How to Level a Garden: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you tired of dealing with an uneven lawn or a sloping garden that limits your outdoor activities? Imagine transforming your garden into a perfectly level, functional, and beautiful space.

In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to level your garden with simple, step-by-step instructions. Whether you’re planning to lay new turf, install decking, or just want a flat lawn for the kids to play on, you’ll find all the tips and tricks you need right here.

Read on to discover how you can achieve the garden of your dreams and enjoy a more enjoyable, usable outdoor space.

How to Level a Garden

Why Level Your Garden?

Levelling your garden can significantly enhance both its appearance and functionality. Here’s why you should consider this transformative project:

Levelling your garden significantly improves drainage, preventing water from pooling and causing damage to your lawn and garden plants. This is particularly important in a sloping garden where water can accumulate in low spots. By creating a flat, even surface, levelling helps manage soil erosion, ensuring that soil stays in place and your garden remains intact.

A level garden enhances the overall aesthetics of your outdoor space, making it look more polished and well-maintained. A flat lawn is visually appealing and provides a clean, crisp look that enhances the beauty of your garden. Additionally, a level surface increases the usability of your garden, making it more functional for various activities. Whether you’re playing sports, installing a swimming pool, or laying a patio, a level garden provides a stable and safe environment for these activities.

Ensuring your garden is level also supports the structural integrity of any buildings or structures you plan to add, such as a shed, deck, or other structures. A level ground foundation is crucial for maintaining the stability and longevity of these structures. Moreover, levelling your garden prevents issues with excess soil and uneven patches, which can cause tripping hazards and create an unsightly appearance.

Levelling your garden can be cost-effective in the long run. By addressing uneven areas and creating a level surface, you can save money on future repairs and maintenance. Good planning and execution mean you won’t need frequent professional help, making it a more economical choice.

For larger projects, it’s essential to check if planning permission is required, especially when building retaining walls or other major structures. Ensuring compliance with local regulations can prevent legal issues and ensure your project proceeds smoothly.

Tools and Materials Needed

To successfully level your garden, you will need a variety of tools and materials. Here’s a comprehensive list:

  • Spirit Level: Essential for ensuring your garden is perfectly level.
  • Stakes and String: Useful for marking out the area and measuring the slope.
  • Shovel: For digging and removing soil.
  • Garden Rake: To help spread soil evenly.
  • Soil Compactor: To compact the soil and remove air pockets, ensuring a stable base.
  • Lawn Roller: Helps in flattening the soil and compacting the turf.
  • Topsoil: High-quality soil is necessary for filling in low spots and creating an even surface.
  • Retaining Wall Materials: Depending on your garden’s needs, you might use reclaimed railway sleepers, house bricks, or concrete blocks.
  • Grass Seed or Turf: For replanting your lawn once the ground is level.
  • Compost: Adding compost can enrich the soil and promote healthy grass growth.
  • Tools: Various tools such as spades, wheelbarrows, and levels will be needed throughout the process.

Having the right tools and materials will make the process of levelling your garden more efficient and effective. Ensure you gather everything you need before you start digging to avoid unnecessary delays.

If you don’t have these tools and based in or around London and would prefer hire professional help, you can also explore the London Gardens of Jasmine, known for their great landscaping and garden maintenance solutions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Level a Garden

Levelling a garden might seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a clear plan, you can transform an uneven lawn or sloping garden into a beautiful, flat lawn. Follow these step-by-step instructions to level your garden effectively.

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

  • Assess the Garden: Identify the areas that need levelling, whether it’s an uneven lawn, a sloping garden, or specific spots with small bumps.
  • Check for Permissions: Ensure that no planning permission is required for your project, especially if you’re building retaining walls or other structures.
  • Gather Tools: Assemble the necessary tools such as a spirit level, garden rake, soil compactor, lawn roller, stakes, and string.

Step 2: Mark the Area

  • Set the Boundaries: Use stakes and string to mark the area to be levelled.
  • Measure the Slope: Place two stakes at the highest and lowest points of the slope. Tie a string between them and use a spirit level to ensure it’s straight.

