Top Dressing Your Lawn To Level It
You can apply top-dressing to your lawn every year.
This allows you to improve your soil, help your grass grow thicker and healthier, and level your turf all at the same time.
Early fall or early spring is usually the best time of year to do this.
Preparing Your Lawn
Make sure that you cut your grass very short before you top-dress. Shorter grass lets you more easily see and identify lumpy areas, and it makes it easier to work your soil, compost or sand evenly over your yard.
Next, use an iron rake, thatch rake or power rake to get rid of thatch.
Thatch is a layer of plant matter stuck to the top of the soil. It can block out the benefits of water and air from getting into the soil. This adversely affects the health of your grass.
If you have a big yard, consider renting a dethatcher for a few hours. Your back and arms will thank you. Home Depot does 4 hour rentals which is plenty of time to do most yards.
Spread Top-dressing on Your Lawn
Evenly spread a layer of topsoil across your lawn. Often youll bring the material to your lawn in a wheelbarrow, dump it in piles, and then you can come back with a rake to spread the material out from those piles.
There are a few different materials you can use to top-dress and level your yard. These include:
- Topsoil or Loam
- 50/50 Mix of Compost and Loam
- Screened Compost
How To Level A Bumpy Lawn
Over the years my lawn became progressively bumpier, to the point where scalping the lawn while mowing was a common occurrence, and our two year old would frequently trip when running over bumps or low spots. I began doing research on lawn leveling and after watching a few You Tube videos on professional lawn leveling, I was officially obsessed. This article will outline the results of my research, my results to date, and my plans going forward. Im not planning on getting all the way to putting green standards, but the principles hold true no matter how serious you are. Keeping your lawn level is an ongoing process, but with some simple steps its really quite easy and can make a huge difference to the quality of your lawn.
Why is it Important to Have a Level Lawn?
A smooth, even lawn, without bumps or depressions, is important as it provides a much more usable surface to walk on. Any activity will be made safer and more enjoyable from soccer, croquet, bocce ball to just running around. For kids and adults alike.
What Causes a Lawn to be Bumpy?
A sprinkler system is a common culprit for erosion since the water lines are prone to damage and the whole system requires regular maintenance. To investigate, check that the spray heads and rotors are working correctly and popping up to their full height, that the nozzles are not clogged or damaged, and that the heads are not leaking.
Lawn Leveling Equipment
Steps to Leveling your Lawn
How To Repair An Uneven Lawn
- Summary: The lift and fill method of repairing uneven lawns is for repairing deep depressions. The lawn in the affected area is cut into a strip shape
- Matching search results: Putting large amounts of soil on top of grass may kill the lawn in the area treated. Or, if it does repair, a layering effect may occur which can create a layer of new lawn and thatch on top of a soil filling which then sits on top of the dead
Read Also: How To Find Cheap Patio Furniture
What Causes A Bumpy Lawn
Before you start levelling your lawn, its important to understand what caused the exisiting grass to become uneven in the first place.
Once you know the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again. If you find an issue such as a leaky pipe or a grub infestation, then make sure to deal with this before you fix the lawn. If you dont, the bumps and low areas are very likely to reappear.
Here are some of the most common causes of a bumpy and uneven lawn.
Start With A Butch Cut
Right now or in early spring is a good time to do this, because you have to give the grass a butch cut with the mower.
“Scalp the lawn as low as you can and then you can see all the bumps,” Minner says. “And it’s easier to spread the materials and drag them around and do leveling. When the grass is 2 1/2 inches tall, you can’t drag the half inch of material around because it just gets stuck down there in the grass.”
If you have access to a drag implement that can be hooked up behind a lawn tractor, try using it as an easy way to pull the material off the high spots and drop it in the low spots. Minner says this is also a good time to aerify the soil, and drag the plugs around, too.
One thing you do not want to do is try to flatten the yard with a heavy roller. It will take care of some of the roughness, but it also damages the turf by compacting the soil, which is what you’re trying to avoid.
