Uneven lawns are an eyesore for many people, can sometimes be unsafe, and can make a lawn area unsuitable for any sort of activity such as backyard sports or even just being able to set up tables or chairs so we can enjoy our lawns and gardens, and all the fresh air of being outdoors. Whatever the reason for wanting to level our lawn areas and no matter how deep the indentations of the lawn are, most problems of uneven lawns can usually be easily solved.
Repairing Shallow Lawn Indentations
Dips or indentations in lawns of an inch or two of depth are easily solved by filling in the cavity with soil from elsewhere on the property. A long straight piece of timber or other suitable material is then used to scrape over the applied soil to try and get the soil as even as possible with the rest of the surrounding turf.
The only real caution we have here is to be sure not to overfill any indentations in the lawn, which would reverse the problem and give us a lawn which is now too high in that same place. So it’s always best to err on the side of being careful and apply a little less soil rather than more.
Also, we wouldn’t want to apply too much soil on top of any lawn area at once, as this may possibly cause the lawn to be damaged underneath the top dressing instead of allowing that existing lawn to grow through it so as to repair the unevenness.
It’s always best to use soil from the same property to fill in lawn indentations, or to otherwise use a fairly inert lawn soil or sandy loam for the task.
Once the top dress soil has been applied and levelled, we then water it in and try to stay off the recovering area until the lawn has grown through the top dressing and the area has fully recovered. After watering has been completed, we should still be able to see some green leaf from the grass below, which will ensure the greatest chances of full and speedy lawn recovery.
If we find that the lawn is still uneven after this repair and after the lawn has fully grown over the top dress, then we repeat the previous steps to get the desired result we want. It is better to do light coatings of top dressing to even out lawns rather than a single thick coating of soil.
Leveling Deep Lawn Indentations
Repairing deep lawn indentations will mean that the existing lawn will most likely not survive having so much soil put on top of it, such as several inches in depth, or even a foot or two of depth. We then need to decide a course of action that we find is best suitable for us, and for the best chances of recovery for the affected lawn area.
The easiest option is to just fill in the large indentation with the required amount of soil, compact that soil, and thoroughly water it to also aid in compaction and the beginning of recovery.
With a Saint Augustine lawn, or any other warm season lawn type such as Bermuda or Zoysia, the surrounding lawn can then be left to spread over the affected area to restore the lawn. Or if we are growing a cool season lawn, then re-seeding the lawn area will be the best option for lawn recovery. The old turf that was covered over with soil will eventually just rot away and feed the soil.
The second option to deal with large lawn indentations is to remove the lawn from the area before the soil top dress is applied. This can usually be done with a spade by digging small pieces of sod at a time to a reasonable depth to also gather enough roots of the lawn so recovery will be easiest and quickest.
Whatever size pieces of sod is easiest to remove for the individual will be fine. Sometime a foot-wide section can a good size to cut and then 2-3 feet in length to remove small sections of the lawn. Smaller turf pieces than this will also work.
Once the desired lawn has been removed and set aside, we then fill in the area with soil, compact it, level it, and water it, and then return the removed sod back to where it was taken from, but now at the new height so as to even the lawn.
Any gaps between or slight unevenness in the sod pieces after they have been relaid should be filled in with soil to try to level the lawn area as best as possible at this time. There should be no air pockets between the pieces of sod either, gaps or air pockets should be filled with soil.
Just be sure not to level the affected area with soil that it becomes even with the surrounding turf. We need to leave enough depth so that when the removed sod is returned, the lawn will only then become even.
We then stay off the repaired lawn area, and ensure adequate watering until it has fully recovered.
Be aware also that this method will likely not produce a fully even lawn after recovery, as it can be too imprecise to level small pieces of sod with surrounding lawn. We should expect a little unevenness after lawn repair and to then lightly top dress the lawn as necessary to make the lawn level to our preferred result.
We should also take note not to add any soil type which is too different to what the lawn is already growing in. An added soil that is too rich may make that lawn area become too green when compared to the rest of the surrounding turf. And likewise if we added a very poor soil onto the affected turf area then we could expect that part of the lawn to also suffer worse health than the rest of the lawn, once again making for an unusual looking lawn. That’s why it’s always best to try to use the same soil from the same property where the lawn is being grown.