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Levelling lumpy bumpy turf

What are the best tools for levelling ground? I want to try and do it myself. 



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,583

    It really depends how big an area it is.

    It's often easier  to fill in hollows with fresh topsoil, and that will make a more level surface, which can then be reseeded in spring. A little layer of soil over the rest of the area, and some seed scattered on that too will ensure a nice blend. 

    If it's really rough, you might need to get a turf stripper to get the top layer off, and then a small digger to level it all out, before prepping and reseeding, or laying new turf.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    The best tool is a long straight plank. We used one when levelling our Bowling green. it depends on how lumpy and how big the lawn is. Pick a point, put a corner of the plank edge on at that point then slowly swing it round noting the dips and lumps, you may need a hand with this.

    High bits cut the turf on three sides with a sharp spade or lawn tool, ( straight blade with a handle), roll back the turf after using a flat spade to cut under the turf, scrape out some soil and then lay back down. Dips have a mix of sieved compost and washed sand ready and brush it into the hollow you can also mix seed with that. Fill in any cracks with the same mix brushing it into the cracks with a hard broom, Keep sweeping your straight edge plank across to make sure you have a good surface and brush in more sand compost seed mix as required. Water it in gently with a spray or if you are lucky it will rain. Your lawn will look a mess for a while but will soon green up again. Had you seen our bowling green after treatment you would think it would never play again but by spring it was wonderful, "oh" and flat. I should say we always did that in October but we are the North east so it depends on where you are or when frosts are due as to when you do it. Saying that one of my lawns went down two weeks before Christmas one year and it is the best of my lawns.

    Hope this helps Frank.

  • Thanks guys. Maybe it doesnt even need to be level for plants to thrive? I'm not too interested in having a lawn. Do plants grow better on flat surfaces? Sorry im a novice ?

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,583

    Ah - I was under the impression you wanted a lawn because of the thread title. image

    If you're putting plants in, you'll need to remove the turf and dig over the ground thoroughly to remove any persistent weeds, and add some compost or well rotted manure when  planting to improve the soil. It will depend what you intend to plant too - some plants may need better drainage for instance. 

    They don't need level ground as such, but it makes life very difficult if there isn't a reasonably level space to plant into, or did you mean there's a slope where you want to make a bed or border?

    A photo of the area would help if you can manage it. There's a camera icon top right corner of the window for posting. Click on that and follow instructions. If photos are too big they don't load very quickly, so you might need to resize them a bit smaller image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for all the advice. No not on a slope, but its just a really neglected piece of land and there are lots of small mounds. Here is a picture from my phone


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,083

    As well as the grass it looks like you have a lot of weeds (incl brambles and ivy) in there Dee. It really depends on what you want to ultimately achieve. That's quite a large area to remove the weeds / grass by hand. It's difficult from the picture to see quite how bumpy it is and again what you want to achieve. It's late in the year to apply systemic weedkiller as that needs active growth of the plant.

  • Thanks Dave. I would like some vegetable beds and flowers for cutting, and some shrubs for structure. A small bit to kick a ball around would be good but not interested in a perfect lawn. Want to avoid chemicals as well

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,583

    I'd agree with Dave. It does look quite a big job to tackle on your own, because there's quite a lot to clear away. Unless you have access to a van, that's a few trips to a local tip, or a small skip's worth, just to get rid of the old fence etc.  It largely depends what you want to put in place - a lawn area, borders and beds, a storage area or compost bin,  and so on.

    Can you give us a better idea of the space? Is that a path in the top right hand side, and is that in the middle of your garden, or is it a footpath for the public? If that's the case, do you want a fence or barrier of some kind? 

    Any further info will help with ideas  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Dee, so much for my vision of a bowling green I thought your post was to level an established lawn. You failed to say how old or how fit you are because i would think twice about tackling that.

    Basically it needs digging over completely, the removal of rubbish and weeds which seem indemic some of that turf needs to be taken off and sent to the dump. Again it will depend on what you can afford, there will be some one in the area who would rough dig and level it for you so you had a fresh canvas to work on. I always advise taking a small section at a time and sorting that out, start it and finish it as trying to do the whole at one go usually ends up with nothing finished. Once you have one small area cleaned and planted then you can take on the next section, the grand plan will come once you have a working garden, that will take time.

    It will take a lot of thinking about and planning, depending on what you can afford or not you could get some help with the heavy work then you put in the finishing touches. This may sound downbeat but I have tackled worse than that when I was much fitter.  It can be done as any gardener on here will tell you but it needs time and possibly some machinery for the hard work, you can hire anything these days.


  • DeeWestDeeWest Posts: 39
    I would just like to let everyone know that I took on your advice. I have tackled the weeds by hand, I'm sure they will come back but I will persist. I quite like the ivy, its the brambles I dont like, and there also seems to be a honeysuckle which has gotten wildly out of control. There is one particular weed which appears to have tracks stuck to the ground all over the place.

    I am doing what Frank said and I'm working on a small patch at a time. I have made raised beds for vegetables and have started working on a small wildflower meadow area. The rest I will work on a little bit at a time. In another part of the garden there is a lot of excess soil, so I have done what Fairygirl said and moved it to fill out the gaps in this area of ground. Thansk all
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