You May Like: Ice Skating Rink In Backyard
How Bad Is My Bumpy Lawn
What homeowners describe as a bumpy lawn often differs drastically. There are certainly varying degrees of how bad the problem really is, which will make a difference in how easy it is to remedy. A lawn that only has a few localized bumpy areas may be easier to fix than a lawn that is moderately bumpy throughout. Or, even worse, your lawn may be extremely bumpy throughout.
An assessment of the lawn as a whole, looking at where the bumps are occurring, may also help answer the question why is my lawn so bumpy? This is important as getting to the root of the problem will help you best address it.
Smoothing Out A Bumpy Yard
We need to grade and smooth our lawn in the front of our property. It’s extremely rough, and I don’t like the way my teeth rattle while I’m mowing.
Older, established lawns like ours become rough and uneven over time, because the turfgrass compacts and thins. Freezing and thawing of the ground from season to season lifts up or “heaves” the soil, also making the surface bumpy. Animals digging through the lawn can also cause problems.
Turf specialist Dave Minner says the re-establishment of a healthy, thick grass will help alleviate this problem. But if the thought of ripping up the yard and planting a new lawn sounds daunting, you can build it up gradually by spreading a half-inch of top dressing each year.
“You could go out and top dress with compost, with sand and soil, with sand and compost, any of that combination, and you just basically keep filling it,” Minner says. “Don’t bury the grass completely, but about a half-inch is about the most you’d want to put on at a single time and the grass will grow right up through it.”
Read Also: Screen Kits For Gazebos
Do Not Roll With A Heavy Roller
Rough, bumpy lawns should not be rolled with a heavy roller. While rolling the lawn will remove some of the roughness, it also damages the turf by compacting the soil. Compacted soil conditions reduce turfgrass vigor and may eventually lead to a thinner lawn.
Rough, bumpy lawns are annoying. Breaking down some of the bumps by power raking and developing a thick, healthy turf should help alleviate this problem. Destruction of the earthworms is not feasible or advisable.
The Best Way To Repair A Lumpy Lawn That Has A Few Bumps
It is actually quite simple to fix lumpy grass issues and prevent them from reoccurring if you have a green thick and healthy lawn. A comprehensive lawn care program will help do this for you, make sure that it includes:
- high-end nutrition components that thicken and fortify your grass plants,
- regular aeration to loosen the soil and lessen heaving,
- overseeeding to thicken the lawn and create a stronger more pest-resistant lawns,
- and proactive insect control for Grubs and Chinch bugs.
Spring is the best AND worst time for people worried about how to fix a lumpy lawn. The ground is soft and the grass grows quickly to cover any repairs, but snowmelt-saturated soil plus traffic on your lawn add up to new bumps. You can read more in our April lawn care experts checklist. There are tips to avoiding creating ruts from lawn mower wheels when you mow the lawn in our lawn cutting tips section as well.
Recommended Reading: How To Build A Screened In Patio
Why Is The Lawn Bumpy
Some reasons why your lawn may be bumpy
The ground is not level
There is too much thatch buildup
The grass is mowed too short
The soil is compacted
One reason your lawn may be bumpy is because the ground is not level. This can happen over time as the soil settles. To fix this, you will need to re-level the ground. You can do this by renting a sod cutter and removing the existing sod. Then, use a garden rake to level out the ground. Be sure to remove any rocks or debris that you find. Once the ground is level, you can re-sod the lawn.
Another reason your lawn may be bumpy is because the soil is too compacted. This happens when the ground is constantly wet or if there is too much foot traffic on the lawn. To fix this, you will need to aerate the soil.
Wild or domestic animals
Still another reason your lawn may be bumpy is because of animal traffic. If you have wild animals, such as deer, that walk through your lawn, this can create trench-like footprints. To fix this, you will need to fill in the footprints with topsoil and then seed the area.
Mowing too short
One final reason your lawn may be bumpy is because you are mowing it too short. When the grass is mowed too short, it can become scalped. This will cause the ground to become uneven and create a rutted appearance. To fix this, you will need to raise the blade on your lawn mower.
