How to Level Your Yard – An Easy to Follow Guide

There is nothing as pleasing as escaping to a beautiful yard.  How to level your yard is often a challenge. 

Leveling your yard depends on your layout, but it is essential to have a plan and the proper tools to tackle this large project. Aftercare is equally important in transforming your yard from a bumpy, messy yard, to a beautiful oasis.

To help you through this process we have outlined the steps on how to level your yard to make the process as simple as possible.

Benefits of Leveling Your Yard

level yard

Not only are bumpy, uneven yards an eyesore, but they could also be a safety hazard. There are ample opportunities for trips, falls, and sprained ankles.

Many issues could cause an uneven lawn, such as draining issues, leaks in pipes underneath the ground, and pests like grubs and moles.

Before you start leveling your yard, troubleshoot underlying problems so it does not occur in the future.  

Leveling your yard will ensure hours of fun for the whole family.  It also improves maintenance, general appeal, and efficient use of water.  

The Difference Between Grading and Leveling Your Yard

There are two distinct differences between leveling and grading your yard. 

Grading is a landscaping term used to refer to the slope of the yard away from the foundations of a house. Leveling is the process of creating an even surface in the yard.  

Plan Your Project


Walk your yard.  Determine where the bumpy and uneven patches are.  This will give you an indication of how much soil mixture you need to purchase.  

Check for steep slopes, soil erosion, and draining issues in low spots.

Examine the amount of thatch at the lawn’s roots.  Thatch is the layer of decayed grass at the base of the turf.  About quarter to half an inch is acceptable. 


Calculate how much filler will be required.  Based on the calculation you will know if you can purchase the mixture from your local home improvement store. 

If a lot of filler is needed, you might need a truck or a landscaping company that can deliver the filler.  

The filler can contain a mixture of sand, topsoil, and compost.  A mixture of two parts sand, two parts topsoil, and one part compost are recommended. 

The sand helps maintain a level yard and the compost and topsoil contain nutrients needed for your grass to thrive.  


Depending on the method, you may require various tools.  This could include the following:

  • Landscaping rake
  • Lawn mower
  • Ball of string
  • Flathead shovel
  • Any type of level
  • Lawn roller
  • Wheelbarrow 
  • Topsoil, sand, or filler
  • Broom  

Remove Turf

Your lawn may become progressively bumpier over the years.  What you want to create is a smooth, bump-free lawn for the family to enjoy. 

To remove existing turf and relevel your yard you can use various methods.


This method is a bit messier since you are messing up grass and soil into the grass. If you are considering using a rototiller you are best to do some research beforehand, you can check out a breakdown of using one in this YouTube video–safety first!



You can rent a grasscutter from your local home improvement store.  With this, you can create a clean area and remove all the grass. This is the cleanest method and is chemically free. 

Herbicides may also be used but are not recommended, since they might be left in the soil and could have an adverse effect on your newly planted grass.

Use a landscaping rake to level the yard.  If you do not have much dirt, you can use fresh turf.

If you do not wish to remove existing turf, simply mow the lawn short, but not too short.  If you mow it too short, it might become prone to drying out the roots. 

Level Your Yard

  • The topdressing side of leveling your lawn is an important step
  • Determine what type of lawn you have or want
  • There are many methods that you can use to level your Yard.  Choose the one that works best for your needs

Methods to level your yard

Level the ground with a lawn roller

After removing the turf, you will need to level your yard with a lawn roller.  If you have a very big yard, you may require a tractor.

Lawn Rollers are heavy cylinders that are attached to an axle.  This is used to smooth soil mixture and even out irregular and bumpy yards.  

String Method

This method enables you to raise and even level your yard.  You will need to place 4 wooden stakes at the end of each corner of your garden. Stretch and tie the string to the adjusting stakes. This will determine the highest level of your yard.  

At this stage, you can use a measuring tape.  Once one side is completed, remove the string from the stake and measure the other side. 

Account for the drop in elevation from the bottom to the top area of the lawn that you are leveling.  If you are filling a large area, you can use filler material.

Soil Method

You can use soil to level your yard.  This is a great DIY project. The soil mixture provides excellent structure.

Good soil contains an output of 25% water and 25% air. The thatch should be about a quarter to half an inch long.  More than that will prevent the grass from getting enough water and air.  

Fill Sunken Areas and Holes With Soil Mixture

Dig up grass in sunken parts of the lawn and fill it with your soil mixture.  If you have areas deeper than two or three inches, remove the grass on top before filling the holes. 

Pry the grass up with a shovel and fill the hole with your soil mixture.  The grass can then be replanted.

Once the patches are filled, use your shovel to disperse the soil mixture to the depth of about a quarter to half an inch. A heavier layer could choke your grass.

Rake the soil mixture evenly across the grass.  Do not suffocate the grass blades. This will result in light deprivation and cause your grass to rot.  Use a broom to further work the mixture into the soil, thereby revealing the blades.

Water the Lawn

Water the lawn to help the soil mixture settle into the grass and fill any air pockets.  You could also install a sprinkler system.  

