Bumpy Lawn

Cincinnati, OH

Back in 2004 the gas company installed new lines on my street. At my house though, they put back more dirt than they dug up. There is a large bump that was growing over the concrete. I have graded it back from the sidewalk as a temporary fix, but would like this bump (and other smaller ones) leveled out.

I know one solution would be to kill all of the grass, till everything under, grade and level, then sow new seed in the fall. Is this a drastic measure, or necessary for any kind of near-term results (2 or fewer years)? Other parts of my lawn are bumpy, to the point where mowing is like off-roading -- there are many parts where the mower won't sit with all 4 wheels on the ground.

The lawn hasn't been core aerated or dethatched in at least 5 years. Would core aeration & dethatching smooth out a lot of the less severe unleveled parts of the lawn? Or would it be a better idea to, like I said, till everything under, level, then grow new grass? I wouldn't mind the latter since I want to reseed with Scotts Thermal Blue anyhow, but I could accomplish this with a couple years of overseeding. I just don't want to do that, then realize I have to tear up 2 years of work to get rid of these bumps.


Thumbnail by danludwig
Piedmont, SC(Zone 7b)

First, how big is your yard?

Cincinnati, OH

Sorry, I should have mentioned it's not huge.

Back Yard is about 40' x 45' (1800 sqft)
Front Yard, excluding governor strip, is about 32' x 20' (640 sqft)
Governor Strip is about 30' x 6' (180 sqft)

Here is a full photo of the back...

Thumbnail by danludwig
Cincinnati, OH

... and here is the front.

Thumbnail by danludwig
Piedmont, SC(Zone 7b)

I would buy top soil or compost and sprinkle it around the yard. Put more where needed. I have a very large yard and have done that to mine. You can water it to settle it or wait till it rains. Then just add more where needed. Hope this helps.

Cincinnati, OH

Thanks Smokey, but the problem is that there are parts that need to be lowered. If everything could go up, I would just put down sand in the low areas every couple of weeks, and rake the turf plugs into the low areas after a core aeration. I've already filled in a couple of the lower areas, but I need to move soil off of other raised areas too.

Piedmont, SC(Zone 7b)

Sorry Dan, I was hoping there was a simple solution for you. I think I would just till it all up and fix the problem. Good luck with what ever you decide.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

You might consider renting one of those lawn rollers. I don't know how effective it would be on an established lawn, but I know they use them on baseball fields to ensure that the playing field remains level.

bowling green, KY(Zone 7a)

I would go rent a roller the ones you fill with water and pull behind your lawnmower,and roll your lawn and than core aeration ,,and maybe hit it with a little 12-12-12 and you should be good!

Upstate, NY(Zone 5a)

Hope nobody minds me jumping in on this thread.

Smokey I have been trying to do just what you suggested to my lawn. I have been sprinkling compost over it to try to help level it. I am using the back side of a garden rake, not the kind you rake leaves with, the kind with iron teeth. Hoping that will level everything out and settle the compost to the roots of the grass. I have been asking myself is this actually working? I'm glad I am not the only person out there doing this.

I also have a problem with crabgrass. I wasn't sure if the compost was encouraging the crabgrass growth or not. I don't remember so much of it before I started with the compost.

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