How to Level Your Backyard

There can be several reasons homeowners need to level their backyards. It can be for the aesthetic properties, or there are water issues, and water seeps toward the home. No matter what the reason, you need to get this land grading project done right to prevent water from running toward your home.

It is hard work, yet with a few Steps of preparation, you can find out you can do this yourself rather than opt for the professionals to come in and rip up your garden. By the end of our guide, you’ll learn more about leveling a yard the right way with no threat to your home foundations, and you can have a pleasing level lawn and garden just as you envisioned. (Read What to Do with Tree Stump in Front Yard)

backyard with plants

How much does it cost to level a backyard?

Before you start to resurface, regrade or fix the slope in your backyard, it’s good to know how much it costs for the pros to do. Most often, pro landscapers talk of re-sloping, which means moving soil from one area to another, and possibly removing it entirely.

Most times, when re-sloping, it’s for cosmetic reasons, so the shape of your yard works with your design. However, most often, some element of irrigation is involved with landscaping, which must be considered. Re-sloping costs depend on yard size, any damage, and the kind of soil on your property. The backyard leveling price for a 1,000 sq. ft. area ranges from $700 to $1,700, with an average of around $1,300.

Costs can vary depending on the amount of topsoil required, and the more that has to be shipped, the higher the cost.

tree on backyard

Is it Possible to Level a Backyard?

Lawn leveling may prevent major problems, although it isn’t the most glamorous of tasks. It is possible to level a backyard so long as you ensure no water runs toward your home’s foundations. Because of the water issues, you need to understand what’s involved and why you may need to carry out this task. (Find the Best Yard Trimmer)

Importance of Yard Leveling

If searching for how to level a yard, you know it’s key to keep your lawn and garden looking appealing. A level yard offers stability to your landscape and avoids home damage.

Your lawn needs to slope away from your home gradually; thus, excess water will drain away from your house foundations. Incorrect leveling can also cause garden damage to trees and areas of landscaping. You can end up with standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Do I Have Grading Issues?

Before you begin, it’s good to know if you have an issue; you can then determine your action plan. Standing water is a clear sign, yet you can carry out a more precise measuring of your landscape and grading slope. All you need are a few tools:

  • Hammer
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Two 3 ft. long stakes
  • Twine or string (100 ft plus)

The ground around your home should slope 1/4-inch per foot downward away from your home. You’ll discover this is around 2 ft. per 100 ft, and if your garden measures this, your home will be 2 feet higher than the bottom of your garden.

  1. To measure the slope, take a 3 ft. stake.
  2. Drive it 1 ft. deep in the dirt by your home.
  3. Measure 100 ft from your home.
  4. Drive the second stake into the soil.
  5. Take the twin and fasten them at ground level on the stake by your home.
  6. On the second stake, fasten the twine and ensure it’s level using the carpenter’s level.
  7. Measure from the ground on this stake to the string.

If it measures a drop of 3 inches to 2 feet, you can do the leveling yourself. If the is more or your slope runs toward your home, you need the help of professionals.

How Do You Level an Uneven Backyard?

Here are the Steps needed to level your yard.

Yard Leveling Tools & Equipment

  • Lawn Mower
  • Shovel
  • Lawn roller
  • Sand and Topsoil
  • Compost
  • Lawn Leveling rake
  • Thatch rake (can use a dethatching machine)
  • Plastic leaf rake
  • Large push broom
  • String level
  • Lawn Edger
  • Wheelbarrow

Steps for How to Level a Yard

Step 1: Mow the Lawn

Yard leveling begins with mowing your lawn. Make sure to cut it short but not too short where the blade stems are visible, or your grass may dry out.

Step 2: Dethatch the Lawn

Prepare the lawn for grading by checking grass for thatch. Thatch is a mix of living, and dead plant material on the grass stems where it meets the soil. Thatch thicker than 1/4 to 1/2 inch stops the grass from getting water and air. Over 1/2-inch, then dethatch.

You can use a thatch rake on small lawns, and on larger lawns, use a dethatching machine.

Step 3: Dig up grass in sunken areas

Check your yard for divots or low spots deeper than 2-3 inches.

Remove grass from these by putting the shovel blade on the outer edge of a low spot. Drive it in the soil for 2 inches and ensure you are under the roots of the grass. Remove the sod by lifting the grass with the shovel.

Step 4: Make Soil Mix:

Here, you need to make your top-dressing mix. Go around and fill any area beneath sunken grass in the lawn.

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

The soil and compost give nutrients, and the sand prevents it from being compacted too much.

Step 5: Fill Sunken Areas with Soil

Any holes you made in Step 3 can now be filled with your mix. Once you do this, place your grass back on top, or you can add seed if needed.

Step 6: Level the Lawn

In this stage, and after you have filled all the holes, use a shovel to cover all your lawn with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of this mix.

Make sure the layer is thin because more than 1/2 inch, and you may choke your grass if you add too much. You can use a lawn roller to help compact the soil into the grass.

Step 7: Water the Area

You can now run sprinklers to water your lawn. This helps the soil mix or seed settle on your grass and fill air pockets.

Step 8: Reapply Soil Mix

You can find you need another dose of your soil mix to level your yard.

Apply a second layer by repeating Steps 5 and 6 when you see new grass starting to grow. You can also do this if you can’t see any soil mix from layer one.

Yard Leveling Tips

The best time to level your yard is in the dry season. You can get soil erosion in the rainy season.

Proper backfill at your foundation is vital. If soil is too close to your wall cladding, there is a risk of termites entering your home.

Any soil removed from your lawn can be used for grading or other landscaping tasks. You will soon be on your regular lawn care with mowing after a couple of weeks in your new yard area.

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How to Level Your Backyard

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