Tips & Advies
A man on his knees levelling a lawn with a spirit level
6 MIN 19 Dec
Last update: 22 Dec 2023

How to Level a Lawn

The secret to a beautiful garden is levelling the lawn. What's the best way to go about it? We are sharing our best tips!

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Do you gaze at your lawn wistfully, wishing it could meet the dizzy heights of those wonderful plots you see in Downton Abbey? Perhaps you devotedly mow, feed, weed, and scarify, and the results remain unsatisfactory? Maybe it’s time to look at your lawn’s surface — is it level?

Table of contents:
Show all
  • Why is levelling your lawn important?
  • How do you know it’s time to level your lawn?
  • How do you prepare your lawn for levelling?
  • Tools for levelling your lawn
  • How to Level A Lawn: a step-by-step guide
  • Tips for flawlessly levelling your lawn
  • Alternative methods for levelling your lawn
  • FAQs

Because without a level canvas, your lawn will always suffer waterlogging, poor growth, and even cause trips and falls.

This article is about how to level a lawn, with a detailed step-by-step plan to help achieve your ultimate turf.

Ready? Let’s go!

Why is levelling your lawn important?

A beautifully levelled out lawn

There are several reasons why levelling your lawn is an essential step towards the ultimate turf:

  • Better water drainage — maybe you’ve noticed puddles in wet weather, and perhaps the grass plants in those dips struggle in dry weather.
  • Improved growth — grass grows best on an even surface, with unevenness causing nutrient deficiencies. This leads to uneven growth.
  • More even mowing — your mower typically adapts poorly to dips and overcuts in mounded areas. So, a level lawn surface helps provide a more even and reliable mow.
  • A safer lawn — ultimately, an uneven lawn can be a trip hazard, especially for people less sure of their footing.

How do you know it’s time to level your lawn?

A puddle in the middle of a lawn

If you spot these telltale signs, it’s time to level your lawn:

Potholes, bumps, mounds, and dips

Walk across your lawn’s surface and feel for lower and higher areas.

Alternatively, roll a football across your turf and see where it stops. Does it settle into dips? Maybe you notice that it rolls away from mounds.

Puddles and poor drainage

If you notice puddles forming in specific areas across your turf, it’s a sure sign of unlevelness.

However, it could also be a sign of heavy or compacted soil, which can be remedied by aerating or topdressing your lawn.

Typically, water should run off your lawn, evenly distributing across the surface and draining into the soil quickly.

Weak, unhealthy-looking lawn patches

You might spot weak or yellowing areas of your lawn. While yellow or brown patches often indicate infestation or disease, uneven drainage can also be the cause.

Check out our article about the 14 Reasons for Yellow Patches on your Lawn.

How do you prepare your lawn for levelling?

A garden sprinkler on a green lawn

Firstly, mow your lawn — it’s much easier to spot flaws in your turf’s levelness when the grass is short.

Then, attack weed clusters, which can cause soil dips as they drain your soil of nutrients, pushing your grass plants out of the way.

Finally, water your lawn before levelling. This makes the earth more manageable — but avoid overwatering as this can make the soil too soft, leaving a poor foundation for your levelling efforts.

Tools for levelling your lawn

Of course, levelling your turf requires the right tools. Here are the essential devices for successful levelling:

  1. Garden rake — this helps distribute the soil, working out the lumps and dips.
  2. Garden roller — this helps press the lighter topsoil into the ground, providing an improved foundation for your turf.
  3. Shovel or garden spade — these tools help move fresh soil around the lawn.
  4. Wheelbarrow — you might be surprised at how much topsoil you may need, so a wheelbarrow will help carry heavy earth around your garden.
  5. Spirit level — this is the essential levelling tool. Getting a perfect flat and even surface is impossible without a spirit level.
  6. Sod-cutting knife — this can help deal with larger bumps, allowing you to cut away a surface mound, flattening the soil level.

How to Level A Lawn: a step-by-step guide

Now you have all the knowledge and tools to hand, it’s time to get levelling.

Follow this step-by-step guide to make your lawn perfectly even:

Step 1: Identify the problematic areas

Walk across your lawn, paying attention to the dips and bumps. Highlight these areas with line painting spray.

Step 2: Remove the grass and weeds

A section of lawn removed for levelling

If you’re dealing with large bumps, you may need to remove the existing turf before levelling. Using a sod-cutting knife or a garden spade, carefully lift the turf.

Then, level out the soil below.

Step 3: Level the ground

Using a garden rake, distribute the soil evenly, removing dips and bumps.

Ensure the soil is even with a spirit level. This might seem like a lot of effort, but it’s definitely worth it.

Step 4: Firm up the soil

Using a garden roller, firm the topsoil to prevent drift. Roll the roller in different directions to ensure the soil is pressed as evenly as possible.

Step 5: Check and adjust

Return to your spirit level, ensuring that rolling hasn’t created new dips or bumps.

Step 6: Sow grass seed

Now you’ve levelled out the soil surface, it’s time to sow new grass seed or overseed if you’ve laid topsoil over existing grass.

Cover the bald spots, then press the seed into the earth using your roller. Water lightly but well, avoiding disturbing the seeds.

Tips for flawlessly levelling your lawn

Here are some valuable tips to make your lawn more level:

  1. Begin with small patches, especially if you have a large lawn. This allows you to focus on problematic areas first.
  2. Aerate your soil — compacted soil will dip over time, so keep heavy clay soil regularly aerated using a garden fork, aerating machine, or aerating sandals.
  3. Roll in different directions — this helps ensure the topsoil is pressed evenly, making it less likely to shift.
  4. Maintain your lawn regularly — mow regularly and keep it watered and fertilised. A thick, thriving lawn will hold the soil’s structure more evenly.
  5. Choose the right lawn seed for your garden’s conditions — the correct lawn seed mix keeps the turf even and healthy. Use our Shade & Sun seed for perfect coverage, even in the shade; or Sport & Fun seed for a more robust lawn suitable for ball games and heavy use.
The Garden Doctor:
Using a garden roller is an effective way to even out your lawn. It helps create a sleek and well-groomed lawn you can be proud of.

Alternative methods for levelling your lawn

A man pulling a garden roller.

While a garden roller is one of the most effective ways of levelling your lawn, other approaches can work.

Instead of a roller, use a garden rake to distribute the soil evenly. This can be useful if you only want to decrease minor bumps. Then, lay planks across the soil surface and walk across them evenly. Keep using your spirit level while you work.

FAQs

When should I level my lawn?

Lawn levelling is best done in spring or early summer to give your grass plants time to bounce back. Choose a dry period and use a rake or garden roller to press the topsoil for greater evenness.

How do I level an existing lawn?

First, walk over the soil surface to identify dips and bumps. Then, remove the turf where there are bumps, level out the soil with a rake, and use a spirit level to ensure levelness. Sow new grass seed to help your existing lawn bounce back.

Which soil is best for levelling a lawn?

Use good-quality garden topsoil with no stones, clumps, or compacted areas. It’s worth spending a little extra for the best topsoil, which is less likely to become compacted.

Any questions?

I hope I’ve provided all the answers you might have about how to level a lawn. But if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us.

Or explore our comprehensive Help & Advice section for all your gardening and lawn care needs.

Thanks for reading!

Louis Hooft
Founder & Lawn expert
Introducing Louis Hooft, the founder of MOOWY and your reliable expert. With a profound love for stunning lawns and extensive experience in garden maintenance, Louis is here to assist garden enthusiasts in achieving a greener and livelier outdoors than ever before. Count on Louis for invaluable tips, clever tricks, and top-notch products to make your garden flourish!
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  • What is your lawn care goal?
    1. A. Greener grass
    2. B. A more lush, dense lawn
    3. C. Bald spot repair
    4. D. Lawn restoration
    5. E. Laying out a new lawn
    6. F. Combating moss
  • For which season?
    1. A. Spring
    2. B. Summer
    3. C. Autumn
    4. D. Winter
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn has shaded areas
    2. B. My lawn is used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I have a standard lawn without special features
  • How many bald spots do you have?
    1. A. A lot, my lawn looks like a barren wasteland
    2. B. A few bald spots here and there
  • Describe your lawn restoration goal:
    1. A. I want to completely renovate my lawn
    2. B. I want to overseed my existing lawn
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn is shaded
    2. B. My lawn will be used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I would like to have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I would like to have a thick and strong lawn
  • How bad is the moss problem in your garden?
    1. A. Bad. My lawn is covered in moss.
    2. B. Just a few spots
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