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Leveling out a bumpy uneven garden

Hi all,

I'm looking for a bit of advice on my back garden, i'm not particularly green fingered...

My back garden, at at one point, would have had a nice "S" shaped path going through it, some flower beds, raised bits, etc etc. By the time I moved in to the house, the garden had been over grown for years. I've now mostly trimmed it all back but the lawn itself is full of lumps and bumps - where flower beds were, where slabs were, etc. It's pretty easy to go over your ankle as the grass has grown mostly over everything.

I'd like to get it as flat as I can. Or at lease remove all the holes and uneven bits so its a bit nicer to walk on and mow. I have a mound of soil (about 3 tonne), that I was aiming to use to help me level it out.

What should I aim to do? Just fill in holes with the soil, and spread it over the uneven bits? Let in settle / hope it doesn't wash away? Should I put grass / grass seed on it?

Do i churn the ground up a bit and level it out that way? Should I hire a machine of some sort for this?

I'd appreciate any pointers!!! I'm attaching a photo of the garden, hopefully you get the idea of what i mean.




  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409

    Are you going to re-instate the S path and/or any of the flower beds?

    If you are, some bits will be more important to get level than others - presumably the path is still not too bad, and beds don't have to be dead level. If so you could concentrate on the lawn bit initially and give yourself less to do at one time.

    If you are doing a re-design,  then it would be best to sort out the whole area, or it will never look the way you want. It is hard to grass over an old flower bed in an existing lawn, as it always sinks and the grass grow a different colour and often faster or slower than the rest because of different soil conditions & nutrients.

     It will need to be dug or rotavated, then raked roughly level, then walked on using the 'gardener's shuffle'   to compress it down a bit, then raked again. Then you'll be ready to go!

     You have the potential for a lovely garden there, so good luck!

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,550

    What a lovely garden Iain and I second all that buttercup says image

    i look forward to all the advise you get as have same problem with my lawn, lots of pot holes!  On gardeners question time Bob Flowerdew said you can fill the dips and ones with soil an the grass will grow through.  Keep meaning to test it! 

  • Iain-2Iain-2 Posts: 5

    Thanks very much for the responses!

    Actually i'm not going to reinstate the path and flower beds.  What i'm hoping for is just a reasonably nice and level area of lawn.

    So do you think I'd need to rotavate the whole garden, or just the flow beds and path area (any areas that are lower the existing lawn)?

    And if i do that would you recommend putting down grass seed or laying turf? (maybe that just depends on how patient I am!)


  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,550

    Doesn't your garden slope up Iain? That will be one hell of a job levelling the whole lot image

  • Iain-2Iain-2 Posts: 5

    Yes it does...some I'm sure it'll be quite a task!!! But I'm keen to have a go anyway :-)

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,550

    Good luck image

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    If you mean to have a totally flat grass area and it currently slopes down now, you will need to build a retaining wall at the lower end and retaining walls down the sides for part of the way as you cannot pile earth against the fences. That would be a major job as well as the tonnes of earth it would take to fill it.

    If you just want to smooth out the lumps and dips which is eminently doable, you will need to give the grass a good cut all over just to see what you have got. Fill the sunken bits with topsoil, tramp it down and depending on how deep the dip is (ie. over a couple of inches) spread grass seed and rake it in, keeping it well watered.  For the humps, you will need to strip the grass off them, skim off some soil, and then re-lay the grass over it. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Iain-2Iain-2 Posts: 5

    I just want to smooth out the lumps and dips to be honest.  Ok, that makes sense…and sounds achievable! Thanks very much for the info ?

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Good luck. It will probably take the rest of the season to do it but perfectly feasible. I had to do exactly the same with one of my lawns and it is not exactly bowling green standard it is an awful lot better. Start by doing the most obvious bits and then every time you mow you will find the other bits that need done. You can use topsoil or compost for filling in, whatever you have. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Iain-2Iain-2 Posts: 5

    Brilliant, thanks all for the advice :-)

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