To level a yard, there are some considerations gardeners need to take into account. Leveling a backyard can be intimidating for some, especially when it is their first time leveling a yard.

How to Level a Yard

A leveled backyard ground can make the outdoors more appealing. Learning how to level a yard comes in extremely handy when we strive to have an amazingly lush and healthy lawn.

How to Level a Yard

To level a yard can take several steps and some tools. The whole process can take some preparation time as well, such as having time for acquiring the tools and finding the time for the activity itself. The secret to quick and efficient yard leveling is to make sure everything you need is prepared beforehand.

Leveling a yard also has practical benefits, aside from being extremely pleasant to the eyes. Leveled yards help divert water away from the house and its foundations. This keeps the house and its foundations safe from any possible damage, especially when the foundations of the house are susceptible to water seepage.

Now that we’ve established how a leveled yard can help our houses look amazing and stay strong, let’s find out the steps in leveling a yard.

We’ve compiled all the tips and tricks you might need to ensure your yard leveling activities come out successful and beautiful.

– Prepare Your Tools and Kits

Yard leveling can sometimes require heavy-duty equipment, especially when the work is extensive. While some gardeners go for power tools, simple tools work perfectly fine as well. Here are some simple gardening tools you may need.

– Gardening Tiller

A garden tiller can break down the soil upon impact, loosening the earth into smaller pieces and providing aeration. Tilling also helps prevent the spread of weeds in the garden while allowing plants to develop better root systems.

– Landscaping Rake

A landscaping rake functions the same way that a gardening tiller does. The landscaping rake effectively breaks up the soil, and it also functions as a tool to clean up debris and spread mulch and compost.

– Mower

A lawnmower is typically used to trim landscape grasses to the desired height.

Using lawn mower

Manual or otherwise, the lawnmower is a useful tool for many gardeners when it comes to leveling a yard.

– Flathead Shovel

A flathead shovel is a great tool for digging up the soil, as well as removing any plants from the earth. The flathead shovel is ideal for soft soils and mulch while making an excellent tool for filling up wheelbarrows, as well as removing any materials from the wheelbarrows.

– Lawn Roller

The lawn roller helps level out the soil due to its weighted roller function. The weight of the lawn roller ensures that the soil is easily compacted without any air pockets.

– Lawn Drag Levelers

A lawn drag leveler is a tool that easily flattens the soil for larger areas that need leveling. The lawn drag leveler can be made as a DIY tool or purchased from gardening supply stores.

– Wheelbarrow

The simple wheelbarrow can be used to pile on and transport a number of heavy garden materials, such as soil, rocks, compost, mulch, and even plants. The versatility of the wheelbarrow makes it an extremely useful gardening tool, regardless of the purpose.

– Stakes

The stake is normally used to hold and support plants from strong winds. In this case, stakes are used to delineate the area of the lawn you wish to level. You can use three stakes or more, depending on the shape of the area of your lawn that is uneven.

– Ball of String

The ball of string will be tied around the stakes, creating the demarcation of the area you want to level off. The string will help you visually determine the size of the area, so if you expect a large area, it is advisable to get a bigger ball of string for a longer perimeter.

– Play Sand

Play sand can act as a filler for sunken areas that are small and not too deep.

Play Sand Filler for Sunken Areas

– Compost

Compost will help enrich the soil, plus it provides bulk and aeration to the soil.

– Topsoil or Mulch

The topsoil or the mulch will serve as your final layer to your leveled yard.

– Water

Water may be needed where necessary to moisten the ground for leveling purposes.

– Decide Where and How Much You Need to Level

You can visually assess the areas of your yard that need to be leveled. You can start off by trimming the general area that you suspect is bumpy or need leveling. Trimming the grass around the area will help you determine whether the leveling is minor or entails a larger area.

Once the lawn has been trimmed, walk on the trimmed area and its edges to get a feel of any bumps, hollows, or grooves. You can mark these areas mentally, or you can use any identifying marker to indicate the uneven patches, such as using stakes and string to cordon the areas.

– Start Leveling Your Soil According To Their Severity

Leveling the soil can be determined by how deep the sunken area is. There are 3 basic techniques to level the soil depending on the severity and extent of the depression.

Applying Topsoil as Dressing for Areas That Are Relatively Shallow

If the area is relatively shallow, around half an inch deep, then it should be fairly easy to level the soil. Adding soil to the top of the turf is often commonly known as topdressing. Topdressing typically requires an ideal mixture of 40 percent soil, 40 percent sand, and 20 percent compost.

Play sand is the most ideal type of sand to add to this mixture, as it can be found in many commercial gardening centers. As a mixture, the soil and compost provide nutrients while the sand provides good drainage. Additionally, you can make a rough estimate of how much of this mixture you will need based on the size and depth of the sunken area,

The components of the mixture must be fully blended with each other prior to use. Once ready, slowly pour in approximately half an inch of your topsoil mix onto the sunken areas. Take caution to avoid pouring more than half an inch, as doing so will suffocate the grass.

