Cost to Level or Regrade a Yard | Angi (2023)

Yard Leveling and Grading Cost Factors

At the risk of stating the obvious, you’re undergoing a major landscaping project. You may need to clear the land of trees, purchase sod, and take into account any permits that go into the project.


The labor costs to regrade a yard are around $50 per hour. If the landscaping company you hire needs to clear the land, dig out any areas, and then put in the dirt, you’re looking at around 12 to 24 hours’ worth of labor. This will bring the total cost of labor to about $900 on average.

Land Clearing

Trees, boulders, and any other landscaping features are likely going to need to be removed. The cost to clear land is around $750 to $2,300, depending on how many trees you have on your property.

More trees and larger trees significantly raise the price, as it requires extensive safety precautions to keep the tree clear of structures (and people). You might also need to hire a grading hauling company near you to remove debris.

Land Surveying

The average land survey costs $500, with the final price depending on the size and topography of your yard. This could be money well spent to ensure you aren’t leveling a bit of land that doesn’t belong to you. The last thing you want is to start a boundary dispute with new neighbors.

Fill and Topsoil

Fill dirt is rocky material that’s ideal for packing in pockets during a regrade. It costs between $5 and $15 per cubic yard. How much you need depends on what’s available to relocate from elsewhere in your yard.

Topsoil goes down over the fill dirt. You’ll pay between $12 and $55 per cubic yard. Topsoil costs more than fill dirt because it’s full of nutrients to help nurture a lush landscape.

(Video) Regrading The Backyard // Smoothing Things Out Before Top Soil and Sand


There’s no way around it: Leveling will do a number on your lawn. Unless you want your new level yard to look like a desert, you should put in fresh sod to make the lawn look up to par again. The cost of sod installation for an entire yard is around $1,850, so your price may be lower if you’re only resodding a portion.


Another option is hydroseeding your lawn.

“Hydroseeding is grass seed mixed with water and then sprayed onto the lawn,” explains Tara Dudley, Angi Expert Review Board member and landscape designer. “It requires less water initially and is easier to establish. Plus, you can customize the seed mix for the type of lawn you are trying to establish, whether in the shade or sun.”


Grading typically requires permits and inspections to make sure you avoid damaging underground pipes and wires. If anything happens to them, you or your entire street could be without water or electricity—and that’s not a great way to score points with the neighbors.

Permits will cost around $100 to $500, depending on the city and county where you live. You also need to call your underground utility company before you proceed so they can mark out the lines, Dudley advises.


Once your yard is level, you can start landscaping. One of the biggest benefits of clearing out land and leveling is that you have a blank slate to create your dream garden. So if you always wanted that lime tree to pick fresh limes for Taco Tuesday, now’s your chance.

The cost of landscaping sits at around $4,000, depending on how big of a project you’re looking to do. You can cut down on this cost by planting trees and shrubs yourself, but it still might be worth it to call a landscaper for a consultation who can give pointers and help with placement.

(Video) How to Grade your Property

Retaining Walls

To prevent erosion on steep slopes, you may need to build a retaining wall. A retaining wall costs around $5,350 on average. While the cost is steep (no pun intended), it will save your lawn from needing another leveling within a few months. And, Dudley says, doing retaining wall work now will save you from having to tear up that beautiful new lawn later on.

French Drains

Do you get big puddles on your lawn that won’t drain away after a downpour? This is a common reason for regrading your yard. When yard flooding is frequent and extreme, a contractor may suggest fitting a French drain at the same time to prevent problems around your foundations. The average cost to install a French drain is $5,000.

Cost to Level a Yard by Project

The part of your outdoor space you’re regrading and why plays a big role in calculating the final cost to level your yard. Check out these common regrading projects below to give you a better idea.

Cost to Level or Regrade a Yard | Angi (1)

Regrade Around Your House

When the ground immediately around your home isn’t sloping away sufficiently, you could face some fuss with your foundations. Regrading around your home’s foundation typically costs $1,000 to $3,000. It’s money well spent if you want to avoid full-on foundation repairs, like fixing cracks, leaning walls, or leaky basements.

