Do you have a bumpy lawn full? Does water pool around your foundation when it rains? Uneven yards increase the risk of water damage and can be unsafe for your family. The best way to get the proper drainage is to level the uneven ground around your home. Here are the basics of how to level a yard. We also look at how much it costs to level your yard, explain why you might need to level your yard, and offer tips if you decide to do it yourself.
How Do I Level My Yard?
There are a few steps you can follow to level a yard:
- Determine the desired slope: Determine the slope you want for your yard by considering factors such as drainage, the location of your home, and the appearance you want to achieve.
- Measure the slope: Use a level or a laser level to measure the slope of your yard and identify areas that need to be leveled.
- Remove any existing vegetation: Use a shovel or sod cutter to remove any existing grass or plants from the area you want to level.
- Mark the boundaries: Use stakes and string to mark the boundaries of the area you want to level.
- Excavate the soil: Use a shovel or an excavator to remove excess soil from high areas and fill in low areas.
- Compact the soil: Use a lawn roller, hand tamper, or a plate compactor to compact the soil in the area you are leveling.
- Add topsoil: If necessary, add a layer of topsoil to help level the surface and promote healthy grass growth. Small yards will need at least a few cubic yards of topsoil, while large ones may need ten or more.
- Replant grass or other vegetation: Once the soil is level and compacted, you can plant grass in the entire yard.
Keep in mind that leveling a yard can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, and it may be more efficient to hire a professional landscaper if you don’t have the necessary equipment or experience.
How Much Does It Cost To Level a Yard?
The average cost to level a yard is between $800 and $1,200. However, the actual cost to level a yard will depend on several factors. These include the size of the yard, the extent of the grading work needed, the type of equipment required, and the labor costs.
Here are some rough estimates based on a few different scenarios:
- If you are leveling a small yard (e.g., less than 1,000 square feet) and the work is relatively straightforward, you can expect to pay around $500-$1,000 for the job.
- If you are leveling a larger yard (e.g., 1,000-2,000 square feet) and the work is more complex, you can expect to pay around $1,500-$2,500 for the job.
- If you are leveling a very large yard (e.g., more than 2,000 square feet) or if the work involves a lot of excavation or other specialized tasks, you can expect to pay $2,500 or more for the job.
You can save on labor costs if you decide to level your yard yourself. That said, doing it yourself will take a lot of time and effort and you will still need more topsoil. At the very least, you will need a wooden 2×4 or any long, straight item to level the soil. Other tools include a long level to calculate the slope of your yard and a shovel to remove high spots.
Consider leveling your yard yourself if:
- It’s mostly level with just a few high or low spots.
- Your yard already slopes away from your home.
- There are no puddles around your foundation.
However, you should hire a professional landscaper if:
- Your yard is extremely uneven or larger than 1,000 square feet.
- It slopes back towards your foundation.
- Water pools around your foundation.
- You have had water damage in the past.
Why Do You Need To Level a Yard?
Fixing drainage issues and getting rid of dips and holes are the most common reasons you would level your yard. However, you might level your yard for any of these reasons:
- Improved drainage: A sloped yard can cause water to drain poorly, leading to standing water and erosion. By leveling the yard, you can improve drainage and reduce the risk of water damage to your home.
- Enhanced aesthetics: A level yard can create a more cohesive and attractive landscape, and it can also make it easier to use your outdoor space for activities such as gardening, playing sports, or hosting events.
- Increased safety: Uneven terrain can be hazardous, especially for children and elderly people who may be more prone to falls. By leveling the yard, you can create a safer environment for everyone to enjoy.
- Enhanced property value: A well-maintained, level yard can increase the value of your property and make it more appealing to potential buyers if you decide to sell.