How to level your yard in 8 steps
Whether you are planning a beautiful patio, paving a driveway or installing an above-ground pool, leveling the ground is an important step. Whatever your reason, you need to do it right to ensure that your soil is perfectly level and avoid the risk of instability.
In this article, the experts at Excavation Chanthier explain step by step how to level your yard like a pro.
Step 1: Get the right tools
Regardless how large the area to be leveled is, you will need to obtain some high performance equipment and tools. If you want to level a relatively large or very uneven piece of land, you may want to consider renting a mini-excavator. Depending on the extent of your earthworks, you can also purchase a lawn roller that will compact the land after it has been turned over and smoothed.
Equipment needed for a small surface area
- A spirit level
- A pitchfork and a pickaxe
- A rake and a shovel
- A leveling roller
Equipment needed for a moderate surface area
- A rototiller or tiller
- A leveling roller
- A long wooden board or ladder
Equipment required for a large surface area
- An excavator
- A steamroller
- A rock picker and an uprooting machine
Step 2: Mark out the area to be leveled
Before starting to level your land, you need to define the area to be levelled. This will help you visualize the area to be worked. Plant wooden stakes in the ground and connect them with a string stretched between them to mark out the area.
It doesn’t matter if all your stakes are planted at the same height. The important thing is that your string is well positioned horizontally.
Step 3: Determine the grade of the land
At this stage, you need to determine how high you want your land to be leveled. For a perfectly flat surface, we recommend that you draw a string between the opposite stakes.
Start at the highest point of the ground at the foot of the stake and pull your string horizontally to the opposite stake. You can then check that the string is perfectly level using a spirit level.
Step 4: Loosen the soil
Levelling a plot of land involves moving the soil from the highest point to the lowest point of the area you have marked off. There are several ways to do this:
- For a small surface area, you can use a pickaxe and a pitchfork
- For a moderate surface area, you can use a rototiller or tiller. This will allow you to lift up to two feet of soil (60 cm) with little effort
- For larger areas, we recommend renting an excavator
If you don’t have the right equipment to level your property, you can always ask for professional help. Excavation companies in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec can do the work for you.
Step 5: Remove stones and roots
Once the soil has been loosened, it will be easier for you to remove the larger stones and roots that can obstruct the proper leveling of your land. This tedious task is usually done by hand. However, if you are working a large area, you can use a rock picker and an uprooting machine to help you.
Step 6: Feed the soil
Depending on what you want to do with your space, it may be helpful to feed the soil. If you intend to grow crops, feed the soil with compost, dried manure or fertilizer.
If you want to build an above-ground pool, a garden shed or a garage, we recommend mixing fine sand with the soil to prevent plant growth.
Step 7: Level and pack the soil
After preparing the terrain, it’s time to level the ground. Here again, you have several options:
- Use a rake and shovel to move the soil from the highest to the lowest level
- Use a long wooden board or ladder to plane the soil from the highest to the lowest level. This is best done by two people
- Use a steam roller for larger areas
After this process, you can begin to compact the soil with a leveling roller (for small to moderately sized areas) or by using a steam roller. This will immediately correct any small defects in your soil.
Step 8: Let the soil rest for 48 hours
Soil is a living substance. It will “work itself” according to the weather conditions and its composition. We recommend letting it rest for at least 48 hours.
You can sprinkle the soil with water 3 to 4 times during this time to help it settle. Don’t walk on it or put anything on top of it as this could upset the level of the soil.
After 48 hours, we recommend packing your soil a second time with a flattening roller or a steam roller. As soon as your soil is dry, it should no longer move. Your ground is now properly levelled.
Get professional help to level your yard
Leveling a yard is a complex technical process that requires a certain amount of expertise. It requires a minimum of two people and the proper tools to carry it out. Professional excavation help is therefore highly recommended.
Do you live in the Greater Montreal area and want to level your yard?
At Excavation Chantier, we have extensive expertise gained from working on countless excavation projects. Tell us about your project so that we can provide you with a clear and detailed quote for a turnkey service!
Contact us now to find out more.