October Lawn care

How to Level a Lawn (Make Your Bumpy Yard Flat & Level)

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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A somewhat uneven lawn might not seem like a problem, and over time, any lawn can develop uneven spots. However, unlevel lawns can indicate problems such as poor drainage. Ignoring the dips in your lawn can actually undermine its overall health. By learning how to level your lawn when you discover sunken areas, you can better maintain a great yard and healthier grass. 

What Causes an Uneven Lawn?

Uneven ground can be caused by small depressions in the soil. As air pockets become filled with water, drainage issues could develop and lead to areas of depression in your front or backyard terrain. Drainage issues, of course, can cause the death of grass roots. Excessive water is not good for most other plants in your landscape either. 

Tree roots are another common cause of lumpy, uneven lawns. As tree roots surface and disrupt grass blades, they can become serious trip and fall hazards; they can also make mowing your grass difficult. Sometimes a high amount of clay can lead to soil compaction, which may cause the tree roots to surface. Some trees are simply more prone to surfacing, especially as they age.

Seasonal factors like freezing and thawing of the soil can also cause an uneven yard. If your yard’s slope becomes more pronounced or if the dips and uneven areas of your lawn are becoming a more serious problem (i.e a sunken areas with deeper divots), you’ll want to take steps to address the issue based on factors like your soil mixture and the nature of the low areas. 

Lawn Leveling Equipment

To correct minor lawn issues like low spots, you can rely on some common lawn leveling equipment and supplies. Generally, these are the supplies/equipment you’ll most likely want to rely upon to level your lawn:

  • Topsoil (or appropriate soil leveling mix / top dressing mix)
  • Fine sand
  • Compost
  • Dethatching machine
  • Thatch Rake
  • Bow rake or garden rake
  • Shovel
  • Push broom

Steps for Leveling a Lawn

Before you address your uneven lawn, mow your entire lawn just like when performing routine lawn care. You don’t want to mow it too short; just perform a fresh mow so that you can easily identify all the low spots. That way, you can attend to them all in one day. Plus, cutting the grass blades too short can dry them out.

Step 1

Assess the amount of thatch at the base of your lawn. Use your dethatching machine and thatch rake to clear out excess thatch that could be blocking sunlight and nutrients from reaching grass roots. You should not have more than a ½ inch of thatch to avoid lawn problems. If you don’t have a dethatching machine, it may take you longer to pull it up by hand, but it’s a worthwhile lawn care chore nonetheless. As a rule, you should make thatch inspection part of your routine lawn care.

Step 2

Next, plan to fill in the sunken areas of your lawn with your soil mixture of sand, compost, and topsoil. Sand does not compact easily, so it’s ideal to use when you want a level yard. Opt for two parts pure sand, two parts of topsoil, and one part of compost. The compost gives your grass a nutrient boost. Be sure your soil mix is fully blended.

Step 3

To address lawn divots deeper than three inches, you should take a different approach. In this case, you should use a shovel to dig up the grass by the roots before installing your soil mixture or dressing mix. Then, replace the grass on top of it to encourage rerooting. Be sure to give your lawn a good watering after you make these amendments. You can also spread a thin layer of your topsoil mix over the rest of the lawn to help even out any slight dips in your lawn.


To provide continued lawn care after remedying your bumpy or uneven yard, be sure to water your lawn thoroughly so the grass can more easily reestablish itself. You may find that as the dirt settles, you’ll need to add more of your sand soil mix. That’s typical and not something to worry about. After a few soil mix additions, you should find that you have a more level yard. If the existing grass is struggling, you can new sod or try re-seeding. 

Leveling a Lawn FAQs

How do you level a bumpy lawn?

Essentially, you’ll use a soil mix to fill the dips and sunken areas in your lawn. Check for underlying issues like drainage issues that could be causing your uneven spots. Simply by adding your sand soil mix to each sunken area, you may be able to correct small drainage problems.

Can you level a yard by yourself?

Yes, you can usually level a yard on your own if you have the proper equipment and the sunken areas are not too extensive. Leveling your own lawn is simple, provided you take the steps outlined here. If you find that you have major drainage issues occurring in your yard, you might want to consult with a professional landscaping service. Its professional landscapers can help you troubleshoot problems so you can perform the ideal lawn care solutions.

How do you level uneven ground?

You can level uneven ground by relying on the tips outlined here. Fill the depression in your lawn with a sandy soil mix. Topsoil alone isn’t ideal; the sand helps promote proper drainage.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

1 thought on “How to Level a Lawn (Make Your Bumpy Yard Flat & Level)”

  1. I’ve turned lawn care into a regular ritual, almost like a date with nature. Setting aside time each week for mowing, watering, and general upkeep keeps things in check and prevents overwhelming tasks later on.


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