How to fill large low spots in lawn when you have a bumpy one that doesn’t look so cool is a common problem among gardeners.

How To Fill Large Low Spots in Lawn

You know that you have always wanted to make your lawn level because it just looks better, but these pesky low spots might be getting in the way of your dream lawn.

This article will discuss the main ways to fill low spots, so find out the most suitable method for your lawn in this complete guide!

How Do You Fill Large Low Spots in the Lawn?

To fill large low spots in the lawn, you should first prepare the necessary tools for fixing low spots and find out how deep the low spot is. Next, you can try pouring half to one inch of fresh topsoil on the grass itself.

Alternatively, you can also lift the grass sod and put it back down after filling the low spot. In case of deep ditches in the yard, you will have to rip the grass out, fill the ditch and then plant grass again.

– Prepare the Tools for Fixing Low Spots

You do not need fancy and expensive machines or equipment to carry out a lawn-level operation. The most important tool is the good old flat shovel, also known as the garden spade. A wider shovel will pick up more soil and finish the task earlier.

You will also need something to measure the depth of the low spot. Keep a measuring tape or a level step to carry out this measurement. A wheelbarrow is not strictly necessary but comes in handy while mixing the topsoil and transporting it wherever it is needed.

Lastly, for the topsoil, you will need medium grit sand, soil, compost, or peat. Some additional tools that are helpful and also present in most homes include a rake and a garden knife. In certain cases, you will also need fresh grass seeds to grow grass all over again.

– Find Out How Deep the Low Spot Is

Before filling the low spots developed within your lawn, you need to figure out how deep they are. This would give you a clear idea of the future course of action that needs to be taken.

You need a measuring tape to determine the distance between the edge of the spot and its lowest point. If the low spot is particularly large, then take a couple of measurements from different places and take out an average. 

Find Out How Deep the Low Spot Is

If the low spot is barely one to two inches deep, then sometimes all you have to do is to lift the soil after loosening its compaction. Use a ground fork to remove compaction and a shovel to lift the soil. As it settles down eventually, it will end up filling the spot.

If the hole is very large and lifting seems inadequate, pour freshly mixed soil over the hole with a shovel and rake it gently afterward. Keep the soil from covering up to one-half the length of the grass blades. For large low spots that are deeper than two inches, you will have to put in more effort than this.

– Figure Out the Best Time To Fill Large Low Spots

We have found that the best time to fix a bumpy lawn and its low spots is early to mid-spring. You cannot fill a lawn’s low spots with more soil during the cold winter months, especially in areas where it snows and thaws. During spring, the weather is mild enough to carry out this procedure on the lawn.

The grassroots are also weak after winter dormancy. This is good because you can easily pull them out if you want to. Even if you want to leave the grass as it is, cooler temperatures are more suitable because the grass is less likely to go into heat shock when the soil is poured over it.

– Top Dress Low Spots

Topdressing is one easy way by which you can fill up large-sized low spots in a yard in a short amount of time. The top dressing usually consists of a well-aerated mixture of topsoil, compost, and fine sand, depending on the consistency of your soil.

  • First, determine the approximate overall composition and type of soil in your lawn. This will help you determine the right mix of topsoil that is to be used to fill low spots.
  • Take any large container in which you will mix the constituents of the topsoil. We like to mix ours in a wheelbarrow instead of carrying it around as we fill the uneven lawn.
  • A basic mixture of topsoil comprises three portions of sand with one portion of soil and one portion of peat. Peat adds organic constituents to the soil and can be substituted with store-bought compost. Another easy-to-make mixture is to take equal parts of soil and sand with half of the compost. We say store-bought compost because homemade compost might contain seeds that will lead to rampant weed growth.
  • Once you have blended the topsoil ingredients thoroughly in the wheelbarrow, take it to the edge of the low spot for a refill.
  • Add half an inch of the topsoil over the low spot using the shovel. More than half an inch will end up smothering the grass blades. As a rule of thumb, your topsoil should cover half the length of the grass blade.
  • Spread the topsoil evenly and then use the opposite side of the rake lightly to improve the airflow through it.
  • A push broom will help brush the soil from the grass and help it settle down. Otherwise, the grass will have difficulty growing amidst all the soil.
  • Water your newly filled-up low spot very lightly for the first few days. Until the topsoil settles down, you risk washing it away in case of heavy watering and rain. This is also why you must choose a week without rainfall to carry out this endeavor.
  • Eventually, the grass will grow and emerge further while the new topsoil will settle down and become stable. If you still feel like more filling is needed, wait about three to four weeks for the grass to grow and then repeat the process, pouring no more than half an inch of topsoil at a time.


– Put Soil Under the Sod

This method makes more sense when you have spent a significant quantity of money on installing sod in your yard. Putting extra soil over the sod will drown the grass and restrict its growth. Lifting the sod up works only in mild to moderately large low spots.

