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Mowing uneven grounds, this is how you do it

Mowing is an important lawn care job. The evolution of technology and the many improvements for lawnmower have made it even easier. Older machines had many complicated settings. Now you only need to set your mower’s blades’ height and run it over the lawn. Modern mowers also collect the grass’s clippings, make the job easy for you, or even fully automatically cut your grass. But mowing an uneven lawn can still be a great challenge despite the availability of these excellent mowers in the market. 

Mowing uneven grounds, this is how you do it:

Mowing uneven grounds can be tricky. If you have rough patches, increase the mower height just before reaching the spot, and decrease the speed. If you have a Hover mower, use that for mowing uneven grounds. These mowers hover slightly above the surface, which makes them adapt according to the surface level. If you have slopped parts in your lawn, you should try to avoid scalping. This will happen mostly at the top of the slope. Increase the mower height slightly just before the front of the mowing deck reaches the top. If you have rough patches, leveling them is always the best option.

This article will further look into leveling your uneven lawn. It will discuss various methods that can help you with this and how to cut uneven patches best.

Mowing uneven areas in your lawn

If you have uneven areas in your garden, the best way is to try to level them. Uneven lawns diminish the beauty of your house. They are also not suitable for any activity like playing or running. Uneven areas are always difficult to mow. There is always a chance of scalping. Scalping occurs when the mower deck comes close to or hits the ground. It is always difficult to mow at an even height at slopes.

Mowing at slopes increases the risk of damaging the lawn as the mower blades might cut into the ground. This happens when the front of the lawnmower cutting deck is already over the top of the slope and the back of the deck not. At that time, the blades will be closer to the grass, depending on the slope. This means that the grass will not be cut evenly or may hit the soil. This may affect your mower as well, along with damaging your yard. If you use a tractor to mow the lawn, you should never drive straight across the sloping due to the risk of tripping over.

Try to dive straight up and down across the slope. This will reduce the risk of tripping over, and it will also help in mowing across the challenging slopes. To avoid scalping at uneven grounds, raise the deck of the mower and cut the grass taller just before you reach the top of the slope. When the whole lawnmower has reached the top, you can set the height back to its original setting. This can help in alleviating the problem of mowing at slopes.

Choosing the right lawnmower for your uneven lawn is also important. Simple push lawn mowers are less suitable for sloping areas as they are unable to cut at bumps or depressions. If your lawn has gentle hills or steep slopes, then a hover mower is suitable for your lawn. Hover lawnmowers are more suitable for cutting uneven grounds.

These mowers hover above the ground, making them easy to push and adept at mowing uneven surfaces. These mowers are not designed to touch the ground, and thus they can be perfect for uneven grounds. The Hover mower creates a cushion of air between the lawn and the lawnmower. This cushion of air helps the mower get raised from the lawn’s surface, allowing the mower’s blades to cut the grass.

Unlike the traditional rotary lawnmowers that come with wheels, these mowers can be moved easily in any direction. The weight of hover mowers is less than the rotary mowers, and they are easy to push/pull up and down the slopes. These mowers are incredibly maneuverable since they don’t sit on the wheels. Mowing the uneven areas in your lawn can be very easy with the help of these mowers. If you have an oddly-shaped lawn or a lawn that contains many things that need to be maneuvered around, hover mowers suits you the best.

If you have a large lawn with uneven parts, a sitting lawnmower will be a better solution. These mower types are less capable of cutting uneven parts, but they can deal much better with your lawn size. When you reach the uneven or rough parts, decrease your speed, and increase the mowing height. Try to find the best height for these parts, but always keep your speed down. After leaving those areas, you can return the height to its normal setting.

Causes of uneven lawn

Various natural and unnatural causes make areas of your lawn uneven over a period of time. Settling, drainage issues, heavy garden equipment, repeated mowing in the same pattern are the most common issues that contribute to the lawn’s unevenness. Lawns naturally settle unevenly over time, or they may settle with new construction.

The small settled areas can be fixed by topdressing, but if the lawn has settled by an inch or more, you need to remove the sod, fill the settling area and then return the sod. You might see bumps and bulges in your yard during the spring thaw if you have clay soil and you live in an area where the soil freezes in winters. This issue can be solved by aeration of soil that breaks up the surface soil, redistributed.

Animals, children, and pests can also cause your lawn to be uneven. Wild or domestic animals may create low-lying areas in your lawn. For example, your dog may enjoy digging your lawn for unknown treasures. Children and pets playing or walking across a soggy lawn may cause depressions. Pests like voles, moles, and grubs can cause holes and mounds in your lawn. Mowing your lawn in the same pattern can cause ruts to develop.

Drainage issues or broken water or irrigation pipes also cause bumps and depressions in your lawn. If you notice low spots around the areas where there may be water or drainage pipes, you must make sure that there is no leakage in the pipes. Similarly, a sprinkler system is also a common cause of soil erosion since the water lines are prone to damage. It would be best to make sure that the rotors are working properly and the nozzles are not damaged, and that the heads are not leaking.

Having a thin lawn from a disease or pest problem which weakens the area is also a common cause of bumpiness in the lawn. Patches of bare soil are created as a result of having a thin lawn, and with the passage of time, these patches erode due to rainfall, wind, or any other activity on the lawn resulting in depressions when compared to the nearby healthy areas of the lawn.