See more :
Level The Problem Areas With Topsoil
Once youve figured out what was causing the problem, its time to fix it. Start by placing new topsoil in any depressions or the hole left from removing a raised bump. If theres already grass underneath, try to keep the topsoil thin so that it will grow through.
After you have the topsoil in place, use a lawn leveling rake to go over it and break up any clumps or remove chunks of rock. Try to get it as close to even as possible, employing a level if necessary to smaller spots.
Also Check: Cedar Columns For Front Porch
Can You Topsoil Over Grass
Yes, you can temporarily disguise bald patches in your lawn by laying new turf on top of it. The new turf will probably root in to it in the short term, but it wont last. Your new lawn will look like your old one, and you will have wasted a lot of time and money. If you want to get rid of a bald patch, the best way to do it is to cut it off.
You can do this by cutting the patch off with a knife, scissors, or even a pair of pliers. If you dont have any of these tools, just use a garden shears or a lawn mower. Just make sure that you cut off all the hair and not just the top layer of hair. This will make it easier for the grass to grow back.
What Causes Bumps To Form On A Lawn
Before deciding how to tackle your uneven lawn, you first need to establish the cause, or at least rule out a few. Some reasons for bumps can be easily remedied while others are a little trickier.
So, it pays to save some time and effort further down and line by asking yourself first:
What is causing bumps in my lawn?
Bumps in your lawn can appear for many different reasons.
Most of the time, a lawn becomes uneven over time if it has been exposed to too much traffic trauma in wet conditions when the soil is soft.
Bicycles, lawn furniture, football, pets and even the actual act of mowing, can all result in lumps and bumps if the lawn is subjected too often when it is vulnerable.
Other things that can result in a bumpy lawn include:
- Tree roots growing under the lawn.
- Freezing and thawing patterns, particularly in soil with clay.
- Historical land use.
- Different grass and weed species clumping together.
- Dead or thin patches of grass that get eroded.
- Digging creatures like moles or voles.
Don’t Miss: How Much For A Stone Patio
Read On And Learn A Few Things That You Can Do To Fix Your Bumpy Lawn Make It Lusher And Fuller Again
How To Fix A Bumpy Lawn: Improve Your Bumpy Lawn
Is your lawn bumpy and uneven? Do you spend hours mowing and edging only to have it look terrible again the next week? Dont worry, youre not alone. Many people have trouble getting their lawns to look smooth and even. But with a few simple tricks, you can fix a bumpy lawn in no time. Keep reading for instructions on how to fix a bumpy lawn looking perfect!
You May Like: How To Remove Sliding Screen Door From Patio Door
How Can I Fix A Bumpy Lawn
Fixing your lawn might take some work, but with a little effort your lawn will be back in shape in no time. For depressions less than an inch deep, gradually sprinkle them with top soil . If depressions that are an inch deep or more, remove the top layer of soil to correct the sinking and fill it back with new, healthy soil. Add a little extra to allow for some settling. Be sure to remove any pests or objects that are causing the damage prior to any repairs.
Keep your lawn smooth by:
Easy Ways To Fix A Bumpy Lawn
Having a bumpy yard is a problem that faces most homeowners. A bumpy yard can be caused by a lot of different factors like tree roots, erosion, ruts caused by lawnmowers or bicycles. Whatever the reason for a bumpy yard, there are several simple and easy ways to fix it.
Best of all, fixing a bumpy yard doesnt have to be expensive. It will require some work though.
Also Check: How To Lay Patio Blocks
Filling Holes With Soil
Holes created by animals can be filled with new topsoil and packed to create a flat area. Once done, youll need to over-seed the area. The approach can also be used in dealing with deep dents in lawn which are covered with grass. Here are the steps
When Is The Best Time To Water My Lawn
Take it from the lawn experts at LawnSavers, the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning. The 2nd best time is RIGHT NOW! Watering in the morning is best because this allows the water to soak deep into the soil and allows the leaves of the grass plant to dry before the water evaporates as it gets warmer in the day. If you cant water in the morning, evenings are OK, just try to do it earlier! .
Read Also: Who Sells Outdoor Patio Furniture