Garden AdviceHow to Get Rid of Moles in the Garden
Remember that you may not immediately achieve the desired result. Repeat the process in approximately one month.
Is your lawn full of bumps, lumps and indentations? Then you probably get quite frustrated every time you need to cut the grass. We can also only imagine the nightmare of dodging low spots and protruding mounds when playing ball with your kids, in between constant mind-the-bump warnings. It’s not fun, is it?
Well then, this post is for you! We continue our lawn maintenance series with an expert guide on how to level a lawn. You’ll learn about the different methods of evening out your grassed plot, depending on the extent of the issue.
A lush and perfectly level front lawn boosts your property’s curb appeal. The same goes for your back yard’s grassed area. A well-maintained, healthy-looking garden that is free of depressions, bare patches, and lumps helps you sustain the value of your property.
Check out all the other benefits of having a level garden, as well as the problems you can experience with a bumpy lawn.
The list of reasons for lumps and indentations in a lawn can be quite a read, so we’ll cover the most common ones below. Here’s why you may be dealing with an uneven lawn:
Spring is the recommended time of the year to consider levelling the lawn and performing other turf repair tasks. Before the growing season starts, new grass seeds (if you need to overseed in areas) will have the best chance to root and establish.
Also, sufficient moisture is required for any added soil to settle and springtime provides this aspect, too. Still, overly wet weather can sometimes be a problem in the early months of the year, so choose a dry spell to complete the remedial job.
In order to decide on the best way to level a lawn, be it topdressing, lifting and refilling, or re-grading, you first need to, determine the extent of the issue and the possible root-cause behind the bumps and low spots on your turfed area.
In other words, it will be a waste of time to start filling in holes, while leaving drainage problems unaddressed.
So, you’ll need to fix things first and, in some cases, eliminate the reasons, whether it’s pruning exposed tree roots, applying an anti-pest product or digging out buried items and stones before moving on to the actual lawn levelling task.
Also, it’s a good idea to water the lawn a few days ahead of the job, if necessary, to ensure that you’ll have an easy time making the amendments. The soil needs to be workable, which means it shouldn’t be too dry or overly wet.
The rule of thumb is to level the lawn by using the topdressing method only if you’re dealing with slight indentations, which are no deeper than 2-3cm. This means that you can’t fix animal holes or more significant depressions by adding a topdressing mix.
Some folks rush and distribute pure sand over the low-lying grassed area in the hope that this will do the job. But adding sand alone can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, it can contribute to further drainage issues, especially if the soil is on the clay side. Besides, sand dries out quickly in the hot summer months and can cause drought-like damage to the grass.
Well, the best approach is to use a topdressing mix that contains sand and soil of similar properties or such that match those of the existing ground. You can also add a bit of compost if you need to boost the nutrient composition of the mix and, subsequently, that of the soil itself.
What proportions of sand and earth (and possibly compost) you need to blend will depend on what type of soil you have and what you want to achieve. Sand helps with drainage when mixed with topsoil and some organic matter. But if your garden is covered in rich loam, then adding some excess soil from a nearby flowerbed will do.
The process is quite straightforward. Just follow the steps below:
You will need a shovel, a levelling rake, a wheelbarrow and a topdressing mix.
Trim the turf by using the lawnmower on its lowest setting and dethatch the grass if necessary.
Mix in the topdressing material of your choice in the wheelbarrow and, using the shovel, sprinkle it over where it’s needed.
Use the levelling rake and evenly distribute the mix (about a ½-inch layer), making sure that you don’t stifle the grass.
If the grass is growing thin at this stage, you can overseed and fertilise lightly.
Water if the forecast is for dry weather in the coming days.
Holes, tunnels, and burrows often spoil a once perfectly even turfed area. You can fill these with topsoil and then overseed straight after without much hassle. You can, of course, also use up the mound of earth next to the hole (dug out by the animal) and mix it in with the topsoil. The grass will grow in no time, leaving you with a great-looking and level lawn.
Ants mounds. Miniature mounds, all over your lawn, can be the doing of colonies of tireless ants. We don’t recommend just disturbing their homes unless you deal with the insects, first. You can use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth, which is not toxic and won’t damage the surrounding grass, but will kill the ants. Once done, level out the pile of earth and distribute it evenly over the grassed surface.
Earthworm castings. Worms that live in the soil feed on plant matter and earth minerals. They excrete what they’ve ingested in the form of castings, which are full of nutrients. You can safely flatten these castings and spread the earth evenly with a rake onto as large an area as possible. You see, the concentrated nutrients in the earthworm castings may burn the grass if distributed only over the immediate spot.
Deeper lawn ruts and uneven spots (more than 2-3 cm deep) can be fixed by the lift-and-refill method. Or in other words, the surface depression can be evened out by carefully cutting out and lifting the piece of “green carpet” over the indentation and sweeping some topsoil underneath. Be careful not to damage the roots too much when cutting and removing the low-lying sod. Place the turf back, fertilise lightly, if need be, and water.
As you can see, with a bit of patience and effort, you can restore the former glory of your lawn.
Here are some final tips and takeaways:
Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any tips on how to level a lawn?Please, feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!
Header image source: Deposit Photos / Author: V.Sonnek.seznam.cz