How to Sand Your Lawn

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Sand is useful for filling in low areas and leveling an uneven lawn.
Sand is useful for filling in low areas and leveling an uneven lawn. (Image: TeodoraDjordjevic/iStock/Getty Images)

Uneven lawns are difficult to mow and may conceal hazardous dips that could cause you or members of your family to trip and fall. You have multiple options to level uneven lawns, but some require specialized equipment or large amounts of work. After that, it can take months for your lawn to recover its former look. To avoid equipment rental costs, excessive work and potential lawn damage, consider leveling your lawn with sand instead.

Leveling With Sand

When leveling your yard with sand, you should actually use a mixture of sand and soil instead of sand by itself. Shovel or pour the sand mixture a little at a time into holes or low areas in the yard, then sweep the area over with a broom or rake to arrange the sand around the existing grass so it can grow up through the sand mixture. Build up the sand a layer at a time until the filled area is level with the surrounding yard. As the grass continues to grow, it will spread roots through the sand mixture to create a level patch of lawn over the course of several weeks.

Lawn Health Issues

Pure sand shouldn't be used to level your yard because it can lead to issues with the health of your lawn, especially if the underlying soil contains a lot of clay. Because sand drains freely and clay drains slowly, placing only sand over clay-heavy soil can lead to drainage issues and water pooling that can kill grass and other plants. The sand and clay may also combine to create a hard layer that is difficult for roots to grow through. This layer, which is sometimes described as being like concrete, may impede future planting efforts.

Mixing Sand and Soil

Instead of using only sand to level your yard, consider mixing sand and soil to fill areas in yards. Use a 50/50 mixture of sand and potting or planting soil, mixed thoroughly in a wheelbarrow or other container. This will help you avoid drainage issues while keeping the filler material light and thin enough for grass to easily grow through. Some gardeners take this a step further and use a mixture of equal parts compost, soil and sand, or eliminate the sand entirely and use only compost and soil.

When to Level

Proper timing is an important part of quick lawn recovery after leveling. Filling and leveling should be done during periods when the grass is growing vigorously to achieve the fastest possible recovery for your lawn. Filling low areas in lawns with warm-season grasses should be done in the spring and early summer, while cool-season grasses require filling in the fall.

Leveling Larger Areas

While sand leveling is ideal for smaller holes and uneven areas, it also allows you to level larger areas in your yard. The same technique is used for large shallow areas, filling the area a layer at a time and sweeping or raking the sand to allow the grass to grow through. For deeper depressions, cut the sod and remove it, then fill the area with sand or a soil mixture. Place the removed sod on top of the filler, watering thoroughly to encourage root growth.

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