Leveling out your lawn   

Before getting started, you must assess the severity of unevenness in your lawn. This will dictate your approach towards leveling it. For example, if you have slight bumps and holes in your lawn, you can fix them by topdressing. However, if the problem is severe, then you have to adopt more aggressive treatment such as re-grading.

There are several methods to level an uneven lawn. Depending on the unevenness of your lawn, you can choose any of the methods for repairing your uneven lawn. One common trick to level your lawn is sweeping under the carpet. You can cut out the turf’s uneven patch, add soil underneath it, and lay the patch back. In this way, you can level the lawn without having any unsightliness of bare turf, which happens with the other methods. 

● Leveling small irregularities

Small bumps can be leveled by stepping on them during the spring months or flattening them by using a water roller. You need to fill the roller with water and roll back and forth over the bumpy area on your lawn. If the surface hasn’t smoothed out, repeat the process by adding a little more water until it levels down.

Topdressing is one of the best methods for leveling mildly uneven areas. It involves the spreading of leveling mix of topsoil, compost, and fine sand. Sand is used to providing good drainage, while compost adds nutrients to the soil and promotes grass growth. Play sand is the best soil to use in this process.

An ideal mixture for topdressing includes 40 percent topsoil, 40 percent sand, and 20 percent compost. The basic steps involved in this method are:

  • Step 1. Lowest setting: Set your mower to the lowest possible setting and mow the grass.
  • Step 2. Mix correctly: Mix the leveling mix thoroughly so that the sand and the compost are fully blended with the soil.
  • Step 3. The top: Apply up to half an inch of the mixture on the top of the low areas.
  • Step 4. Rake: To spread the topdressing evenly, rake it.
  • Step 5. Push boom: Use a push broom to brush the grass back and forth to work the mixture down while lifting the grass blades up as grass can’t thrive if it’s covered with soil.
  • Step 6. Watering: Water the area where the mixture is applied. Avoid overwatering. Otherwise, you might wash away the mixture.
  • Step 7. Monitoring: Monitor the progress in the area. You may repeat this process several times if the grass is still not even until it is level.

● Sweeping under the carpet

This is another technique to level small-medium sunken areas that are covered with grass. The steps involved in this method are:

  • Step 1. Edges: Cut the turf along the edges of the sunken area.
  • Step 2. Remove the patch: Remove the patch carefully, making sure that you don’t cause any root damage.
  • Step 3. Spread the topsoil: Spread a layer of topsoil or potting soil over the cut area enough to level the patch with the surrounding lawn.
  • Step 4. Place the patch: Place the turf patch by pressing the grass back to its place with your hands.
  • Step 5. Water and monitor: Water the grass and monitor the patch carefully. The patch is under the stress of being removed, so it may take extra care to recover.

● Leveling out severely uneven lawn

If you have large depressions and bumps in your lawn, top dressing and sweeping under the carpet method will not be sufficient to solve the problem. Re-grading and establishing a new lawn might be the only option you have.

It would be best if you always create a slope mowing away from your house to drain properly while re-grading. Your slope should be approximately two to three inches every ten feet. The important steps involved in regarding the lawn are:

  • Step 1. Slope line: Use a transit level to establish a slope line for the lawn to drain properly.
  • Step 2. Remove the topsoil: Once the slope is established, remove the topsoil from the problem areas and fill in the low areas accordingly.
  • Step 3. Spread 2 inches of topsoil: To avoid drainage problems between two layers of soil, spread two inches of topsoil and till it into the first two inches of subsoil.
  • Step 4. Spread the remaining topsoil: Spread the rest of the topsoil up to at least four inches.
  • Step 5. Lay the sod: Once the final grade is established, you can lay the sod, or you can start grass from seed.

Best time to level your lawn

Spring is the best time to level your lawn and get rid of the bumps and holes in your yard. Warm days and cool nights make it a good season to repair lumps and bumps. This season will allow your grass to grow healthy, and it will also provide the moisture necessary to help set the soil.

It will be easy for the grass in your lawn to recover from the stress in this season. But, it can also turn out to be the worst time if the soil is soggy. Too much traffic on the lawn can cause new bumps as the ground might be very soft due to the snowmelt. So, always wait until the soil has had a chance to dry out.

Preventative measures

To keep your lawn level, you must take some preventative measures to avoid creating bumps and depressions in the lawn. The two main things you can do are:

  • Cutting patterns: Change the cutting pattern while mowing as it will help you to avoid creating ruts from your lawnmower wheels.
  • When wet: Don’t walk or put much traffic on your lawn when it’s very wet.
  • Pest control: Apply pest control to your lawn on a regular basis so that pests like moles and voles don’t dig holes in your lawn.

Final Word

To mow uneven areas in your lawn you should increase the height and lower the mowers speed. But if you have uneven areas in your lawn, it is advisable to try to level them with the rest of your lawn. This will not only add to the beauty of your lawn and give it a pleasant look, but it will also reduce the extra effort that you need for mowing rough areas.

Assess the unevenness in your lawn and choose the method that suits the scenario. If you have small bumps and depressions, then level your lawn with topdressing or sweeping under the carpet method. However, if you have steep slopes or gentle hills in your lawn and you can’t level the lawn due to certain reasons, don’t worry! Modern technology has paved the way for this problem.