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My lawn has both peaks and troughs. I guess that I can just fill the troughs with lawn soil or compost, right?

But how do I flatten the peaks? I’ve read that a water filled roller does nothing. Has anyone been successful at flattening out an established lawn or do I have to rip it out and re-sod?

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Yeah mowing can be a real pain...literally. –  Matt Mar 21 '12 at 15:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As a former landscaper my favorite quote to clients was "You can have it fast, good or cheap. Pick two." In this situation I see a few solutions:

  • rent a Bobcat with a toothed bucket and remove all the grass and bumps to a dump bin. Apply six inches of topsoil mix, gently compact and sow grass seed or sod. That's fast and good.
  • top dress spring and fall to a depth of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch with topsoil or compost, repeat until it's level. That's good and cheap.
  • from Rory's answer here

cut the turf up, peel it back, take out sufficient soil (this is relatively easy to get close to flat...not so easy to get exactly right) ... re-lay the turf

That solution could be fast and cheap if you don't have a lot of area.

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It depends how big they are. For small bumps a roller is very effective, but for larger humps you may need to try one of the following:

  • cut the turf up, peel it back, take out sufficient soil (this is relatively easy to get close to flat...not so easy to get exactly right)
  • take the turf off entirely, flatten all the soil and re-lay the turf (bigger job, but gives best results)
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for the roller to be effective it helps a lot if the soil is wet. Keep in mind that by rolling a weight over the turf you are compacting it and might need to aerate afterwards if you roll and re roll. I think Rory's suggestion of peel, level and stick is better. –  kevinsky Feb 20 '12 at 18:38
    
What if I aerate (so it's got room to move) and wet (to lubricate), then roll it. Will that work better? Then I can aerate it again after it's flattened. –  Coomie Feb 21 '12 at 1:32
    
I don't know, to be honest. You could give it a shot, and if it fails you can still come back to peeling the turf off. –  Rory Alsop Feb 21 '12 at 8:20

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