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    How to level a lawn

    Repair your uneven lawn like a professional

    Alex | Oneflare

    Knowing how to level a lawn yourself can come in handy if you notice that your lawn is not level and it takes away from your enjoyment of your home, detracts from its beauty and can cause water to pool in places or flow towards your home’s foundation. Levelling a lawn that is already laid is not too difficult for the average homeowner to do if you do a little research. Plus, levelling a lawn can make it much easier to do regular lawn maintenance. Levelling your lawn can help it grow better, look more attractive, and enhance your home’s aesthetics and curb appeal and your property’s overall value.

    What causes an uneven lawn?

    There are several reasons why your lawn could become uneven, such as: Uneven thawing in spring

    • Drainage issues
    • Depressions in the soil
    • The gradual settling of a new lawn
    • Children and pets playing on the lawn
    • The thatch in your lawn
    • Repeatedly mowing the lawn using the same pattern
    • Not collecting lawn clippings after mowing
    • Chinch bugs
    • Moles and other pests
    • A sprinkler system

    How to prepare to level a lawn

    The first step to take before beginning to level your lawn is to assess just how bumpy it is. This will determine if you can just step on the bumps to flatten when the ground is damp and soft in spring, use topdressing or a more aggressive method. If the bumps are severe and widespread, you will need to gather some tools. The last step for preparing a lawn to be levelled is to mow it as low as possible.

    Source: Marzia Design

    Materials and tools

    There are a number of tools and material you will need when you are levelling a lawn. A comprehensive list of them includes:

    • Hand rake
    • Landscape rake
    • Leaf rake
    • Levelling rake: Used to break up small clumps of dirt, remove stones and create a smooth, level surface.
    • Push broom
    • Shovel
    • Topsoil
    • Wheelbarrow
    • Lawnmower
    • Topdressing
    • Grass seed
    • Levelling mix (composed of soil, compost and sand). Levelling mix is a good solution when a lawn has a lot of shallow, widespread, uneven areas.
    • Water
    • Sand

    How to level a lawn

    The best way to level a lawn when fixing widespread shallow indentations is to use a thin layer of topdressing with a levelling mix made of sand, soil and compost and spread it all over the lawn. For small indentations covered with healthy grass, use a shovel to cut and lift the turf patches. Put some soil mix to level the indentation, step on it, water it lightly, compress it and put the grass patch back down. For deeper indentations, use a garden rake to de-thatch the lawn, put some sand, soil and compost in a wheelbarrow and blend them to make a levelling mix. Use the shovel to put scoops of the levelling mix in the low areas. Spread it evenly using a rake to ensure it is a few centimetres thick.

    Using a push-broom or a levelling rake, work the levelling mix into the grass thoroughly. If it is done properly, the levelling mix should almost be invisible. Water the grass to help the levelling mix go under the grass and become stable. Monitor the lawn and repeat the process of sprinkling top dressing in the remaining low spots and depressions once the grass has recovered and begun to grow. If your lawn has extremely deep depressions, you can fill them with soil to make the area level, resell the filled areas, and wet them to promote healthy, new grass.

    The best way to level a lawn is to do the process in spring while weather conditions are mild. This gives the lawn ample time to recuperate before the summer heat begins to beat down on it. Using fine mason sand or play sand mixed with some topsoil and a bit of compost makes sure the grass is not smothered and killed but drains adequately and gets the nutrients it needs for thick, healthy growth. Avoid over-watering. It can wash the levelling mix away and undo all of the work you have done to make your lawn level. The key is to take your time and do the levelling gradually. This will get rid of the large and small indentations while allowing the grass to grow lush, green and healthy.

    Contact local lawn experts

    Can sand be used to level a lawn?

    Sand can be used to level a lawn, but it must be used carefully and judiciously. It can be used to level low areas or fix areas with thatch build up quickly and easily. The sand can help provide proper drainage, but too much sand can leave the grass dry as the water will flow right through it, and sand does not retain the nutrients grass needs to grow. Some experts recommend using a loamy sand-soil mix made with 70% sand. This mixture is nutrient-rich and creates a good lawn levelling top dressing. Masonry sand is fine enough to easily go through the grass and blend with the topsoil, level the lawn and allow for healthy grass growth.

    Source: Northern Beaches Creative Gardens

    Getting professionals involved

    In most instances, the average homeowner can take the steps necessary to level their lawns themselves. However, in some cases, if you want to make sure your lawn will be levelled and the cause of the unevenness problem properly addressed, you may need to call in a professional. One such instance is when the area of your lawn that is uneven is near where there are water pipes. This could mean that the unevenness is the result of a leaking water pipe, or you may have drainage issues. 

    Landscaping and lawn care experts have the tools, training, expertise and experience to let you know if the problem with unevenness in your lawn is caused by damaged water or drainage pipes. However, if this is the case, you will have to call a plumber to fix the damaged pipe first. In that case, levelling a lawn requires more than just lawn maintenance. When levelling a lawn that is already laid and there may be plumbing problems, hire a professional. 

    How to hire a landscaper

    Licencing and qualifications

    Three of the most important things to look for when hiring a landscaper is to make sure they have the proper licencing, qualifications and experience. In Australia, landscape contractors may need up to 6 years of training and take university taught landscaping related courses like horticulture and landscape construction to become certified in the field. Plus, they must gain experience by working with a licenced landscape contractor performing basic landscaping tasks. Landscapers master must lawn care and know-how to safely handle pesticides, fertilizers, planting, landscaping, garden design, and build fences and other non-habitable structures.

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