You might need another layer of soil mixture.  Keep an eye on the lawn after a few waterings.  If you have runoff or standing water in puddles, add another layer of soil mixture.


Aftercare for Your Leveled Yard

During the hot summer months, you will have to water your new grass with approximately one to one point five inches of water weekly.  Ensure that your soil is dry before watering again. 

Follow up with another deep watering session This will encourage the grass to grow deep roots.

Watering your garden in the early morning or late evening is recommended.  This is to prevent the excess water from evaporating.  

A sprinkler system may be installed to aid with the watering.

Do not mow your lawn too short.  It is a good idea to have your lawn mower at a higher setting. Another good idea is to allow clippings to decay and be absorbed back into the soil, thus giving your soil more nutrients.  

It is wise to invest in a good electrical or gas mower.

You should aerate your lawn.  This involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow water, air, and other nutrients to penetrate the grassroots. 

This aids in helping the roots grow more deeply, resulting in a stronger, more lush lawn.  This also alleviates the soil from compaction.  The best time to do this is spring, early summer, or fall.  

How to Level Your Yard FAQs

How can I level my yard cost-effectively?

Adding dirt to low spots in your lawn is a cost, effective easy fix.  For the best result use a soil mixture (two parts sand, two parts topsoil, and one part compost).  This can be bought from your local garden or hardware store.

Can I use a tiller to level my yard?

Yes, you can.  Once you rototill the soil and grass together, you will need to put a soil mixture on top to even out bumps and lumps to ensure a level lawn.

How much does it cost to level a yard?

Depending on how large your yard is, it could cost anything from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.  

Where to purchase sand and topsoil?

If large quantities of sand and topsoil are required, you may have to contact your local landscaping company.  A cubic yard is much larger than a cubic foot or square feet. 

Landscaping companies can deliver large quantities straight to your house in the desired location.

What types of grass do you get?

There are over two hundred types of Kentucky bluegrass. It is the most popular grass for lawns.

Other types of grass include the following: 

  • Bentgrass
  • Rough Bluegrass
  • Red Fescue
  • Annual Ryegrass
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Fecues
  • Zoysia
  • St Augustine

Why is it important to level a yard?

Leveling your yard may prevent serious damage to your home.  Lawns should slope away from your home to prevent water from pooling and weakening your home foundations.

Flooding may result in your home if this is not done correctly.  The extra moisture could cause wooden floors to rot and put your entire home structure at risk.

Uneven lawns create drainage issues in low fill areas. These low spots may promote disease and breed pests like mosquitos.

Environmental changes such as home improvement projects may cause yards to become uneven.  Root growth from trees and the removal of trees may also impact lawn areas. 

An even lawn looks more attractive and is easier to maintain.  Mowing an uneven lawn is always problematic. 

An uneven lawn could pose a potential hazard.  

What Tools Do You Need for Leveling a Yard?

Some sort of level and stakes will be required.  This will determine which part of the lawn needs leveling.

A rototiller or grasscutter.  This removes the thatch which is the decaying grass that grows at the turf, or surface level of the lawn.  More than half-inch of thatch means that your lawn is not getting enough water.  A thatch rake may also be used.

A lawn mower to cut the grass.  Grass should be cut short, but not too short so that the stems of the grass blades are visible.  Cutting your grass too short puts the grass at risk of drying out and dying. 

You will need a shovel to dig into the low spots and expose dirt beneath the grass. A rake or a lawn roller will be needed to level the lawn. If uneven areas are large enough, use a tiller to dig them up.

A soil mixture of sand, toping soil, and compost.  This is used to fill in any unevenness throughout the yard.  The sand keeps the lawn level, while the soil and compost add nutrients to the grass.

How Much of Your Yard Needs Leveling?

Determine how much of your yard needs leveling.  Determine the lumps and bumps in the area that you wish to level.  Doing so will prevent you from digging up the entire lawn unnecessarily.  

What Time of Year Should You Level Your Garden?

Spring is the best time to level your yard.  The temperature starts to rise, and the risk of frost has passed. This ensures that the ground is soft and easy to work with.

The mild weather gives the turf enough time to grow and provides the required moisture to set the soil.  

Which Lawn Mower Should You Use?

There are many different types of mowers on the market.  The size and landscape of your garden will determine which mower is best suited for you.  A large yard may require a ride-on-mower. 

These include a lawn tractor, zero turn mower, and rear engine riding mower. 

Walk mowers include cylinder mowers, rotary mowers, push mowers, self-propelled, and hover mowers.

There are also different power types. You get manual power, electric, gas, and battery-powered motors.  

lawn mower

How to Level Your Yard – Conclusion

Many elements involve creating a beautiful outdoor space, and yard leveling is a must. It is important to know what is causing the uneven yard.  A leveled yard will give you much better drainage and an overall better appearance.

Leveling your garden might seem like a daunting task, but at the end of the day, it will improve the value of your home and provide many happy hours with family and friends.

Please let us know if this information was useful and any tips and tricks you might have to make the process easier.

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