What are the Bumps on my Lawn?

Q.I have a lawn that was laid earlier this year and is growing well but it has very slight bumps in it, not noticable to the eye, but certainly when mowing. Additionally, there is a 3ft strip which, very slightly, slopes away at one side and falls below the edge of the adjoining path.

I am quite prepared to put some work into rectifying this but would like to know firstly, what materials do I need to use and what ratios to even out and raise the lawn, secondly how do I actually achieve a more level surface.

(Mr Dave Logan, 10 September 2008)

A.Although it’s hard to be sure without seeing the problem first hand, it sounds as if the ground under your lawn has given a bit over the summer and this settling has resulted in the bumps you describe – at least assuming there’s no more obvious cause such as an army of moles! It’s obviously difficult to say why this might have happened – small areas of slightly under-compacted base would be one explanation, but it might be something as simple as localised differences in the underlying soil make-up. In any case, in practical terms the “why” really isn’t that important.

When you say your lawn was laid, I’m assuming firstly that we’re talking turf and secondly that someone other than you did the laying. Clearly, if that is correct and you had an external professional lay it, the sensible thing might be to ring up and ask for a little advice from whoever did the work, not least because they should have a pretty good idea of the type and consistency of the soil and the nature of your site.

Doing It Yourself

However, if there isn’t a landscape gardener to ask because you laid the lawn yourself and since you seem prepared to do the work to fix it, there are a few things you could do to go some way towards making things better. Do please remember that soil and climate factors can make a huge difference and not knowing anything about your specific plot makes giving advice extremely difficult, so apologies in advance if what I’ve got to suggest doesn’t really help.

Since you say your grass is growing well, it’s probably a bad idea to disturb it. Instead you’ll need to lay in a supply of sand – your local garden centre or DIY shop should be able to advise you on the most appropriate kind for your soil/area. Start off by gently aerating your ground with a rotary aerator or a garden fork – but don’t be too enthusiastic; you need to be gentle with a young lawn! Scatter the sand over the ground, especially in the “troughs” and the sloping edge you describe, gently rake it to get a rough level and then you’ll need a roller. Tool hire shops and some garden centres sometimes have these to hire. Alternatively you could try making friends with the local cricket club grounds-man – outside of the season you might be able to arrange a suitable loan.

The rest of it involves sanding, then rolling, then sanding again, gradually filling in the hollows and aiming to even things up, allowing the grass to grow through and gradually establish a new level lawn. Little and often is the key here.

Depending on the size of your grassed area, it could end up being a rather physically demanding job – but it shouldn’t be too expensive – and hopefully it’ll be worth it in the long run.

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