Whether you’ve had heavy items depressing your lawn, water pooling that didn’t drain, or natural settling over the span of your homeownership, leveling your property might be in the cards this summer. Not only is a lumpy lawn unsightly, but it’s also problematic for the health of your grass — and in some cases, your home’s foundation. We’re going to give you a few DIY pointers on how to level your lawn to save you from more severe issues down the line.
To start, you’ll want to have a good soil mixture of 40% sand (sandbox filler works well), 40% topsoil, and 20% compost (start your own compost bin for this purpose.) The sand works well to provide drainage, and the compost adds much-needed nutrients to promote grass growth. If there are just a few small, depressed areas where pooling occurs, “sweeping under the carpet” may be your best route. This is achieved by simply cutting a patch of healthy grass from the depressed area, adding the soil mixture underneath, and then laying the patch back down. This is a good option for leveling localized depressions because you won’t have exposed soil on your grass, which is necessary with some other methods.
If you have more general unevenness, you will want to take a more holistic approach by applying topdressing. Using the soil mixture ratio above to make the desired quantity, apply up to a ½ inch to the low areas of your lawn; adding more than this might suffocate your grass. Rake the topdressing to spread it out along the problem areas and then use a broom to sweep the soil in while lifting the blades of grass up. Water lightly to avoid washing away your hard work!
If you have deeply sunken areas of lawn, you will want to fill and reseed. Attempting to use any of the previous two techniques will likely lead to washout and frustration. Using the topsoil mixture above, fill the depressed areas, compress them with your gardening boots until level with the lawn, and reseed, following the instructions on your grass seed package. Be sure to forgo compacting the topmost layer of soil where you will be adding your grass seed.
Ideally, you should be able to use your yard as a putting green. Unfortunately, our unpredictable Minnesota weather, seasonal freezing and thawing, and soil shifting all make this difficult. Hopefully, by choosing the best strategy for your situation, you will be able to smooth out that lawn and at least take a few swings!