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Best way to level Lawn

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Argonaut
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 10
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2020-05-16          199171


I have an existing lawn that g has is really got lots of sunken spots that jar me when I go over them at normal speed.

Every year I say I will spray the low spots with marker paint in the winter when it is easy to see them and every year I let it slip.

Any tips on best practice approach, type soil to spread sand loam topsoil mix ?

Drags to use behind tractor to make easy?

Thanks!



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Best way to level Lawn

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2020-05-18          199192


Our lawn was about 50% woods and the other 50% crop land. We did not dig the stumps on the wooded part, rather ground them. Well to begin with was the right thing but long term (20 to 22 years) worst thing to do. We are still filling rotting stump holes. Each year I say will be the last year and this year maybe it will be.

If a few small holes I find hauling dirt in trailer or fel to the area and just using shovel and rake best method. However for bigger areas that are slightly sloped find you must go bigger, dumping dirt and leveling across it slowly lower with each pass so dirt is spilled into all the low areas and not pulled out. It also helps to keep changing the direction you are crossing the dirt to keep from having ripples in it. If you have access to a pull behind blade it will work much better. ....

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Handson
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 13
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2020-05-18          199200


This is a problem I have struggled with, man have I got imperfections in my turf.

The video below shows a set of manual tools that appear to used on a athletic practice field so I doubt all of the ideas would work on NON FLAT yards But I do think the idea of drags is useful. In fact the area in the video looks great for British lawn bowling.

....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2020-05-19          199211


Had a friend here years ago who told me the proper pattern to leveling a yard. You go in over lapping circles, well not really circles more like ovals. Got a great laugh on him. Ole Jeff passed a few years later but his advice holds.

Run in circles, ovals what ever works for your lawn with over lapping with your fine leveling equipment. Even with box blade it can help. I very much use over lapping with a rear blade. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7131 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2020-05-19          199212


Yup, Jeff and his overlapping ovals is a TP classic worthy of Carol Burnett.

Argonaut, you need to give us a little help with helping you, what equipment do you have?

If you don't have anything suitable there are some easy DIY hacks I can fil you in on.


Best of luck. ....

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Argonaut
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 10
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2020-05-19          199215


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 199212
Y..., what equipment do you have?If you don't have anything suitable there are some easy DIY hacks I can fill you in on.Best of luck.


I have a Tractor with a loader and a rear grader blade. Right now I have the loader off and the mid mower on. But I would like to hear about DIY hacks as well ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7131 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2020-05-19          199216


Ok, so thatís a good start.

Now a little more detail on the lawn itself.

First, are you sure of what caused the unevenness? Time? Traffic? Critters?

Second, are you just trying to make it smoother? Or are you hoping for a putting green?
....

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Best way to level Lawn

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Argonaut
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 10
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2020-05-20          199217


The unevenness is caused by a less than perfect original landscaping job, brush and very small tree clearing that has settled after more than a decade. The yard never had any topsoil hauled in, it is just the dirt that was scraped up when the property was stumped. Property was bulldozed and rock hounded and seeded, no hand raking. Soil has lots of small rock in it, for example to dig a mailbox post hole takes several hours and lots of sweat to complete.

The lawn depressions have not been changing in the last 5 years,

No putting green desired, just a nice reduction in bouncing on the tractor.

....

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Terry60
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5 Central Indiana
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2020-05-20          199219


Murf, my lawn unevenness problems are 99% caused by critters. Very little is from erosion or traffic. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7131 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2020-05-20          199220


OK, now were getting somewhere.

The down 'n' dirty (pun intended) DIY hack is to roughly top dress the lawn by rigging up a length of chain as a yoke from end to end on one side of an old metal bed frame or something similar to make a crude drag. Make the chain long enough that the front edge just starts to lift up when you drag it behind the tractor. Once you've got it set sprinkle some screened topsoil on top of the frame and start dragging it around. The frame will shave the high spots and allow soil to drop down into the low spots.

One decision you need to make is how heavy you want to top dress the lawn. Repeated light applications will allow the majority of the existing grass to just grow up through the new soil, slowly building depth of soil and roots. A heavy application will require a more serious seeding job and over the whole lawn, not just the 'new' areas that took more fill.

Don't be afraid to ask more questions.


Best of luck. ....

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Hogslayer
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 33 Northern michigan
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2020-05-24          199267


I have my own variation of Murf's method. Instead of a bed frame, I use a wood pallet. I choose a sturdy wood pallet atleast 6 feet long with space between the cross slats of about 1 1/2-2". If you need to renail any of the top boards, pre-drill holes for the nails in the cross slats. This wood is generally very crappy and splinters otherwise.

I flip the pallet up side down. Drill 3/8" holes thru the stringers about 3 or 4" from the front end about mid-height. Pound 3/8" diameter eyebolts thru these holes from the outside in, and fasten.

Nail a cross bar at the rear from either 5/4 x 6" or 2" x 6". Lay cinder blocks across the rear using the cross bar as a fence to hold in place.

Place a hook from the chain thru one eye. Purchase a heavy duty spring clip that has a pear shape (about 5/16" cross-section) and place it in a chain link to have the correct chain length so when pulled the front of the pallet is riding above the top of the ground.

Put the pallet in position in the yard. Dump part of a loader bucket of loose, screened black dirt between the stringers.

This is a 2 person job. You need a volunteer to help. Your spouse, girlfriend, child or neighbor. They are usually willing once they know they are the driver. I use a garden/lawn tractor to pull this slowly thru the yard.

I walk behind with a garden hoe or shovel to push the dirt around to feed the gap in the boards. The board behind the gap acts as a scraper to level out the new dirt. The wider the gap, the more fresh soil that will be placed.

Once nearly emptied, fill the pallet with another loader bucket of dirt. You will need several crisscross passes.

When complete; a campfire with brats and beer is customary! ....

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Argonaut
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 10
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2020-05-28          199284


Metal 10 Foot drag ....

Picture Link

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Argonaut
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 10
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2020-05-28          199285


Thanks so much for the ideas.

I do not have a old steel bed frame now, I do have a Pallet. I have only one Tractor and 3 acres to work on.

At this point I think I will tackle the most egregious depressions that whiplash me when I hit them.

While I live with my spouse and 20 something daughter they do not help me with any outdoor project whether not there is food or beer :-( So I am on my own.

I think I will just dump these low spots and and back blade with the bucket or reverse the grader blade. And then hand rake.

Then I will have to see how much juice is left in this old battery as to whether I will do broader leveling efforts with the drags you folks recommend.

What do think of the drag I found on YT? Is it worth making? ....

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