– Helping the Topsoil

Carefully rake the top dressing over the area to ensure an even spread. Brush the grass turf in a back and forth motion while lifting up the grass blades. Doing so will help the topsoil slowly get between the grass and underneath the grass turf.

Lightly add water to the area if needed and only enough to moisten the soil. Overwatering can wash away the leveling mix.

Monitor the area to check for progress. Eventually, you will notice the grass grow back and the area level off. If the area is still uneven, you may need to repeat the process until the whole area is leveled to your standards.

Adding Soil Under the Grass Turf For Areas that are Slightly Deep

For areas that are small yet slightly more sunken to around an inch, adding soil under the turf can easily level off the area of the yard. This technique is highly suitable when your grass is in a healthy state and can be easily manipulated without harming the whole turf.

Green Spring back yard with beautiful lawn

Mark the area that you are planning to level by raising the soil or removing parts of the uneven earth. You can do so by using the stakes planted into each corner of the area to outline the perimeter. You can further delineate the area by tying the string from one stake to another.

Use a flathead shovel to cut through the turf along the edge of the sunken area. Clean vertical cuts ensure minimal root damage to the turf while delineating a more precise area to work on.

– After Removing the Grass Turf

Carefully remove the grass turf and ensure that the roots are not damaged in the process. Set the grass turf aside in an area where it can rest and remain undisturbed while you work on leveling the soil.

Spread a layer of potting soil into the sunken area. As you slowly work the area, sprinkle some water on the soil to remove any possible air pockets. Once you have ensured that the area is balanced and level with the rest of the yard, pat the soil firmly in place to prevent the soil from settling in the future.

Carefully return the patch of grass turf to the soil. Press on the patch of grass turf into place using your hands or feet. This area of grass may need more water than usual since the turf has encountered minor trauma from the activity. Water the grass, and monitor its progress.

– Fill the Spot Completely for Areas that Are Deeply Sunken or Uneven

When the area you wish to level is deeper than an inch, it may be time to just start over. The other 2 techniques cannot be employed for deeper areas, as doing so will take up much more effort than just starting over. This also means that you will end up trying to keep the grass alive rather than getting new grass to grow.

Identify the area that you need to level. This can be easily done by using the stakes to demarcate the edges of the area. To further designate the work area visually, tie the string to form a line from one stake to another.

Once you have made the area more visually identifiable, you can now begin to estimate how much materials you may need. You can use an estimated amount, although it is always more prudent to overprepare more than what is needed. You can now begin to fill the uneven spot.

Start this process by adding potting soil to the sunken areas by layers. With each layer, slowly sprinkle some water. This ensures that the soil has lesser chances of forming air pockets when it settles. At this point, you can use a lawn roller to make sure the soil is more compact.

– Making Sure the Soil is Compact

If the area has raised bumps, you can redistribute the soil to other sunken areas. A tiller is most useful during this stage as it helps loosen the soil. You can till the earth to around 2 inches to keep the topsoil loose. This lessens any future drainage issues between the soils.

Walk on the soil as well to make sure that it gets compacted. However, the topsoil should not be too compacted. Keep one to three inches of topsoil firm but not compacted as this will be the layer upon which the grass turf will grow.

Making the Soil is Compact

At this stage, you can begin to flatten the ground using a lawn drag leveler. Some gardeners prefer to make their own, while most gardeners prefer to use commercial ones. Lawn drag levelers are leveling tools that easily flatten the soil of a large area.

You can add the turf or seed to this area to grow the grass. You can purchase new grass turf to fit the area and position it according to the shape of the area. Water the area to make sure that the turf and the soil underneath it are moist.

For grass seeds, apply them according to the package instruction. Water and care for the area as directed by the manufacturer.

– Level a Sloping Area

Some states require approval for lawn leveling activities, so you may need to get a permit from your local government unit prior to leveling a sloped lawn. Contact your local council, as well as your local utility companies, prior to any digging activities. Doing so can save not only your time but lessen the risks of hitting underground pipes or wires as well.

Once you have cleared everything with your local council and the utility companies, remove or transplant all the vegetation in the sloped area. This ensures you can view the entire area clearly and without obstruction.

Ensure that the lawn itself does not encourage water to flow towards your house. This is called grading. Visually determine any low areas, and correct these by placing sand on these areas to encourage water to flow away from your house.

Measure and mark the rise and run of your targeted area. You can use your stakes and string for this activity. Drive a stake at the highest part of the slope, and drive another stake at the lowest part of the slope.

You can tie a string at the bottom of the stake on the highest elevation and connect it to the stake at the lowest point of the elevation, here make sure the string is level.

