What Is The Best Way To Level An Uneven Garden?

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 07:46 pm

If you want to level your garden, there are several methods that can be easily implemented and do not require heavy equipment. The tips presented here will help you with this project.

How to make your lawn LEVEL and Flat – Beginners Guide to lawn levelling

Determine the height difference


Before you can level the area, you need to determine and visualize the height difference that will occur. This is especially true for garden soils and lawns that are very uneven and need to be completely leveled. The height difference can be found out with the following tools:

  • Wooden posts for each corner point of the area
  • string
  • Spirit level
  • plumb line
  • Folding rule or tape measure

What Is The Best Way To Level An Uneven Garden?


It won’t hurt to have an additional pen and paper or your smartphone available when you measure the height. This way, you can make notes, which will make leveling easier. Next, proceed as follows:

  • Stake out area with wooden posts
  • Stretch cords between the posts
  • align cords with spirit level
  • hang the plumb line on the string
  • choose the highest point for it
  • note the distance from the string to the ground
  • now select the lowest point
  • note distance from cord to ground
  • select a value between the points
  • this represents the desired final height of the surface


Straighten the floor: 5 tips


Prepare the area


While you rarely need to touch up anything before straightening lawns, garden soils are a different case. Soils can contain numerous obstacles that make it impossible to straighten the area. Especially if you need to pull off the surface, various materials and utensils pose a problem. For this reason, remove all unnecessary obstacles:

  • Stones of any size
  • plant parts such as roots or branches
  • Weeds
  • Furniture
  • Litter
  • Tools
  • Building materials
  • Bulky waste


Tip: When preparing, be sure to consider site-faithful plants that are difficult to transplant. Either relocate them as carefully as possible or work around the plant.

Level out holes


Uneven areas need to be leveled to level the soil in your garden. If you’re lucky, making the area as level as possible in this way will be perfectly sufficient. By unevenness, we mainly mean holes that have appeared over the years due to permanent stress. If the rest of the surface is straight, you do not need to use any other methods. For this reason, this tip is mainly suitable as a small “beauty treatment” for the floors:

  • Fill holes with new material
  • compact by hand
  • fill in further material
  • compact again
  • repeat the steps until the desired height is reached
  • use garden soil for filling
  • enrich with quartz sand or gravel
  • protect against compaction
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Note: The ideal time to straighten soil and lawns is in the spring from April to early June. Choose a day when the soil is not frozen or too wet to make the job easier.

Redistribute excavated earth


If you are not dealing with holes, but numerous, uneven spots, you should restructure the entire top layer of soil. This will save you the time-consuming task of straightening individual spots and will allow you to tackle the entire area, which is especially advisable for small plots of land. Likewise, this tip can be used for garden soils that are clearly too high or for slopes that need to be adjusted. You will need the following utensils:

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • vibrating plate
  • working gloves
  • sturdy shoes
  • straight edge


If the soils in your region are stony, you should also have a pickaxe available. You can rent vibratory plates from hardware stores for daily amounts ranging from 25 euros to 50 euros. Once you have all the utensils available, proceed as follows:

  1. Remove turf completely, if available
  2. Then dispose of the turf
  3. remove the surface to the desired depth
  4. use spade and shovel for this
  5. mix the excavated earth thoroughly
  6. optionally use topsoil
  7. excavated soil can be sieved beforehand
  8. spread a layer of excavated soil on the surface
  9. compact
  10. repeat until desired height is reached
  11. remove loose excess with a straightedge
  12. optional: incorporate drainage material (quartz sand, gravel)
  13. roll


If you need to level only small unevenness, you can use a roller. With this, you can thoroughly level the floor. For this purpose, choose a hand roller with a weight of at least 50 kilograms. It does not matter whether it is filled with sand or water. Hand rollers can be rented for about 15 euros per day.

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Proceed as follows:

Remove and dispose of turf
Rake the area thoroughly
Guide roller in lanes over area
take curves as tight as possible
use roller until ground is level

Use foundation
Another way to make the garden floor a flat surface is to use a foundation. If you do not want to plant the garden, but use it for garden furniture, barbecue or place potted plants, this method is excellent. In most cases, it is enough to pour a slab foundation or lay concrete slabs. Even a garden shed can be placed on them. Be guided by the staked area in terms of dimensions.

Leveling the lawn: 5 tips


Fill small irregularities


This method is somewhat reminiscent of leveling the holes in a garden soil. Nevertheless, it is not applied in the same way, because the lawn is not compacted after filling. The small bumps still have grasses that continue to grow. For this reason, the freshly filled substrate should not be compacted. Choose fresh topsoil for filling, enriched with a little quartz sand. Finally, water well and after a few weeks the area will be completely dense again and ready for foot traffic. It is not necessary to reseed.

Repairing elevations


If the affected areas are no longer small and the entire surface is uneven, you should completely restructure it. Especially for leveling large lawns, this method is ideal.

All you need for this is the right equipment:

  • Lawn mower
  • Scarifier
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Work gloves


If your lawn area is very large, a helping hand is recommended. The method is quite strenuous, as you will be digging up the majority of the area. The following points explain the process:

  • mow the lawn
  • then scarify
  • if necessary: remove and dispose of old sod in certain places
  • subsequently remove unevenness
  • loosen compaction
  • optional: dig up the entire lawn
  • let the lawn rest for a few days
  • then sprinkle the lawn with a layer of topsoil
  • let it rest again
  • level with roller or treads
  • finally fertilize thoroughly


Use footboards


Footboards are another tip for straightening your lawn. The principle works the same as with the roller mentioned earlier, only you are the weight yourself. Of course, you could use the roller in the same way for the lawn, but sometimes the boards are quite enough. Especially for smaller lawns, this variant is recommended. To do this, you put on the boards, fix them and run in straight paths over the entire lawn. This continues until the area is straightened.

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Mend individual spots


More rarely, it may happen that a single piece of the lawn is uneven. In this case, you need to repair the corresponding spots, which is done with the help of a lawn edger:

Locate unevenness

  • cut the spot with a lawn edger in one X
  • start from the center of the unevenness
  • do not separate the resulting pieces from the rest of the lawn
  • fold the lawn pieces outwards
  • now reveal the ground
  • loosen thoroughly
  • lift off too much soil
  • surface must be straight
  • to do this, press on the soil with some force
  • fold back pieces of turf
  • water if necessary


Very important: lawn seeding


One of the most important points after leveling the lawn is sowing new lawn seeds. This will repair bare spots that occurred during the leveling process. In most cases, it is enough to sprinkle the affected areas with seeds in a large area and moisten it. After a few weeks, the first grasses will appear and the lawn will close over time. Do not stress the affected areas over the growing season.

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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