There’s no denying that a backyard filled with flat and level ground is a lot more attractive compared with one that is bumpy and uneven. A levelled ground is a lot easier to use and maintain. With uneven ground, any furniture in your backyard will sit at and angle and things will be a lot more difficult when cutting your grass.
It is more than possible to hire a professional landscaping company to fix this problem however, it is also possible to do it yourself which will save you money and maybe make the job quicker.
Paying a landscaper to fix any uneven ground could set you back by $1000 to $2000 depending on the size of your backyard. However, if you choose to do it all yourself, you can split the cost in half with the job only costing around $500 even if you have to purchase or hire any equipment. Although, if you make use of DIY tools, it is possible to level your backyard for only $100.
Also, as well as being a great way to save money, other considerations are the time the job will take and the level of difficulty involved. Overall, this job will be considered as manual work however, for any relatively fit person, levelling your backyard shouldn’t be too strenuous.
In regards to time, this depends on 3 factors; the size of your backyard, the amount of levelling that needs to be done and your own pace. Although, if you plan to level an average of 300 to 400 square feet of ground each day, the overall job will only take a couple of days for the majority of people.
Before you find out how to level your backyard, it’s important to know what levelling actually means as well as ‘grading’ which is often thought to be the same but both are different. ‘Grading’ is when you add a slope to your backyard away from the foundation of your home.
This allows for excess water to be drained away. This also prevents any waterlogging on your backyard after heavy rainfall. On the other hand, ‘levelling’ is more so the opposite and, instead of creating a slope, you level the ground so that it’s flat. The primary advantage of this is your garden will look considerably more attractive, levelling your backyard helps prevent an outburst of weeds and issues with your lawnmower.
So now, how do you level your backyard?
Well firstly, you are going to want to make sure you have all the necessary equipment. If you happen to have any heavy-duty machinery such as a roller of a Bobcat then those are perfect but, if you don’t, don’t worry as there are other options.
The equipment you will need includes; a tiller, a landscaping rake, a lawnmower, a flathead shovel, 4 stakes, a ball of string, a carpenter’s level/bricklayer’s level/string level, a lawn roller, a wheelbarrow and some topsoil or mulch.
With your required equipment ready, you will need to work out how much of your backyard needs to be levelled. You can do it easily by simply looking at the ground and trying to spot any lumps or bumps. You will also want to work out if these are in one spot of the ground or spread around the whole of your backyard.
This task will save digging up your entire lawn unnecessarily or digging up one section and later finding out that it would be better to deal with the whole area. What you want to do first is get your lawnmower and mow your lawn. Trimming
the grass makes it easier for you to walk around and use your feet to check for any bumps or grooves in the ground.
If you come across sections of your backyard where there is only an inch or less that is lower than the rest, you don’t need to dig it up. Instead, use your topsoil to level out the ground and then use your shovel to flatten down the topsoil and stop any bumps forming.
When your topsoil is placed, use the reverse side of your landscaping rake or your lawn roller to make it level and then you can compact the soil by adding some water – more soil can be added if necessary.
However, it may be possible that grooves are deeper than 1 inch. If this is the case, you will have to remove the old soil and get ready to re-turf the area.
To do this, use your flathead shovel to remove the turf by cutting small squares which are roughly 2 feet on all sides and between 2 to 2.5 inches deep. To extract the square, simply slide the shovel underneath the area and use it to cut away underneath.
Then you can use your shovel to lift the soil out. If the soil is coming out easier than expected, you can create larger squares which will ultimately save you time and effort.
When you have de-turfed a section of your lawn, you will want to add your topsoil. When doing this, make sure the soil that you’ve added is equal in height to the surrounding lawn.
As mentioned, you then use your rake or roller to flatten out the area and, if you wish, you can add some lawn seed and also water to compact the soil. If dealing with larger parts of your backyard, you will likely have to sort out a lot of lumps, bumps and grooves in order to flatten the area.
An easy way of dealing with this is to transfer any dirt from the raised areas of your backyard into these areas which will help level it out.
Next, you want to ensure that the ground is manageable and softened. This will save you a lot of time – especially if you are working with a larger area.
To do this, use a tiller. The tiller will break up the first 3 to 4 inches of soil which softens it making it a lot easier to work with. If you wish to raise the level of your backyard, you should put between 1 to 2 inches of topsoil onto the tilled ground before going through and tilling it again.
For the next step, you’re going to be using the 4 stakes previously mentioned. Take the stakes and place them into the 4 corners of the ground you are trying to level.
Use the ball of string and tie it around the 4 stakes to create a square or rectangle shape. Then, fix your line level to the string and measure every 3 to 5 feet to work out which areas of your backyard need to be raised or lowered.
Then, flatten the soil. As mentioned previously, you can do this with your roller or landscaping rake. While doing this, make sure you check your level every now and again to ensure your lawn is consistently flat in all areas.
The final step is to lay fresh sod or seed to help the soil grow. Whichever option you choose, be sure to frequently water the area. Both methods have their benefits. For example, laying sod is quick and easy and will have your lawn looking better
almost instantly. On the other hand, sod can be very expensive making seeds a cheaper option. However, it may take weeks before the grass has grown
In conclusion, at first, levelling your backyard on your own may seem like a scary task however the benefits of improved drainage, looks and most importantly, the less money that will be spent will surely outway your fear.
Also, of course, when your friends and family see what a great job you’ve done, perhaps you’ll get the chance to do some more!