How to Level a Lawn Like a Homeowner (DIY) (2024)

If you are a homeowner with a lawn, you already know that uneven areas in the lawn do not look good.

Worse still, they can also be a hazard to children, pets, and anyone who steps in an uneven dip.

Luckily, the process of leveling a lawn is very simple and your reward will be a beautiful lawn free of uneven dips.

This guide will show you how to level a lawn with limited tools and supplies. So you aren’t left taking out a second mortgage on your home simply topurchase tools and equipment.

Here is how to level your lawn, like a homeowner.

The Supplies You Will Need

Before you get started, you will need to make sure you have all the equipment and supplies you need ahead of time.

You will need:

  1. Square nosed shovel,

  2. Straight hard rake and other screed tools,

  3. Buckets or a wheelbarrow,

  4. Sand and compost mixture,

  5. Topsoil.

How much material will you need? Check out our article on measuring mulch, the calculation method is similar.

Choosing the Right Mixture For Leveling

Look, sand is the best leveling agent that there is. But it won’t retain nutrients for your lawn. As a result, too much sand can be bad for your lawn.

While some people use only sand to level their lawns, it is best to use a mixture of sand, topsoil, and compost. Especially if you have a lot of leveling to do. There are 2 mixtures to consider.And it really comes down to your preferences.

How to Level a Lawn Like a Homeowner (DIY) (1)

Option 1: (Recommended)

In my experience, I find it best to do a 50/50 mix of topsoil and sand. And then follow up with a top-dressing of compost. While this option adds a 5th step to the process, it works out better.

For one, it creates a mixture that is easier to level. And adds extra nutrients at the surface of the lawn where they can settle down over time. Feeding the lawn for months after application.

Better yet, the top dressing serves as a final layer that can ensure that as the ground settles, there will be extra material to fill in the gaps.

Option #2

If you are looking for a slightly simpler process try this one. This option will remove one step.

Some people recommend mixing all three together in a ratio of:

  1. 40% sand,

  2. 40% topsoil,

  3. and 20% compost.

Essentials of Choosing the Right Soil Mixture for Lawn Leveling

1. Assess Lawn Type: Identify your grass type (e.g., Bermuda, fescue) to match the soil mixture’s compatibility.

2. Soil Composition: Opt for a mix of sand, topsoil, and compost. Sand improves drainage, topsoil adds structure, and compost provides nutrients.

3. Soil Type Considerations:

  • For sandy soils, use a mixture of topsoil, compost, and a moderate amount of sand to improve water retention and fertility.
  • For clay soils, incorporate materials like peat moss, compost, or gypsum to improve drainage and prevent compaction.
  • For loam soils, a combination of high-quality topsoil and well-decomposed compost is usually sufficient for leveling.

4. Sand Selection: Use coarse sand for better stability and drainage, avoiding fine sand which can compact and retain moisture.

5. Compost Quality: Choose well-decomposed compost to avoid introducing weed seeds or diseases to your lawn.

6. Proportioning: Generally, a mix of 40% sand, 40% topsoil, and 20% compost works well for most lawns.

7. Organic Content: High organic content improves soil health and supports grass root development.

8. Testing Soil: Before applying, test the mix on a small patch to observe how your lawn responds.

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Step #1- Spread the Mixture

Whichever mixture option you have chosen to go with.The first step is to put it down. Spread the mixture across any areas that need to be leveled.

Pro Tip!It’s better to add less than you think you need, rather than dump too much. So dump your mixture little by little until it's where you need it.

Step #2- Level the Soil

Next, use your screed tool to ensure that the holes are leveled with the surface of the lawn. If you don’t have any special tools, even a 2x4 and a helping hand can level a dry sand mixture just fine.

On the other hand, if you have a large lawn, you may want to create a screed rig for your lawn mower or 4-wheeler.

How to Level a Lawn Like a Homeowner (DIY) (3)

Step #3- Let it Settle

After you have finished that part,you should let it settle for a little while.

If you want to, you can dampen the mixture, but be sure not to wet it entirely.

Step #4- Repeat Steps #1- #3

Finally, after waiting several hours, you should repeat the leveling and spreading process. If you want you can go a little heavier on the topsoil in the mixture.

It is advisable to invest a little with a high-quality topsoil mix. You can find it at your local nurserywhere you can get the best quality and match for your money and area.

Step #5- Spread a Healthy Layer of Compost

If you chose our recommended method, you will need to follow up with this step.

Be sure to let the lawn settle once again before spreading and taking one last layer of good compost over the uneven areas of your lawn. But why take this extra step?

Let me break it down...

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Why the 5th step is Worth The Extra Work

While it may take a while to level your lawn in these five stages. It is the best way to make sure that you will not have to redo your work a few weeks down the line when the soil begins to settle.

Also, the layering technique of compost, sand, and topsoil that is high quality help to speed the growth process. It will ultimately make your lawn grow faster and healthier. Therefore, it is better to put more time in now so that you can end up with a beautiful lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Level My Lawn?

Level your lawn during its peak growing season for best results. For cool-season grasses, this means late summer or early fall. For warm-season grasses, aim for spring through early summer.

How Much Does it Cost To Level My Yard?

DIY: Cost of materials (soil, sand, tools), potentially around $100-$500 depending on yard size.

Professional:$0.8-$3 per square foot, larger yards can cost thousands.

What tool can I use to level my yard?

Small areas: Landscaping rake

Larger areas: Lawn leveler (drag behind a mower/tractor) or box blade.

Can I level my lawn with just sand?

While sand is a good leveling agent, it's best to use a mix of sand, topsoil, and compost for nutrient retention and better lawn health.

How do I spread the leveling mixture on my lawn?

Start by spreading the mixture lightly over uneven areas. It's better to add less at first and then adjust as needed.

What are some alternatives if I don't want to level my lawn myself?

If you prefer not to DIY, consider hiring a professional lawn care servicefor efficient and expert leveling.

TLDR: Quick Guide to DIY Lawn Leveling


Key Points

Tools & Materials NeededShovel, rake, wheelbarrow, sand/compost mix, topsoil
Soil Mixture OptionsOption 1: 50% sand, 50% topsoil, top with compost

Option 2: 40% sand, 40% topsoil, 20% compost
Steps to Level a Lawn1. Spread mixture, 2. Level soil, 3. Let settle, 4. Repeat, 5. Apply compost
Best Time to LevelCool-season grass: Late summer/fall

Warm-season grass: Spring/early summer
Cost EstimationDIY: $100-$500, Professional: $1-$3/sq ft

Leveling Your Lawn is Easy

It’s true, it is very simple to level your lawn. Taking time to do the process right will bring out the very best in your lawn.

If you want to do it faster and have some extra money to invest. You can get creative with a screed rig you can drag behind your lawn mower or 4-wheeler to save some time.

Or you can always call a lawn care pro and have your lawn leveled professionally.

How to Level a Lawn Like a Homeowner (DIY) (2024)
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