Step 3: Remove Existing Vegetation

  • Clear the Area: Remove grass, weeds, and any existing plants. Use a shovel or a garden rake to ensure the surface is clear of debris.

Step 4: Excavate the Area

  • Start Digging: Begin excavating the higher areas of the garden. Remove excess soil and transfer it to lower areas to start creating a level surface.
  • Check the Soil Condition: Ensure the soil is not too wet. If you encounter wet soil, allow it to dry before proceeding.

Step 5: Build Retaining Walls (if necessary)

  • Choose Materials: Use house bricks, reclaimed railway sleepers, or breeze blocks for constructing retaining walls.
  • Construct the Wall: Build retaining walls at the lower end of steep slopes to support the soil. This helps in maintaining the structural integrity of your garden.
  • Add Weep Holes: Ensure good drainage by adding weep holes at the bottom of the walls to prevent soil erosion.

Step 6: Fill and Level the Soil

  • Add Topsoil: Spread high-quality topsoil over the area. Use a garden rake to distribute it evenly.
  • Compact the Soil: Use a soil compactor to compact the soil and remove any air pockets.
  • Check the Level: Use a spirit level frequently to ensure the ground level is even throughout the garden.

Step 7: Prepare for Planting

  • Create a Level Surface: Ensure the surface is smooth and level. Use a lawn roller to compact the soil further.
  • Mix Compost: Add compost to the soil to enrich it and promote healthy plant growth.

Step 8: Plant Grass or Turf

  • Sow Grass Seed: Evenly scatter grass seed over the levelled surface. Alternatively, lay new turf for an instant lawn.
  • Water Regularly: Water the new lawn area regularly to ensure the grass or turf establishes well.
  • Compact the Turf: Use a lawn roller to help the turf roots take hold and create a smooth surface.

Step 9: Maintain the New Lawn

  • Monitor and Adjust: Keep an eye on the lawn for any settling or uneven areas. Add soil and grass seed as needed to maintain a level lawn.
  • Regular Maintenance: Water the area regularly and mow the lawn to keep it in top condition.

For additional guidance or professional help, consider exploring services like those offered by Beautiful Garden.

By following these steps, you can level your garden effectively and enjoy a beautiful, functional outdoor space. Whether you’re looking to create a play area, install a swimming pool, or simply enhance your garden’s aesthetics, these instructions will help you achieve your goals.

Additional Tips

When learning how to level a garden, it’s helpful to keep these additional tips in mind to ensure the best results:

  • Use a Thin Layer: When filling in low spots, add soil in thin layers to avoid creating air pockets. Compact each layer thoroughly with a soil compactor.
  • Choose the Right Materials: Depending on your needs, you have a few options for materials. For example, reclaimed railway sleepers or house bricks can make durable and attractive retaining walls.
  • Consider Alternatives: If maintaining natural grass seems challenging, consider using easily cleanable artificial grass. It provides a low-maintenance option that stays green year-round.
  • Manage Exposed Soil: Cover exposed soil quickly to prevent erosion. Plant new grass or lay new turf as soon as possible.
  • Create Terraces: For a sloped garden, creating stair-like terraces with retaining walls can help manage the slope and provide flat planting areas.
  • Mixing Soil: Use a levelling mixture of soil, sand, and compost to fill in uneven areas. This helps maintain the health and structure of your lawn.
  • Decking and Landscaping: If you’re planning to lay decking, make sure the ground underneath is perfectly level to prevent future issues.


Levelling a garden can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and tools, it can be a manageable and rewarding project. By following our step-by-step guide on how to level a garden, you can transform an uneven lawn or sloped garden into a beautiful, functional outdoor space. Whether you plan to lay new grass, install decking, or create a series of terraces, ensuring your garden is level will enhance both its aesthetics and usability.

Remember to take your time with each step, from preparing the existing soil to constructing retaining walls, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. By doing so, you’ll create a garden that not only looks great but also serves as a versatile space for all your outdoor activities.

Wondering what to read next? Check out our guide on how to make a raised garden here: