Help me level an established KBG lawn

Golden DavidMay 20, 2014

Hi Lawn care forum!

Last spring I tilled a weedy backyard at a new house and installed sprinklers.

I used rakes to level out the yard prior to laying about 1500 square feet sod, but did not roll or use any grading machinery. The sod I laid was a KBG, and it thrived last year and came back in great shape this year (plus dandelions), but is full and lush this spring.

It turns out my technique was flawed, since the tilled soil has settled unevenly over the last year. Another problem is that the irrigation trenches are even more settled than the rest of the grade.

So here's my plan to level my lawn without starting over or killing the turf. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this!

For 1500 square feet of grass, I figure I need 1 yard of topdressing for 1/4 inch of added height across the whole lawn. (1500sqft is 31.25 cubic feet at 1/4 inch thick, which is just over 1 cubic yard) Since some of the settling is severe I'll plan to apply double this amount over the summer.

1. get half a yard each of topsoil and builders sand delivered, and mix them together, truck them to the back yard

2. Cut grass to lowest setting on lawnmower

3. using wheelbarrow distribute evenly spaced piles of the mixture. Spread out with push broom and rakes. Do I need to make a dragger tool for this?

4. water in

5. repeat after 8 weeks

If anyone has suggestions or revisions to this plan I'd love to hear them. Thanks in advance!

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I've done this and it is a lot of work and takes a patient hand.
I'd avoid using topsoil. It is not necessary and I have not had good final results with it as it seems to settle unevenly.
If the lawn is "uniformly" bumpy, there are a number of posts on leveling. You can use the same techniques used for warm season grasses with cool season grasses. Cut, nearly scalping the lawn, spread an even 1/4" of sand and use a drag to help knock the sand off the high spots into the adjacent low spots. This works only for bumpy lawns as the sand will only move an inch or two.
If you have low spots, cut the lawn down to 2" or so. Pour/Spread, don't pile, up to 1/2" of sand over the very lowest part of the depression area and use a leaf rake and a three pronged steel rake to work the sand in and lift the grass blades up through the sand. If you can easily see the sand, you haven't raked enough or you applied too much sand.
It took me 3 years to fill a low area like your trenches, so I'd suggest you buy bags as you use them rather than a cubic yard at one time. I think a yard of sand weighs like 2 tons. .
Good luck

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Golden David

Thanks Yardtractor I'll take that advice to heart. Seems like less of a big deal to buy bags of sand anyway.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:58PM
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Starting with a few bags will give you a feel for the effort and amounts needed before you commit to a couple of tons.
Good luck and don't forget to water it in.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:54PM
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