Cost to Flatten a Hill or Slope in Your Yard

Have you had enough of pushing your mower up a hill? Iron out that knoll to make a sloping lawn a more functional and family-friendly space. Expect to pay $1,000 to $5,000 for hill flattening.

Pool Leveling

Leveling the space in your yard for a pool costs $200 to $850. You don’t want to shell out the cost to install an above-ground pool if it’s sitting on uneven ground. Over time, the wonky walls and liners will lead to damage and potential pool collapse.

(Video) How To Find Grade | Drainage And Landscaping

Driveway Leveling

Regrading the average 640-square-foot two-car driveway is $1,500 to $9.500. If your existing drive always pools water after you hose down your car, don’t push ahead with a driveway makeover without doing this first. The seeping water can cause premature cracks.

Leveling for Patio, Deck, or Playset

Rather than coughing up for the extra materials needed for a raised deck, patio, or porch, consider paying $500 to $1,000 for a lawn leveling service. While decks still benefit from some ventilation underneath, you won’t have to go so high, and you could make savings overall.

Leveling for Fences

You can easily install your fence on a slope, but if you're a fan of uniform aesthetics, you might want to level the land first. You’ll have an additional $900 to $3,000 to pay on top of the cost of installing the fence.

How Much Does It Cost to Level a Yard Yourself?

While you can DIY yard leveling, it isn’t recommended unless you’re familiar with using a grader and have the time. Leveling an area on your own can be backbreaking work, and there’s no guarantee of success because the yard can shift and destroy all of your progress. You’re also messing with the ground around the foundation of your home, which can lead to serious problems.

If you’re good to go to handle it, though, here are the items you’ll need:

  • String level: $2

  • Grader: $550 per day

    (Video) HOW TO FIX A NEGATIVE SLOPE | Basement Drainage Tips!

  • Dirt: $15 per cubic yard

  • Sod: $1–$2 per square foot

  • Sod cutter: $1,000

  • Shovel: $8

  • Stakes: $7 for a pack of six

  • Permits: $300

If you’re tackling this project yourself, expect this to take around five to seven days to complete. You can speed up this project if you have access to an excavator and other heavy machinery.

(Video) Turning a STEEP Hill into a Flat yard #1

But again, we recommend leaving this job to the professionals. Hiring a local landscaping grading company can help ensure you get the right grade the first time around. Guessing and regrading again can cost upwards of $400 for each regrade—not to mention the time and backaches.


How much does foundation regrade cost? ›

Labor usually costs about $50 per hour, and permits typically run between $100 and $500. Smaller jobs, like those around pools, patios, or a single side of a home's foundation, may run from $500 to $3,000. However, grading around an entire home is closer to the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

Is Leveling a yard worth it? ›

A level yard provides stability to your outdoor landscape. It also allows you to avoid serious damage and costly repairs to your foundation. Your lawn must slope away from your home gradually to allow rainwater to drain away slowly from your foundation.

How expensive is grading a yard? ›

Normal range: $1,004 - $3,223. The average U.S. homeowner spends about $2,113 to level a yard. Depending on permits, landscaping needs, and labor, most spend between $1,004 and $3,223 . If you have a smaller space, like a yard, patio, or pool area, it can cost as little as $400 for leveling services.

How much does it cost to fill in a sloped yard? ›

Grading a yard costs about $50 per hour of labor. The landscaping company you choose will have to clear the site, dig out any spots, then fill in the dirt, which will take 12 to 24 hours. On average, this will raise the total cost of labor to around $900.

How do I fix my uneven yard? ›

Use a rake and shovel to smooth out high areas and depressions. Dig out your sod and set it aside (ideally in a shady spot) until it's time to replant it. Mix equal parts topsoil, compost, and sand to make a topdressing mixture. Fill dips in your lawn with the topdressing until the area is level.

Is it easy to regrade a yard? ›

Regrading a yard is not a project that should be done on your own. It's best to leave it to skilled and experienced professionals who know just what it takes to get the job done right. When a regrading project is done incorrectly, you could be looking at much bigger problems down the road. Don't risk it.