  • You will first have to cut through the sod along its edges to lift it from the ground. This can be accomplished by using several household tools such as a flat spade, a sharp sod cutter, or a lawn edger. 
  • Cut all around the periphery of the sod vertically, making shallow and neat incisions. Using a sharp tool and making firm, confident incisions will minimize damage to the grass, helping it recover better.
  • Now gently lift the turf from one side and try to remove it all in one go. If the low spot is a bit large, ask someone else to help you lift it. This would prevent the tearing of the roots during sod lifting. Carefully moisten the sod as you put it aside, keeping it from drying.Put Soil Under the Sod
  • Create the right mixture of topsoil to fill the hole present under the sod. The right composition of the topsoil depends on the soil already present in the lawn. The topsoil needs more sand added if your yard has slightly clay-rich soil. If the soil in the yard needs frequent fertilization, the topsoil must have more compost.
  • After the low spot has been filled, use a rake to improve the air circulation of the topsoil, then even out the surface of the newly filled low spot using either a shovel or a roller. Do not put too much pressure while flattening the surface because this can compact the soil.
  • Now both you and your friend should lift both the edges of the turf and lay it down over the filled spot. Roll a handheld roller with a large handle over the sod to eliminate empty spaces between the soil and the sod. 
  • Lightly watering the sod will also help the sod come in more intimate contact with the new topsoil. Unless the space between the sod and the soil is removed, the sod will not take root and will begin to yellow.
  • The sod will need to be monitored and looked after with effective lawn care to recover from the stresses of being removed. 

– Fill Low Spots That Are Very Deep

Occasionally, very large spots in the yard are also deeper than two to three inches. In this case, there is no sod present to lift, and you cannot topdress it with only a one-inch thick layer of soil. What works in case of deep spots is to start all over by getting rid of the old grass and planting new grass seeds. 

Take the lawn mower out of the shed and mow the grass growing over this spot. Take a rake or a string trimmer to uproot the grass and its roots from this spot physically. Once that is out of the way, loosen the first few inches of the soil within the low spot using a lawn rake.

Now make your ideal soil mixture closely resembles the soil within your yard in a wheelbarrow and push it to the edge of the deep spot. Use a shovel to fill the hole with this mixture and compact each layer as gently as possible using the shovel’s flat part.

This gentle compaction is necessary; otherwise, if the soil is poured over an empty spot, it will eventually settle to create a sunken area.

Another method is slightly overfilling the spot and then compacting it lightly to level it with the entire lawn. This can be done simply by sprinkling water on it and then walking with a light foot over it.

Once this is done, pour another layer of soil several inches thick and sow fresh grass seeds there. This topsoil must remain uncompacted; otherwise, the grass seed might have trouble germinating. You can place drainage pipes before filling them to prevent drainage issues in deep ditches.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Can I Fill Large Low Spots in the Lawn Using Sand?

No, you cannot fill large low spots in the lawn using just sand. The lack of organic matter and consistency makes growing grass in such filled-in spots unsuitable. Instead, combine a mixture containing half sand and half soil with a little compost.

Fill Large Low Spots in the Lawn

Mix all the constituents thoroughly in a wheelbarrow and then drop it on the low spot using a shovel. It would help if you used less than 100 percent sand to fill in low spots present in a lawn. 

– Can I Put Topsoil Over the Grass To Fill Large Low Spots?

Yes, you can put well-mixed topsoil over the grass to fill large low spots, but only if they are shallow and less than two inches deep. The layer of soil placed over the low spot should not be any thicker than one inch.

When putting new soil over the grass, leave at least half the grass blade exposed to air and sunlight. This is important to keep the grass alive and thriving; otherwise, it will end up smothered by the soil.

– Can I Use Topsoil To Fill Large Low Spots Filled With Grass Seeds?

No, you cannot use topsoil to fill large low spots filled with grass seeds that have been sowed. The grass seeds need to be buried only one-quarter of an inch into the soil to germinate. Putting even half an inch of topsoil over these seeds will suffocate them.

Deprived of sunlight and fresh air, these seeds cannot germinate and grow into fresh grass. Wait for them to germinate first and for the grass to become long enough to be loaded with topsoil.


Having reached the end of our exhaustive guide on filling low spots, certain points need to be pondered upon.

  • If the low spot is barely an inch or two inches deep, you can pour a well-mixed new soil directly over the grass.
  • When filling low spots, see to it that the new soil should not cover more than one-third or half the length of the grass blades; otherwise, the grass will die.
  • Try lifting the sod straight from the ground to expose the low spot to be filled. Once the spot has been filled and their surface leveled, all you have to do is to put the sod back in place.
  • If the low spot is particularly deep, you must remove its topsoil along with the grass, refill it with fresh soil, and then sow grass seeds again.
  • Refrain from watering a newly filled low spot in the yard with high pressure, lest you dislodge it.

No one likes their lawn to be bumpy and uneven, but many of us are unsure how to fix it. After reading our guide, we are sure you will finally gather the motivation to get rid of those annoying low spots ruining the aesthetics of your lawn. 

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