How to Level a Lawn with Topsoil

How to Level a Lawn with Topsoil

If you’re wondering how to level a lawn with topsoil, you’ve come to the right place! There are several reasons as to why your garden lawn isn’t level, and it can certainly lead to many issues if it isn’t levelled out. When mowing the lawn, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to weave your way over the lumps and bumps and let’s face it – an uneven lawn simply doesn’t look great. Achieving a level lawn will not only eliminate these problems, but it can also lead to better drainage and a more even growth of your garden lawn. In this article, we’ll explain the common causes of a sloping, bumpy garden and the solutions on how to level a lawn with topsoil.

Why is my lawn bumpy and uneven?

There are a number of reasons why your lawn might not be flat and is bumpy and sloping. Here a just a few of those causes…

Waterlogged Lawn

The cold and wet winter months can cause havoc to your lawn. If surface water is left to sit on top of your lawn, it can create long term damage underneath the turf – this is why it’s important to have good drainage. A level lawn is extremely important for healthy drainage.

Soil Settlement

Soil settlement can affect the composition of your garden lawn – things such as rocks, piping, chalk and other debris can cause imperfections that ultimately lead to lumps and bumps in the turf layer. It’s always a good idea to have good-quality lawn and turf topsoil underneath your turf in order to minimise these imperfections.

Animals

Animals in the months where your lawn is most vulnerable can create a great deal of damage in a short space of time. From wild animals like foxes and birds, to pet dogs and cats, there are ways you can prevent these from making your lawn an uneven mess.

People

Children running around on your lawn and adult gatherings are both things that can cause a sloping and uneven lawn. High traffic on a lawn in winter where the surface is at its softest can generate surprisingly large forces of pressure, giving you a problem come the drier months!


How to level my lawn – Preparation

Before starting the project of levelling your lawn, there are a few things to be considered and checked first.

Low spots and drainage problems

Checking for low spots in locations where water pipes are present should ideally be done by a professional as there may be a more sinister reason as to why your lawn isn’t level. If there are general low spots, you should re-grade the lawn as well as levelling it. You’ll need to create a surface that slopes away from your property to avoid flooding and aid drainage.

The size of the uneven patch

If you have a small part of your lawn that is only 2-3cm lower than the rest of your lawn, then you can apply a top dressing directly on top of the turf. With larger and deeper patches, you will have to use a different method. We will lay out both methods in the section below.

When should you level your lawn?

Spring is the best time of year to level your lawn, as this will allow your grass seed time to grow whilst providing sufficient water and nutrients for the soil to settle.

Pre-water your lawn for levelling

Several days before you plan to level the lawn it will need to be watered to ensure that the soil is not too hard, dry or powdery when making the adjustments. Be careful not to overwater your lawn, as wet soil can be just as hard to work with as overly dry soil.

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How to level my lawn – Shallow/Small Spots

Once you’ve determined whether you need to level your lawn for a shallow spot (2-3cm lower than the rest of your lawn), you should follow these steps.

Generally speaking, you can simply apply a top dressing directly on top of the turf. Putting a thin layer of turf and lawn topsoil over the affected area and spreading it across evenly, will help level your lawn. Push the soil down with either your feet, hands or flat side of a rake and make it compact, then water the soil gently and leave to settle in. 

After a couple of days, you should add grass seed and a further light layer of topsoil in order to grow new turf. Again pat down and water gently. Using this method for small uneven patches of your garden should level your lawn.

How to level my lawn – Hollow/Large Spots

For areas of your lawn that are deeper than 3cm, you will have to use a different method than the above. Note – your garden lawn will need to be moist, but not too wet before levelling your lawn.

Using a squared-off shovel, cut into the centre and beyond the edges of the affected area in a cross shape. Keeping this part as even and neat as possible will only help your garden in the long term. Cut to about 4-5cm deep, then glide the shovel underneath to gently lift the turf

Mixing two parts sand, two parts lawn and turf topsoil and one part compost will create the ideal mixture to use when filling the gap in your lawn. Make sure to remove all large stones and clumps before placing the mixture underneath the turf. 

Once you’ve raised the level of your lawn and tamped the turf back down, there may be gaps remaining – if so, use topsoil and grass seed to fill in these gaps. Using a spirit level at the end of your project will ensure you’ve levelled your lawn correctly.

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