– Run and Rise

Run refers to the length of the string, whereas rise refers to the distance between the ground from the string on the stake at the lower point of the elevation.

Determine the number of terraces you need to build. Ideally, a run of five feet with a rise of two feet is normally recommended for structural integrity. Once you have determined the number of terraces, you will need to wet the ground to begin your leveling and terrace-building.

For a strong terrace, you can build retaining walls made of blocks, bricks, and boulders. Avoid using wood as it can decay and deteriorate. Once you have your retaining wall ready, fill the void with sand, and keep the ground even. Add some topsoil, and use a lawn roller to keep the whole area compact.

Once your terrace area is ready, add your grass turf or seed the area with grass. Water deeply, and check for the grass development from time to time.


– Post-Care for the Leveled Area

So you finally finished leveling your yard. Now, it’s time to check if your work went well. We’ve listed below some post-leveling activities that you can do to make sure your hard work ends up successful.

– Water Your Grass Well and Deeply

As you placed new grass in your newly leveled area, you’ll need to make sure that the new grass adjusts well. The newly added grass turf should be watered deeply for 1 to 1.5 inches weekly during the warmer months of summer. Watering deeply encourages the grass to grow deeper roots that are healthy and strong.

The most ideal time to water your lawn during the warmer months is either early in the morning or in the evening. These two timeframes provide the least risks of having the water evaporate from the heat.

Sprinklers are the easiest method of ensuring that a broad area gets watered. You can set your sprinklers on timers or manually turn them on, depending on the kind of lawn sprinkler system you own. Set the timer for an appropriate time that you can be sure that your lawn is deeply watered.

– Trim Your Grass, But Not Too Short

Keeping your grass around three to four inches tall helps prevent the growth of weeds as well as provides a soft cushion for the feet.

This grass height can also shield the ground from any intense heat and preserve the cool temperature of the soil so that the roots of the grass remain unburnt. One more benefit to having this grass height is that water evaporation is lessened.

Garden Scissors on Grass

Adjust your lawnmower to a higher setting so that you can avoid accidentally cutting your grass too short. If you find four inches too long, you can easily go over the area again to keep the height at three inches.

You can also allow your clippings to fall back into the grass. The clippings eventually decay and provide nutrients to the soil, encouraging your grass to grow better.

– Fertilize Your Grass Wisely

Finding a great fertilizer for your lawn can be extremely rewarding. You will find that the right fertilizer at the right dosage can provide you with a lush verdant lawn. Care should be taken to ensure that the fertilizer is given once or twice a year, or according to the instructions.

Too much fertilizer can encourage grass turf overgrowth, and can also cause chemical burns on your grass blades. One of the most convenient ways to apply fertilizer is to use a fertilizer spreader. This ensures a more even coverage, although you have to make sure all of your lawn has been fertilized for a balanced spread.

– Aerate Your Grass Regularly

We will only discuss lawn aeration briefly as the activity requires a separate guide. Healthy grass turf is a result of regular aeration, which provides the roots with a better environment to develop stronger. Ideally, aeration activities should be done around once a year, during the spring or the fall season.

Normally, aeration activities are done by professionals, although some experienced gardeners have been successful doing it on their own. Better circulation of air, water, and nutrients for the grass is the main objective of lawn aerations.


Can you level a yard without digging?

Yes, you can level a yard without digging by using techniques like topdressing or filling low spots with soil.

Do you water after leveling a yard?

It is recommended to water the yard after leveling to help settle the soil and aid in grass seed germination.

Is Leveling a Yard Necessary?

Yes, it is. Some experienced gardeners can easily level a large yard, raise yard level, or even flatten a bumpy yard.

Level ground in backyard areas can be the ideal setting for outdoor picnics and activities.

Leveling a Yard is Necessary

Leveling a sloped yard can also provide better garden conditions for plants, which is why some gardeners even prefer to level a yard by hand. This is so that they can get a better feel of how their yards will eventually look.

Providing endless hours of entertainment, relaxation, and pride, a well-groomed leveled backyard is a constant source of happiness for gardeners and their loved ones


Now that we’ve identified the tools and steps necessary in how to level a yard, let’s review what we’ve learned.

  • To level a yard, you’ll need to have the right tools or pieces of equipment.
  • The severity of your uneven lawn can call for different solutions.
  • Some shallow sunken areas can be easily leveled without major work.
  • Areas with deeper irregularities can require more tools, equipment, and work.
  • After you have leveled your lawn, it is best to keep it watered, fertilized, and trimmed regularly.

A beautiful lawn is one of the most precious things house owners can have. When cared for regularly, a gorgeous lawn provides endless hours of fun, frolic, and respite from the busy world, and to be perfectly honest, what more can we really ask for?

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