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?

  • Yeah mowing can be a real pain...literally.
    – Matt
    Mar 21, 2012 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


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.

  • I would think top dressing would be the fastest, but over 4 years, I have made my lumpy and hard much better. The lawn was overtaken by thistle when I moved in and the raised ground around each plant made mounds that would shake my mower furiously. Dormant overseeding each winter and aerating in spring and fall have helped a ton.
    – Evil Elf
    Dec 28, 2015 at 15:03

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)
  • 1
    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.
    – kevinskio
    Feb 20, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 8:20

I'm a greenskeeper. When lawns need smoothing a device known as a power rake is used. It has blades on an axle spinning spaced out an inch. It cuts narrow parallel grooves in the soil. Doing this occasionally keeps the surface smooth. This technique is also called verticutting.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.