How to Fix a Lumpy or Bumpy Lawn

A lawn with holes, dips, and bumps is both unsightly and unhealthy. One example is that a lawn with numerous depressions cannot drain water properly. The drainage problems will eventually kill other patches of nearby grass. Before spending any time leveling out their lawn, homeowners should first determine what caused it to become uneven.

Common Reasons for an Uneven Lawn

In climates that receive snow in the winter, one of the leading reasons for uneven lawns is the thawing process in the spring. Snow and ice covering do not necessarily melt at the same time or the same pace because of how much sunlight each area of grass receives. Here are some other common reasons for uneven lawns in all types of climates:

  • Ant mounds
  • Children damage the lawn when playing on it
  • Consistently mowing the lawn in the same pattern
  • Damage caused by lawn pests such as voles and grubs
  • Improper installation of a sprinkler system
  • Lawn diseases
  • Settling takes place naturally over time
  • Other weather conditions
  • Underground irrigation pipes have eroded
  • Use of heavy garden equipment

Knowing what causes the lawn unevenness makes it easier to resolve the issue. For example, homeowners can invest in pest repellants or change the way they mow the lawn. Changing the setting on the lawnmower to a short or low setting is a simple way to start improving the appearance and function of a bumpy or lumpy lawn.

Tips for Homeowners to Level Their Lawn

When it’s time to mow the lawn, setting the lawnmower to a low setting allows homeowners to see specific problems because the cut grass will be extremely short. Once the lawn is freshly mowed, use a garden rake to loosen thatch. Thatch is a layer of dead and living plant material that sits on top of soil. When homeowners allow thatch to buildup, it blocks the grass from receiving the nutrients it needs like air, sun, and water.

The next step is to use a shovel to apply several steps of fresh topsoil to uneven parts of the lawn. The fresh topsoil should not be more than a half-inch thick to allow the existing grass to grow through it. Now the homeowner is ready to run an aerator over the lawn in even rows. The process of aerating a lawn is similar to mowing it. Homeowners should repeat this process every year until they see a noticeable difference in the appearance of their lawn.  

Why Having an Even Lawn Matters

Improving safety for children and adults is the best reason to level out an uneven lawn. It only takes a second to trip and potentially sustain a serious injury due to bumps in the yard. Lawnmowers also last longer and require fewer repairs when used on a level yard compared to a bumpy one. Running a lawnmower over an uneven spot can cause the blade to cut into the soil and not just the grass. Bald spots on the lawn are the typical result of blades cutting too deeply, and too many bald spots invite lawn disease.

Homeowners who do not have the time, equipment, or skill to level a lawn should leave the job to professionals. This is especially true for large yards with multiple uneven spots.