How to Level Uneven Backyard (by Hand or Tractor)

Uneven yards are annoyingly common, which is why we’ve created this simple guide to explain how to level uneven backyard.

When your backyard has a slope, even a minor one, it’ll make your garden look odd.

It’s awkward to walk on or place the patio furniture on. Not to mention, it’s unsafe for kids to play on uneven surfaces.

So, let’s get to it and learn how to level an uneven yard.

Level uneven backyard by tractor
Source: zaphad1 (Flickr)

Why my backyard is uneven

The unevenness of a backyard may occur due to natural reasons or by accident.

For instance, the water level could have caused this type of problem in the first place before human intervention occurred.

If this is so, don’t worry as there are ways to even your uneven starting from manually leveling up other areas to using machine power.

In this article, we will talk about:

How you can even or fix uneven backyard using:

  1. The manual way
  2. With a tractor

How to level uneven backyard by hand

If you want to know how to level it by hand, it will help if you have some equipment and materials ready for this task.

Here is what you need:  

  1. Shovels
  2. Rakes
  3. Wheelbarrow or garden cart
  4. Some helpers (to get rid of excess soil while leveling)

Now that you have everything that’s needed, let’s start straight away with the instructions on how to level our backyard manually.

1. Find out how uneven your backyard exactly is.

You could use a measuring tape to measure spans from the highest point of the area you want to level and compare them with the lowest part.

You may also determine how much area you have in leveling up by multiplying how many feet are available by how many inches you need it to be even.

It would help if this were written down somewhere for reference later on.

2. Prepare to dig out soil

Start from high spots and adding it to low places or vice versa depending on where you need more soil instead.

The best way to do this is by making a grid in a specific design for you not to miss any spot when you are working on it.

3. Digging starts

Use the shovels that have been prepared for this job to get rid of excess dirt where needed.  

  1. Start digging areas marked by the first two lines vertically until you get to about 18 inches below ground level (or how deep you need).
  2. Dig horizontally, starting in line one and ending at either 3 or 4, which will depend on how many you’ve made vertical lines before you reach this horizontal row.
  3. Proceed to fill up the area with soil from the other grid, as mentioned earlier.
  4. In the second line, dig out how deep you have planned until you’ve reached how deep you have just dug on those spots that are below the first line, and then fill up those areas using the soil you removed.

Use a shovel to fill in one area at a time, don’t try inserting it all at once, or else there is a risk of collapsing your structure.

It will help if you have helpers for this stage, especially when it comes to filling in both areas with soil since this could be tiring for your back already.

That’s how to level an uneven backyard by hand.

How to use a tractor to level uneven backyard

You’ll want to find the proper tractor attachment for the job.

A tilling blade, plow, or sod cutter should do the trick.

If you’re using a tiller blade, make sure you’re only scooping up dirt and not rocks or other debris that could damage your blades.

If you’re using a plow, make sure that your blade is at least three inches higher than the ground.

With a sod cutter, make sure the top is level with how high you need it to be by adjusting how much dirt it’s cutting through.

We will be using a sod cutter in the following steps because it’s easier to use and more beneficial for these kinds of jobs.

3 easy steps to level uneven backyard by hand
Source: Jim Belford (Flickr)

Levelling using a tractor with a sod cutter attachment

The best way to use a sod cutter is by making two parallel lines with how high the ground needs to be.

Then, you will make circular motions through each line until all of the soil in between has been removed.

To get rid of excess dirt and rocks that could damage your blades when leveling up, just run over them later on when you’re done digging in parts above where the blade is connected, and it should automatically be picked up and thrown away in one area.

If stubborn areas need extra work, extend your blade, so more soil is removed without affecting how even your whole garden will look afterward.

It will help if you know how to level your backyard before starting to do it by hand or even with a machine.

How much will it cost to level up an uneven backyard with a tractor

It would cost around $450 to level up using a tractor, depending on how big of a yard you have and how many hours you’ll need.

You also have to consider how many tools are needed for leveling your backyard, how much time it will take doing it yourself, or hiring someone else to do the job for you, depending on how bad is the condition of your backyard.


That’s how to level uneven backyard by hand or use a tractor to level an uneven backyard.

I hope this article will help you level an uneven backyard by hand or machine.