How to Level Your Backyard: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Level Your Backyard: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Level Backyard

Leveling a backyard is a fundamental step towards creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor space. Whether it’s for installing a patio, setting up a children’s play area, or just enhancing the overall health of the lawn, starting with a level base is crucial. This section delves into the tools and techniques you’ll need to successfully level your backyard.

Lawn Mower

A key initial step in the leveling process involves cutting the grass to a uniform, short length. Here’s why a lawn mower is indispensable:

  • Even Surface: Short grass reveals uneven areas more clearly, making it easier to identify high and low spots.
  • Preparation for Work: Shorter grass ensures that soil and leveling materials can be easily applied and integrated.

It’s essential to use a lawn mower set to a lower cutting height to achieve this initial step effectively.


After mowing, the next tool in your arsenal is the rake, particularly a landscaping or garden rake with sturdy metal tines. Here’s how it helps:

  • Removing Debris: A rake is perfect for clearing the area of stones, sticks, and other obstructions that could hinder the leveling process.
  • Spreading Materials: Whether it’s topsoil, sand, or compost, a rake is invaluable for spreading these materials evenly across the lawn.

The goal is to create a smooth surface, and working in a systematic pattern with a rake can make this task more manageable and efficient.


A shovel is crucial for moving larger volumes of soil to fill in low spots or reduce high areas. Here’s how to leverage a shovel in the leveling process:

  • Cutting and Filling: Use a shovel to slice off high areas and redistribute the soil to fill in depressions.
  • Mixing Materials: If you’re incorporating sand or compost into your topsoil, a shovel is perfect for mixing these materials to ensure a consistent blend.

Remember, the objective is not to remove all the dirt but to redistribute it across the yard to achieve an even grade. Strategic shoveling can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your leveling efforts.

Surveying and Planning

When tackling how to level backyard, it’s paramount to embark on a comprehensive surveying and planning phase. This strategy ensures the efficient use of resources and time, leading to a seamless leveling process. The surveying phase is broken down into two critical steps: measuring the area and identifying slopes and low spots. Addressing these aspects meticulously allows for accurate planning and execution.

Measuring the Area

The first step in how to level backyard is to accurately measure the total area to be leveled. This ensures that homeowners can estimate the quantity of materials needed and the scope of work. Measuring the area involves:

  • Using a tape measure to calculate the width and length of the backyard.
  • Multiplying the width by the length to determine the square footage.

Having exact measurements helps in planning the budget, identifying the amount of soil or fill needed, and understanding the scale of the project. Accurate measurements are vital for purchasing supplies without overestimating or underestimating the quantity required.

Identifying Slopes and Low Spots

After measuring the area, the next critical step is identifying slopes and low spots within the backyard. These areas significantly impact water drainage, potentially affecting the yard’s usability and health. To identify slopes and low spots:

  • Use a string level or a laser level to pinpoint uneven areas.
  • Mark these areas with stakes or flags for easy visual identification.

Recognizing uneven spots is crucial for creating a systematic approach to leveling. It determines where to add or remove soil, ensuring a balanced distribution throughout the backyard. Addressing slopes and low spots effectively prevents future water pooling and creates a more functional outdoor space. Identifying these areas accurately ensures that the leveling process is tailored to the backyard’s specific needs, paving the way for a successful project.

Clearing the Area

Tackling how to level backyard project equips homeowners with the knowledge to transform their outdoor spaces. By prioritizing surveying and planning, they’ve laid the groundwork for a successful endeavor. The meticulous measurement and identification of slopes not only prepare the area for aesthetic improvements but also solve practical issues like water drainage. Armed with tape measures and string levels, they’re now ready to clear the area, ensuring a smooth and even surface. This step marks the beginning of turning their vision into reality, where functionality meets design in their newly leveled backyard.