What is the cheapest way to level a lawn? ›

Fill Dirt. If your land has only a few low spots in it, adding some fill dirt is a quick and easy fix. Use a lawn-leveling mix from your local garden center or mix sand with garden soil at a 1-to-1 ratio. Load up a wheelbarrow with the fill dirt mixture and shovel a 1/2-inch layer into the depressions.

What time of year should you level your lawn? ›

When to level your lawn. The best time of year to start your repairs is in spring once frosts have passed and grass is actively growing. This will allow grass seed time to grow in whilst providing sufficient moisture for the soil to settle.

Do I need to remove grass before leveling? ›

If you have any low spots or divots deeper than 2 or 3 inches, you should remove the grass on top of them before filling the holes.

Is grading a yard difficult? ›

This yard grading project, just like every other project, took a bit of planning. The actual grading of the yard wasn't difficult at all– except for the mix of 90 degree heat and manual labor. Despite its simplicity, here are some potential items you should address before starting the project.

Can you level a sloped backyard? ›

You can level your yard yourself on a budget, for next to nothing, using a rake, play sand and some soil from your yard. Firstly, level any small bumps (under one inch) with your feet, making sure the ground is moist when you step on them.

How do I know if my yard needs to be graded? ›

Here are some tell-tale signs that re-grading might be in order. Dips, humps, pooling water, and run-off are pretty basic signs that your yard might need some work. When the lawn mower mows off the top of the sod or you consistently fall into holes, something has gone awry.

How do I fix a steep slope in my yard? ›

Carving out part of the slope and adding a retaining wall to hold back the soil will allow you to create a flat area in your backyard. These can create planting areas, seating areas, or recreational areas for the family.

Can you put soil on top of grass to level? ›

Spread a layer of debris-free topsoil or potting soil into the hole—enough to bring the turf patch level with the surrounding lawn. As you work, water the soil lightly to remove air pockets; this helps to prevent future settling. Replace the turf patch, pressing the grass back into place with your hand or foot.

How do I level my existing lawn? ›

How to Level Your Lawn
  1. Step 1: Mow. Start out by mowing your lawn at a short height, but not short enough to scalp it. ...
  2. Step 2: Dethatch. ...
  3. Step 3: Broadcast Soil Mix. ...
  4. Step 4: Evenly Spread Topsoil Mix. ...
  5. Step 5: Water Your Grass and Topsoil.

Can I put topsoil over grass and reseed? ›

Adding soil over grass can be another effective form of repairing a lawn. It is possible to dump new soil over top of what you have, and prepare it for sod or seed. This option will save you money on excavation costs of removing the old soil and grass.

How long does it take to regrade yard? ›

Most yard grading jobs take from 2 or 3 days to a week. See below the average rental cost for grading equipment. (These costs are for DIY only – they do not include labor costs for a professional operator). Choosing the right piece of equipment depends on project and land.

What is the best way to grade around a house? ›

Ideally, the ground should drop one inch for every one foot that you move away from the house for the first 5-to-10 feet around your house. While this is not always possible, the ground should never be sloping upwards as you move away from your house foundation.

How do I smooth a bumpy lawn? ›

For a domestic lawn, topdressing is the perfect way to smooth out the surface of your lawn without going to the trouble of lifting it or returfing. Simply distribute the topdressing material around your lawn then work it into the sward using a broom or the back of your rake.

How do I level my yard without tearing up grass? ›

Gently Compacting the Soil

You can fill deep uneven sections of your lawn by compacting the soil gently and watering the section as you fill up the uneven areas. By piling loose dirt, the soil will settle without killing the grass. You can compact the soil by walking on it regularly.

What equipment do I need to grade my yard? ›

My Recommended Tools

Flathead shovel. Wheelbarrow. Topsoil for fill. Grass seed and seed mulch.

What tools do I need to level yard? ›

The basic equipment you will need to level a lawn is a simple rake, a landscaping rake, a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a large push broom. You can also buy a leveling rake from your local hardware store.

How long does it take for grass to grow after leveling? ›

Most grass seed will start growing in about 10-14 days, but sometimes it can take up to 30 days.

