• How to Level a Garden

    | by Holly Wood

    Levelling a garden can transform an uneven lawn into a beautiful, functional outdoor space. Whether you’re dealing with a sloping garden that struggles with soil erosion or a bumpy lawn that needs a bit of care, this comprehensive guide will walk you through how to level a garden, ensuring you achieve a flat lawn that’s both aesthetically pleasing and practical.

    From choosing the right soil to constructing retaining walls for steeper slopes, we’ve got you covered.

    Understanding the Basics of Garden Levelling

    Uneven ground can result from various factors, including natural soil settling or activities such as walking and playing on the lawn, which compacts the soil unevenly.

    A levelled lawn not only looks better but also provides good drainage and prevents exposed soil from losing its nutrient-rich composition due to erosion.

    Assessing Your Garden’s Needs

    Start by assessing the extent of the unevenness. Small bumps and minor unevenness can often be fixed with a simple levelling mixture of garden soil and sand.

    However, for a sloping garden or areas with steep slopes, you might need to consider more significant modifications like building retaining walls or creating stair-like terraces with natural stone or reclaimed railway sleepers.

    Step by Step Guide to Leveling a Flat Lawn

    1. Prepare the Ground: Remove any debris, weeds, or old grass from the area. If you’re sowing new grass seed or laying new turf, starting with clean, level ground is crucial.
    2. Mark the Area: Use two stakes and a string to mark the horizontal distance you want to level. This will help you maintain a level surface as you work. A spirit level can be invaluable in ensuring your marked area is perfectly horizontal.
    3. Add or Remove Soil: For a sloping garden, you may need to add soil to raise the ground level or remove soil to reduce the slope. For optimal growth, ensure you use high-quality, nutrient-rich soil, which will facilitate quick, uniform, and healthy regeneration of your lawn. Then, use a garden rake to spread the soil evenly across the area.
    4. Use a Soil Compactor: Compact the soil to prevent future unevenness due to settling. Wet soil can compact more efficiently, so ensure the ground has enough moisture before starting. A soil compactor can be rented for this purpose, which is especially useful for larger areas.
    5. Apply a Levelling Mixture: For small adjustments, a thin layer of levelling mixture, typically parts sand, garden soil, and compost, can help achieve a level lawn. Spread this mixture over the ground and rake it into the low areas.
    6. Sow Grass Seed or Lay Turf: Once you have level ground, it’s time to sow new grass seeds or lay turf. Ensure the new grass or turf has good contact with the soil beneath for successful growth.
    7. Water Regularly: After planting new grass seed or laying turf, water regularly to establish deep roots and ensure the new lawn has enough moisture to thrive.

    Levelling a Sloping Garden and Steeper Slopes

    When dealing with sloping gardens, retaining walls can provide a solution to soil erosion while adding structural integrity to your outdoor space.

    Building a retaining wall from materials like breeze blocks, house bricks, or natural stone can help create level areas within your sloped garden.

    For very steep slopes, consider hiring professional help to ensure the safety and stability of the structure.

    Creative Solutions for Levelling

    Beyond the traditional methods, there are creative ways to level a garden. For example, laying decking or creating stair-like terraces with living plant material can offer aesthetically pleasing options that blend seamlessly with your garden’s natural landscape.

    For more information on how to lay decking, check out our How To Build Decking blog. If you’re looking to lay directly onto grass, refer to our How To Lay Decking On Grass blog.

    Additionally, for areas near structures or where a flat surface is critical, like near a swimming pool, extra pressure to ensure a perfectly level surface might be necessary.

    DIY or Professional Help?

    While many aspects of garden slope levelling can be a DIY job, some situations, such as dealing with steeper slopes or ensuring the structural integrity of retaining walls, might require professional help.

    Hiring a professional can save money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring that your garden meets any required planning permission or regulations.


    Levelling a garden is more than just a small project; it’s an investment in your outdoor space’s beauty, functionality, and safety.

    Whether you’re dealing with a sloping garden, an uneven lawn, or simply want to create a more aesthetically pleasing outdoor area, following these step-by-step instructions can help you achieve a level garden.

    Remember, the key to success lies in careful planning, the right materials, and a fair amount of elbow grease. With patience and effort, you’ll be able to transform your uneven ground into a level, lush lawn that’s ready for enjoyment.

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