Do lawns have to be level?
It is not essential that lawns are completely level, however it is often preferable that they are for a few reasons. Mowing can be very tricky on an uneven lawn as this can lead to areas being scalped, leaving behind bare patches for moss and weeds to fill in. Bumpy lawns can be unsafe to walk across posing trip or fall hazards, leading to twisted or jarred joints. Dips in a lawn may fill with water during heavy rainfall, leading to waterlogging.
Why do lawns become bumpy?
Ground subsidence is the most likely reason for lawns to become uneven. When soils naturally turn wet and dry during the year, combined with inconsistent rainfall can lead to the levels of the lawn naturally changing.
Tree roots or stumps rotting away beneath the surface is a very common reason for dips to occur in a lawn, along with damaged underground pipes.
When installing a new turf lawn, it is vital that the soil is prepared, leveled and compacted (not too much) suitably, so sections do not drop when the soil settles.
Moles burrowing just beneath the surface can leave behind an undulating surface as they push the soil up to make their tunnels. Worms casting during autumn and winter can lead to minor bumps.
How do you fix an uneven lawn?
The method of fixing an uneven lawn depends on the extent of the bumps and undulations across the given area. There are two main methods of ironing out dips and hollows, we’re going to look at them both below.
Fixing MINOR imperfections
Top dressing a lawn can help iron out small undulations by adding a fresh layer of soil to the surface, leveling it out over the surface to leave extra soil in the low spots.
This should be done following scarification (which will remove unwanted moss and thatch from a lawn), as well aerating and over seeding. It is vitally important that the grass in your lawn is growing strongly enough to grow through the layer of top dressing so scarification, aeration and over seeding will help this.
Once the top dressing is applied to the lawn, it needs to be worked in evenly to create a smoother surface. Tools such as a rake, lawn lute and drag mat are perfect for this as it will pull the excess soil off of the already high spots, and into the lows.
This method is best carried out in spring and autumn when the grass is growing vigorously.
Fixing MAJOR dips
Repairing a lawn with significant undulations in is slightly more complex. It is not as simple as applying a large amount of soil to the surface and leveling it out. Doing this will ‘blind’ the grass beneath, causing it to die off, creating a whole new bunch of problems.
It is best to remove the current lawn or areas that need repairing by spraying/killing it off and rotovating, or removing it via a turf cutter so you’re able to start with a blank canvas. Fresh top soil can then be added to the area to level off, before either turfing the lawn or over seeding.