How to Level a Lawn- An Unprofessional Guide


So you have an uneven lawn! Maybe you’re like me and you bought a house with a yard full of rocks, maybe also like me you are cheap and you refuse to pay someone to do something that you could do yourself. No matter the reason you’ve decided to level your lawn yourself, I’m here to help with an official unprofessional guide to level a lawn. Sure this isn’t the most glamour topic ,but we are here to DIY the fun, the pretty, and the boring but necessary.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Dog sitting on lawn

I’ve known for a while that I needed to level my lawn. The yard when I bought the house was filled with rocks and weeds. After all of that was removed and relocated the yard was a sprained ankle waiting to happen.

After a few quick google searches and no major game plan in mind my dad and I got to work (this whole thing works best if you sucker someone into helping you). First stop, you guessed it. Home Depot. We took a super unprofessional approach and went three days in a row. Each day loading up the car with what we estimated we would use. Since you are smarter than us, you can guesstimate how much soil and sand you will need by calculating the area that you are evening out. But do it how you want it, choose your own adventure!

The supplies you are going to need are:

  • top soil
  • sand
  • grass seed ( I bought mine from my local garden center)
  • wheelbarrow
  • shovel
  • rake
  • lawn roller (this could be helpful but not necessary)

How to level a lawn (the overview)

1) Prep lawn by mowing it
2) Mix sod and soil, apply to low areas and divots
3) Rake soil mixture so that everything is even
4) Add new grass seed and water
5) Enjoy walking on a level lawn

Lawn Prep

After you have all of your supplies ready the process is really simple, yet arduous. First prep your lawn by mowing it on your mowers lowest setting. This will give you a really good look at what you are working with. Once the lawn is prepped, in your wheelbarrow mix your soil and sand. We did about a 1:2 ratio of sand to soil. To more easily make sure that all of the sand and soil are mixed I recommend first layering some sand into the wheel barrow, then a bag of soil, then some sand, and so on and so forth. Use your hands to make sure everything is really well mixed together.

Filling Divots

Next is the tedious part. Start working your way around your lawn looking for low spots. When you find a low spot throw some dirt over it. The tricky part here is not using too much of the soil mix to fill the low spots otherwise you are just creating new high spots.

Tamping and raking the lawn

filled lawn divots with rake

We tried a few techniques to tamp the dirt down. At first we had a square piece of wood that we would place on the dirt and just jump up and down on it. This was effective, but time consuming. It was also back breaking having to constantly bend over to pick up the piece of wood. Eventually we landed on a technique of shoveling soil mix into the low spots, raking it even, and then walking on it with our shoes to tamp it down. Over all this worked surprisingly well.

Seeding the Lawn

A lot of the low areas that we were leveling were still grassless areas. After we finished adding soil we added grass seed over the entire lawn. Make sure to gently rake your new seed into the soil mixture you just added. Water the new seed regularly to ensure the new seeds take and over time new grass should grow! It’s pretty important to get grass growing in the low areas or the dirt is just going to kick up and the lawn is going to become uneven again. A few areas of my lawn didn’t sprout any new grass and this is happening to those areas. In the fall I will be repeating this process in a few areas of my lawn.

The final step in the process is to grab someone who hasn’t been working on the project for three straight days. Have them walk around the lawn and see if they trip in any holes. My mom and Shaw were QC for this project.

The unfortunate part of a DIY lawn is that it could take several years for it to look like the green at the Masters. I’m on year two of trying to get my lawn looking good. The reality though is it still has been more affordable than sodding. The upside though is that it is oh so satisfying to look at progress photos of where your lawn started and where it is today. Nature is SO rad.

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