A lawn roller is a piece of gardening equipment that is used to level the surface of the lawn, allowing it to look neat, flat, beautiful and professional. It also assists in the establishment of new turf, ensuring the soil beneath compacts so grass seeds adhere to it easily. It also works to remove unsightly bumps caused in the lawn due to rodents and improves drainage. Although a lawn roller is not a regular feature of a home gardener's gardening equipment, it is needed at some point or another, more often during the time new turf is being established.
How to Use a Lawn Roller
Purchase a lawn roller from your local home department store or garden supply center, or rent it from your local rental company for a day or several, depending on the scale of operation. There are many different sizes and types available, made from concrete, steel or polyethylene.
Walk through your lawn to locate any bulges or protrusions and demarcate them with powdered chalk. These can occur due to rodents or the natural phenomenon called "frost heaving"--first freezing, then thawing, of soil in the winter, causing it to expand, then contract.
Use a shovel to dig around each bump until it is in the same level with the surrounding lawn. Collect the sod and dirt in a wheelbarrow to dispose of.
Unscrew the cap of the drum in the lawn roller and fill it with water from a garden hose so it becomes heavy. Place the lawn roller over the soil where you removed the bump, and begin pushing and pulling it as you would with a lawn mower, moving in short strokes.
Level the spot before moving to another one, ensuring it is even with the surrounding turf.
Use a lawn roller to prepare the soil prior to planting a new lawn, whether by sod or seed. Roll the entire length of the area where you want to establish a lawn so it is even. Make sure you push it in straight lines, covering one section of the area before moving to another. For large areas, simply tow it to the ride in the back of a lawn mower at slow speed, thus saving time and energy.
Review your area to ensure it is completely even, then spread your grass seed by hand or with a spreader, or sow sod over it.
Fill your lawn roller with water up to its halfway mark, and gently push it over the seeded area to push them down and ensure good seed-to-soil contact. It also helps push roots of the sod down to ensure a good bond.