How to Level Your Yard With 9 Easy Steps

How to Level Your Yard

A bumpy, lumpy, and groove-ridden backyard that appears more like a battleground rather than something where you can practice your putting, is not just visually unattractive but is also notoriously difficult to keep clean. 

While a professional landscaping company could perform the task of leveling your backyard for you but what’s the fun in that and not to mention the cost, So in this post, we’ll demonstrate how you can make your backyard level by yourself and for a reasonable price in just seven easy steps.

Before we get started let’s look at a few of the issues you may have regarding the leveling of your yard or yard grading.

Why It’s Importan to Level Your Yard

If you’re looking for advice about how to level a yard, then you are probably aware of it’s essential to keep your landscaping visually appealing. 

A level yard adds stability to your landscape. It also helps you avoid costly damage and repair work to the foundation.

Your lawn should be able to slope away from your house slowly so that rainwater can drain slowly away from your home’s foundation. 

If rainwater is directed towards your home, it will collect on the walls of your foundation. This can cause water to accumulate and can weaken your foundation. 

It can even get messier, Water seeps through the foundation walls and the basement is flooded with water.

If your home doesn’t have a basement or is constructed on a slab of concrete, moisture could seep into the floor joists made of wood. The moisture will cause rot to the wood joists. It could compromise the structural integrity of your home.

The issues don’t stop there, Incorrect leveling can also harm your trees, plants, and landscaping.

In addition to possible issues with standing water. The mosquito breeding grounds. They’re not just insects but also carriers of disease.

Reasons for Yard Leveling

Even if you’ve graded your yard before landscaping grading might be required in situations where lums or bumps result from:

  • Tree or brush removal
  • Sewer installation
  • Tree root growth
  • Animals can cause damage through
  • The installation of new facilities (such as an outdoor pool)
  • Settlement
  • Issues with drainage

Should I Try To Level My Yard Alone?

The cost of hiring a professional to level your backyard can cost between $1000 and $2,000, based on the dimensions of your property. 

If you decide to tackle the job of leveling your lawn by yourself but it will cost you no more than $500 regardless of whether you need to buy or lease new equipment.

However, it is more likely to cost around $100 if you’re able to think of your own solutions and use DIY landscaping equipment (see below for more details).

Apart from the savings that you can earn when you tackle this lawn care alone, other factors to consider are the effort required and the amount of time. 

While certain of the stages mentioned below require a considerable amount of manual labor but for any person who can handle a rake and shovel, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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The time it takes for you to complete the task is dependent on your pace and the size of your yard and the level of unevenness in your yard. 

If you do work at a slow pace, the task shouldn’t require more than a full day or two days. As a ballpark reference, it is recommended to plan on spending about a full day of work for every 300 to 400 acres of turf.

What’s The Difference Between Grading And Leveling?

While many gardeners refer to “grading” and “leveling’ in the same way, there is in actual fact an important and distinct difference between the two

Grading refers to the process of sloping your lawn away from the home’s foundation to ensure that any water excess can drain away from your house. This will not only ensure that your lawn is not wet during times of heavy rain but also shields your home and foundations from harmful exposure to excessive moisture.

The process of leveling your lawn or lawn area is to make the lawn surface smooth and free of bumps. While it’s mostly for aesthetics landscaping, leveling your lawn may aid in preventing other problems such as improper drainage or the pooling (which could cause explosions of weeds that can draw mosquitoes) and areas of scalping where lawnmowers blades scratch over bumps or hills.

How Do I Know if There is a Landscape Grading Problem?

The easiest way to determine if you’re suffering from problems with your yard’s level is to search at standing water. If you do not have adequate drainage, it’s obvious that you’re in trouble.

If you’d like to be more precise about your landscaping grading it is possible to assess the slope of your yard. 

