the Lawn
Once everything is filled, spread the dressing mix across the entire lawn. You want the grass to be able to grow through the soil and not be choked, so be sure to keep the layer of mix between ¼ and ½ inches. Any thicker and you risk choking the grass.
Next, take your bow rake and work the dressing mix into the grass slowly and evenly. Any of the less deep low spots can now be filled slightly with the dressing mix. Some areas may need the help of your push broom to further work the mix into the soil.
The idea is for the mix to be worked into the existing soil at the base of the grass. If the grass is completely covered, it will lack the proper light to grow properly, which could leave bald spots in your yard.
While you are leveling your yard, keep in mind that the yard should gradually slope away from the house so that water properly drains away from the foundation. If the natural slope is already there, keep that going as you work on filling in the low spots.
5. Water the Leveled Yard
Almost done! The next step is to water your freshly leveled yard. This will not only help the grass grow, but will also help the dressing mix to settle into the grass and fill any air pockets in the soil.
For some people, this is the last step you will need. If you find that your lawn needs further smoothing out, move on to the next step.
6. Add An Extra Layer of Mix (As Needed)
If you feel the yard needs more smoothing out, apply a second layer of the top dressing mix to your yard. However, wait for the grass to grow some, which may take a week or so. Ideally you want the initial layer of dressing mix you applied to no longer be visible before performing this step.
Then repeat step 4, spreading the dressing mix over the grass evenly and working it into the soil. Then follow up with step 5 again, watering the grass. Remember, the idea is to not suffocate the grass, but to smooth out the yard and encourage the grass to grow.
Speak to Dirt Connections if You Need Help
Provided there are no major underlying issues beneath the surface of your yard, leveling it should be a very easy task that will take you no more than a day to complete. Get a friend or family member to help you and the work will go even faster.
Need any assistance with any part of the process, such as fixing slopes? Still unsure how to level a yard after reading this guide? Reach out to a Northern VA land grading contractor at Dirt Connections for any questions you may have. They will help see to it that all of your questions and concerns are addressed and that you are perfectly prepared to conquer the job. You can also inquire about their grading and leveling services, as well as order your fill dirt and topsoil as well.