How to Level Your Sloped or Bumpy Garden

An uneven garden is difficult to enjoy and it makes mowing the lawn properly impossible. To get the full benefit of a garden it needs safe, flat areas.

Let’s take a look at how you can quickly level your garden in one weekend.

How to Fix a Bumpy Lawn

If your lawn has lumps and bumps its easy to sort out. You have a few options depending on how deep the holes are.

1. Use Top Dressing for Shallow Bumps

Top dress the low spots with a mixture of topsoil, compost, and sand.

Shovel 2-3 centimetres onto the low spots and rake the mixture in. Keep working the mixture into the low spots spreading out the soil mix so it doesn’t smother and kill the grass.

Keep going until it’s level and then gently water the soil to release any air pockets. Top up the soil as necessary.

2. Install Underdressing for More Depth

Remove the turf above the low spot by cutting a square with a sharp spade several centimetres into the soil and sliding the spade beneath the turf.

Lift the turf away in several sections if the low spot is large. Fill the hole with the above topsoil mixture. Water it thoroughly so the air pockets are released and then replace the turf.

3. Remove Turf for An Entire Re-Levelling

If your lawn resembles a moonscape then it would be best to remove all the turf with a turf cutter and lay fresh topsoil across the whole lawn.

If the turf is in good shape cut strips and roll them to conserve their moisture and water the rolls overnight to keep the grass alive.

Spread topsoil evenly over the garden and rake it level. Use boards to press it flat and water with a hosepipe to release air pockets. Lay the second layer of topsoil and repeat, then re-lay the turf or start afresh with grass seed.

Fix a Sloping Garden by Installing a Retaining Wall

A sloping lawn is a real enjoyment killer, but here’s how you can make the space usable by installing a retaining wall.

1. Measure Up the Garden

You will need some building skills for this project if the height is over a few feet.

First, you need to figure out how high the wall should be. Place a stake at the top of the slope and in front of the slope.

Run a piece of string from the back post at ground level and attach it to the front post. Ensure it is level using a spirit level.

This will show you the level of your new garden and the height you need to build the retaining wall up to.

Retaining walls shouldn’t be higher than a few feet as they won’t be strong enough to hold wet heavy soil back safely.

If your slope is taller, then a terrace of several mini retaining walls is a safer option.

2. Choose Your Preferred Materials

Your retaining wall should be strong so choose your building materials wisely.

You could pick concrete blocks, house bricks, natural stone, breeze blocks, sleepers or gabions.

The higher your wall the stronger the material needs to be. Concrete is the toughest material to build a wall from.

Opt for a Strong Block Wall

A retaining wall needs footings so it doesn’t topple over when the soil is placed behind it. The footings should bury one inch of your blocks for every eight inches tall your wall will be.

Dig a trench to the depth you require for the footing and lay a one-part cement to four-parts sand mixture. Check your levels before it gets dry.

Allow the footings to dry out overnight.

Now it’s time to build.

Place the first block and check that it’s square. Use your mortar to lock the block in place and work along the wall line checking regularly to ensure it is straight.

When you reach the end turn your blocks and continue back ensuring the corners are at right angles.

Backfill this first course with stone to give it extra strength, then continue building your wall overlapping each course by half a block.

Once the wall is built and the mortar has dried you can backfill with soil and re-turf or seed the top.

Consider a Low Wooden Retaining Wall

If your retaining wall is less than a foot high and you just want to use it as a flower bed you could use fence posts and boards.

Use fence posts two thirds as long as your wall height. One-third of the post should be under the soil and repeated every metre of wall. Postcrete them into place ensuring they stand straight with a spirit level.

Once dry, you can attach your planks to the front using screws that reach through the plank and halfway into the post.

Staple liner to the back of the planks to prolong their life and then fill with soil.

A Good Job Well Done

Levelling the lawn can transform a dangerous and unusable area into something the whole family can enjoy.

It’s worth spending a weekend creating a level space that will form the basis of future BBQ’s, flower beds, and kiddy’s playtime for years to come.

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