For this, you’ll need these tools:

  1. Hammer
  2. Two 3 feet. long stakes
  3. 100+ feet. string
  4. Carpenter’s niveau

The area surrounding your home must be sloped at least 1/4-inch per foot to your house. This is about  2 ft. per 100 ft.  At 100 ft from your home, the ground must be about 2 ft. lower than at the base of your home.

To measure accurately how steeply your landscape’s grade is, take a 3 ft. long wood stake. Make sure you drive it 1 ft. deep into the dirt at the bottom of your home. Then measure a 100 ft distance away from your home. In that place, you can put the third 3 ft. large wooden stake into the ground.

At the level of the ground at the stake, tie an extension string. Run it through the 2nd stake attach the stake with the string level. Make use of a carpenter’s level to get this done.

By attaching the string at both ends, take a measurement of the distance between your ground up to where the string is attached to the stake that is on the other side.

If you are able to measure an area that is 3-inches to 2 ft in height, you might be able to accomplish your own leveling. If the drop is higher than that slopes upwards, it’s advised to hire an expert to grade your yard.

If you have steep slopes, you might want to consider planting soil covers or constructing terraces.

Yard Leveling Tools & Equipment You Will Need

If you choose to tackle the job of landscaping grading your own landscape You will require:

  • Lawn Mower
  • Sand
  • Topsoil
  • Compost
  • Hand Rake
  • Thatch rake [or dethatching machine]
  • Plastic leaf Rake
  • Large push Broom
  • Shovel
  • Edger
  • Wheelbarrow

How To Level Your Backyard in 9 Easy Steps

Let’s Get Started,

Step 1: Mow Your Lawn

The process of leveling your yard begins with cutting your lawn. Be sure to cut your lawn short. Be careful in not cutting it too short. If you cut it to the point where the stems of grass can be seen, then the grass will dry out.

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Step 2: Decide How Much of Your Yard Needs Leveling

At this point, you can determine the extent to which your yard must be leveled.

This can be done by visualizing whether the lumps and bumps are restricted to a particular area or are common across the entire lawn or garden. 

By doing this, you will avoid digging up the entire lawn in the wrong way or digging up a small portion only to find later it was better to remove the entire area.

STEP 3: Dethatch Your Lawn [As Needed]

Begin to prepare the lawn for landscaping by carefully examining the grass’s roots. Check the level of thatch.

The thatch is made up of dead and living plant matter in a layer that connects the grass’s stems to the roots and soil.

A thatch that is greater than 1/4-1/2 inches keeps your grass from receiving the proper air and water.

If you’ve got more than 1/2-inch of thatch, remove it.

For smaller lawns, you can make use of the thatch rake. For larger lawns, use a dethatching device. It is available for rent at many hardware stores for home improvement.

Step 4: Dig up the grass in the sunken area of the lawn

Inspect your garden for any divots or low spots that go deeper than 2-3 inches.

Take the grass off them. To do this, place the blade of the shovel on the outside edge of a low place. 

Then, slide it under and down about 2 inches to ensure that you’re able to reach the root of the grass. Remove the sod by pulling the grass out using the shovel. It will expose the dirt beneath.

STEP 5: Make Soil Mix: Topsoil, Sand and Compost

Create a top dressing mix to cover the space underneath the grass in sunken areas on your lawn.

  • 2 parts topsoil
  • 2 parts of sand
  • 1 part compost

The compost and soil give your grass the nutrients it requires to flourish.

Sand, on the other hand, is not able to easily be compacted. Keeping your yard level over time.

Step 6: Distribute Soil With Your Shovel

Fill the hole in step 3 using the mix that you made in step 4. Once you’ve filled in the holes make certain to put the grass on the top.

If you’re dealing with a large space of grass, you’ll need to smooth the uneven lawn and make depressions to keep things as level as is possible prior to moving on to the next stage.

It is done by simply moving the dirt that you have removed from the raised area into the low points and depressions taking out clods and rocks of dirt in the process as you move.

