How to Level Your Lawn

How to Level a Lawn

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Levelling  your lawn may sound like a difficult and daunting task, however it is relatively easy and doesn’t have to be expensive. In this article I will explain how to level your lawn so you and your family can enjoy the benefits. I am sure your lawn mower and its blade will be delighted too as it will no longer have to scalp the bumps along the way.

If you do have a robotic lawn mower and are wondering why it keeps getting stuck when it travels along your lawn everyday, and you can’t properly relax when the sun is shining (this was the point of your purchase), you will definitely want to level your lawn.

Why Is My Lawn Uneven

Deeper Bumps & HollowsThere are many reasons why your lawn can become bumpy and uneven. Some that are out of your control, but others can be dealt with quite easily. Below I have listed some of the most common reasons for you to be aware of –

Burst water pipe or leaking irrigation systems can cause bumps or recesses in your lawn.

Also if your lawn is relatively new the ground can settle unevenly, again causing depressions to the lawn.

The changing season cycles can cause the soil to become bumpy and uneven, as the temperature changes and the soil thaws unevenly. This is particularly the case with clay soils.

If you have purchased a new house, you may be surprised at what the builders have buried in your back garden (unwanted building materials/debris) and covered with turf. Again over time, this will cause bumps and hollows in your lawn.

Animals such as moles, foxes, house pets and ants can also cause uneven lawns, leading to scalping when mowing your grass.

Your lawn can also become uneven due to poor maintenance if you allow weeds and shrubs to grow out of control, or do not stick to your regular grass maintenance schedule i.e. aerating and de-thatching

As we all know maintaining a level lawn is much easier and aesthetically pleasing than having a bumpy lawn. If you do have an uneven lawn, you will need to level it which is something that can be achieved relatively quickly and cheaply. In this article I am going to show you how.

Preparation Work

Preparation WorkBefore you get to work have a quick look around your lawn to see the severity of your bumps and hollows. You should measure the depth of all the low spots as this will help you estimate the amount of top-soil you are going to need for filling, and which type of method will be most suitable. Remember, if you have lots of bumps the soil from them can be used for filling the hollows, again something else that should be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of top-soil required. You also want to check for any existing drainage problems or other issues that will need to be deal with and resolved first.

So that the soil is not too dry and hard, give the affected areas you will be treating a little watering over before you begin your levelling work. But be careful you do not over-water as this can be just as bad as under-watering. Also to ensure that the seeds have enough time to grow and that the soil is kept sufficiently moist (if you plant seeds) it is recommended that you carry out your repairs at the beginning of spring.

Slight Bumps & Hollows

For those with slight undulations in their lawn, you can treat your problem with top-dressing. Just spread out a thin layer over the affected area and work it in using a garden rake (metal rakes are more effective) until every little hollow is filled. Some people like to use a flat rake to spread the top-soil as it covers a larger area. When the top-soil is spread evenly and compacted over the affected area, you will need to lightly water it (sprinkler on gentle setting can also be used) and leave it to settle. Of course you will need to make sure it is kept moist for the next few days.

Most people use top-soil to fill their shallow hollows, but you can also use sand, or a mixture of top-soil and sand (1/2 and 1/2 mix) or compost (great fertiliser). Please note if you decide to use sand that it may not be suitable for all lawns and sometimes can cause other issues. I would therefore recommend using top-soil.

In most cases hollows are caused by soil compaction and poor drainage, this is something that can be fixed by aerating. For more information relating to benefits of aerating, how it works, different types of aerators and best tools available please see my article – Best Type of Lawn Aerators.

Deeper Bumps & Hollows (up to 5 cm)

  1. With a spade slice down the centre of the bump or hollow to split it in half.
  2. Now push your spade underneath one side of the turf to cut its roots and then pull it back in a strip. Do the same for the other side.
  3. Either remove (for a bump) or add (for a hollow) soil to the required height, then fold the strip back to cover the area.
  4. Stamp down on the turf using back of your spade (to compact and level it).
  5. Make sure you are using the same soil, or at least similar, to that of your lawn. If you have both bumps and hollows then you can just recycle the removed soil.
  6. Gently water the area, and continue to water to ensure the roots get re-established.

Large Bumps & Hollows (over 5 cm)

For larger (over 5 cm) bumps and hollows you are going to need to completely remove the turf, add or remove soil (depending on whether or not it is a bump or hollow) and then re-turf or seed the area. To get a better grass match you will probably want to re-seed the area instead of using the removed turf.

If you would like to know more about top-dressing your lawn, click on my article – How to Top Dress Your Lawn.  

As you may also have weeds, moss, thatch, bare patches or tree roots in your lawn, you may be interested in reading more information in my article  – Lawn Repair Advice.

Levelling your lawn may require some effort, however any work done will pay off in the long run and make cutting and maintaining your lawn that much quicker and easier.

If you found this post interesting and would like to see some of my other lawn care articles or reviews relating to best gardening tools I have reviewed visit

If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience with our readers please use the comment box below.


4 thoughts on “How to Level a Lawn

  1. Interesting post and very timely. In my backyard I had a garden and now it’s overgrown with grass im surprised how that happened. But the garden was a few inches raised so now I have to dig the grass to level it out, would it make it easier if I just buy actual grass rolls and just replant them? Any tips on how how flatten out the raise garden with the rest of the lawn? Do I use a leveler? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dawna, yeah lying grass rolls will be easier but it’ll also be more expensive. 

      Deciding on whether or not you should use a leveller really depends on how big the bump is, if it’s quite small then I would try out the leveller but if not then I would cut out the soil like I have shown in my post. 

      Hopefully this will make your lawn nice and flat ;-)

  2. Making a lawn nice and level is very important and a bit of manual work comes into it. I think a lot of gardeners take pride in a lawn as it is the centre show piece. Having bumps and hollows as you have pointed out is the fly in the ointment and you need to spend a bit of time ironing them out. Your post is well written and it will be a great help to any one with this problem.

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