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How to Fix My Lumpy Lawn

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Rakes and shovels are useful tools for resurfacing your lawn.
garden tools image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com

If your lawn is bumpy, with rises, dips or potholes, it can look unpleasant. But a lumpy lawn can create drainage problems, causing water to damage the foundation of your home, leak into your basement or kill your grass where it puddles. Lumpy lawns are also harder to mow and can create a hazard for playing children. To make your lawn look smoother, regrade the surface.

Remove your existing sod layer in strips with a sod cutter.

Break up the soil by passing a rototiller over the soil in strips. Make two passes over your lawn with the tiller and change directions for your second pass.

Rake the soil to even out the texture. Smooth out rises and fill in dips as you rake. Your soil should slope away from your home at a rate of 2 to 3 inches for every 10 feet, and should be level with the pavement or sidewalk at the end of your home.

Dig samples of your soil and send them to a laboratory for testing.

Apply soil amendments in the amount recommended by the results of your soil test. Most lawns will need a nitrogen-rich fertilizer (3-1-2) as well as compost and manure. Additional amendments may include gypsum to break up compacted soil and improve drainage as well as dolomitic limestone to raise the pH of your soil or powdered sulfur to lower your soil’s pH.

Mix the amendments into the soil with your rototiller. Rake your soil again until it is smooth and firm.

Lay sod in strips or mats over the top of your soil. Stagger each mat so that there is no uniform seam where the sod pieces abut. Work from a straight edge, such as the point where the yard meets the sidewalk, and work your way out.

Roll the sod with a sod roller to force roots into contact with the soil.

Water up to four times daily for the first 14 days. Gradually reduce the frequency of water to 1 inch per 10 days.


Things You Will Need

  • Sod cutter
  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer (3-1-2)
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Gypsum
  • Dolomitic limestone
  • Powdered sulfur
  • Sod
  • Sod roller
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler


  • Most states have an agricultural or land-grant college with a soil-testing facility and a community and continuing education and extension program. By contacting the extension program, locate the soil-testing facility for your state. Follow this facility's guidelines for a soil test.

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.