STEP 7: Even Out the Entire Lawn

After filling the divots and holes make sure to cover the entire lawn with approximately 1/4-1/2 inches of the mixture.

Make sure this layer is thin. Err in the direction of cautious. Even if you believe you require more than 1/2 inch. If you apply too much you could imprison your grass.

If you think you’re in need of more You can try again at step 8.

STEP 8: Water the Lawn

Sprinklers are used to sprinkle water on your lawn. This helps the soil mix settle into the grass to fill in air pockets and rejuvenate your lawn.

The introduction of new soil nutrients.

STEP 9: Reapply Soil Mix [As Needed]

It is possible that you will need to apply more than one layer of soil mix to fully make sure your yard is level.

Apply the second layer of soil mix by following steps 5, 6, and 7, after you have seen the grass start to grow or you’re unable to see the first soil mix layer any longer.

This is it. You’re done! Now you’re able to level your yard.

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Things to Remember While Yard Leveling

To get the best results, keep these suggestions in your head:

  • The ideal time to make sure your yard is level is during dry seasons. If done during a heavy rain season, there is a high chance of soil erosion.
  • The correct backfilling of the foundation is vitally important. When the foundation is near to wall the risk is that termites could get into your home.
  • The soil that is removed from the lawn could be used again while grading

Aftercare For Your Newly Leveled Yard

After you have the lawn that is flat to that you’ve always wanted, however, you’ll have to take care to keep the look you want. 

In this portion of this article, we’ll be explaining steps to ensure your lawn stays well-groomed and looks fantastic.

1. Water the Grass Deeply

Once your grass is established it is recommended to water it from 1 to 1.5 inches every week during summer and the warm months. 

After you’ve watered you should make sure the grass has dried before applying another watering and continue by the second session of thorough watering. 

A method for watering the lawn will help the grass to develop deep roots, which will result in an improved lawn that’s less easily squished.

In particular, during hot summer months and the intense heat In the summer and during intense heat periods, be sure to water your lawn in the early morning hours or later in the evening when temps are the lowest. The midday watering can result in excessive water loss and could cause drying of your lawn.

2. Keep Your Grass on the Taller Side

You don’t want your children playing in a maze of tall grasses. But keeping your grass between 3 1/2-4 inches tall to 4inches tall can help stop the growth of weeds and shade the ground to shield the grass from the sun and assist in the prevention of water loss.

If you’re mowing your lawn adjust it to the most extreme setting to ensure that you do not cut your lawn too short. After you’ve mowed, it’s a best practice to let the clippings’ decay be absorbed back into the soil. This can add nutrients to your freshly established lawn.

3. Choose a Decent Fertilizer and Fertilize Your Grass

Selecting and using a quality fertilizer is crucial to having a lush green lawn, However, over-fertilizing could lead to excessive growth and burns to grass because of the chemicals. It is therefore recommended to fertilize your lawn only at least once or twice a year.

If you want to apply fertilizer to your lawn, make certain that you own or lease fertilizer spreaders. Rotary spreaders for fertilizer will scatter fertilizer in a more uniform way. Be sure to all over your yard with fertilizer to ensure that it doesn’t get various growth rates or uneven color.

4. Aerate the Grass

Lawns need to be aerated each autumn or spring to avoid soil compaction and to keep your lawn in good condition. 

It is best to not the lawn after rainy days or following a day of watering to ensure that the soil remains wet (but it’s not wet). 

This will make the whole process run much more smoothly. Aerating soil that is dry or hard isn’t just difficult but isn’t the most effective way to get overall results, either.

Final Words

The task of leveling your yard on your own may appear like a daunting endeavor however the advantages of learning do it accept the challenge with a better drainage system improved manageability, improved appearance, plenty of money saved more than outweigh the effort associated with the task’s laborious and dirty tasks.

When your friends realize how great of a job you’ve done you’ll be sure to receive many invitations to offer assistance in leveling theirs!

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