Should lawn be level or sloped? ›

A flat lawn is easier to mow. A level lawn means that more water can absorb into the soil, meaning it will have more nutrients. There is more space to relax on or for kids to play on.

Should I level my yard with dirt or sand? ›

The number one benefit to topdressing with sand is that it's the easiest and most effective way to level your lawn. Having used topsoil as well as various topdressing mixes over the years I can attest that sand is by far the easiest to spread (whether wet or dry).

What is the best material to level lawn? ›

Topdressing mix: Topdressing mix is a mix of sand, compost, and topsoil used to fill in depressions and unevenness throughout the entire yard. The sand keeps the lawn level, while the soil and compost add nutrients to the grass.

Should I aerate my lawn before leveling? ›

Run your irrigation system after the turf has been aerated. Aeration will help ensure your soil is ready to absorb all of the nutrients and seeds that come its way with topdressing and overseeding. That's why you should aerate before overseeding.

What is the best machine to level ground? ›

Bulldozers. Powerful earthmoving machines, bulldozers can use their front blade to perform all sorts of grading operations—from leveling the land for roads, buildings, landscaping, and railways to putting the finishing touches on already graded surfaces.

Can you level a slope without a retaining wall? ›

The maximum slope for the soil you can safely go without having a retaining wall is 35 degrees. This is especially important if the soil is granular. If the angle is steeper than 35 degrees, you need a retaining wall to keep the landscape in place.

Do you need planning permission to level a sloping garden? ›

However, the good news is that for levelling a garden, no planning permission is required. However, if what you're doing impacts bushes and trees that are protected, then you will require planning permission.

What is the best dirt to use around the foundation of a home? ›

Loam is the best soil type for construction due to its ideal combination of silt, sand, and clay. It combines the best of all their qualities into the ideal balance for supporting a foundation. Loam generally does not shift, expand, or shrink drastically and handles the presence of water very well.

What is the best landscaping for a slope? ›

Choose plants that will anchor the hillside, such as shrubs, ornamental grasses, and prairie plants, like coneflower, that form a mat of roots. All these plants hold the ground in place and require minimal maintenance during the growing season.

What is the best ground cover for a slope? ›

Steep, sunny slopes are perfect for perennials such as daylilies, creeping phlox, lamb's ears, stonecrop and a variety of ornamental grasses. A number of woody plants can also serve as good groundcovers, especially creeping juniper, fragrant sumac, bearberry, and Russian arborvitae.

How do you grade a sloping lawn? ›

  1. Step 1: Measure The Height And Run Of The Slope. ...
  2. Step 2: Rotovate And Water The Ground You'll Be Digging. ...
  3. Step 3: Build A Retaining Wall. ...
  4. Step 4: Reinforce The Retaining Wall With Soil. ...
  5. Step 5: Plant Your New Lawn.
Sep 16, 2021

How do you stop slope creep? ›

The two most common forms of slope creep mitigation are retaining walls (to intercept the slope) and steel pier underpinning (to secure and stabilize homes and decks against lateral movement).

Should I put rocks around my foundation? ›

Using rocks for drainage around a house's foundation helps prevent water from gathering, ultimately ensuring minimal risk of basement flooding. Not only does gravel ensure water flow moves quickly through the area, but it also prevents plants within the bed from receiving too much water and drowning.

Will gravel around house help drainage? ›

Gravel Beds Provide Natural Drainage

Water drains more quickly through gravel compared to most types of soil, so puddles form less-readily on gravel-covered pathways and borders than they do on soil surfaces.

How much does it cost to regrade around a house? ›

Land grading cost is $0.08 to $2.00 per square foot, with homeowners typically paying $770 to $3,000 to grade and level a 1,000 to 2,000 square foot lot. The price for grading an acre is $15,800 to $44,535, with a national average of $30,000.

How do I regrade my foundation? ›

5 Steps for Regrading Your Yard Around Your Home's Foundation
  1. Measure the Slope of Your Lawn. Photo: irina88w/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images. ...
  2. Watch Out for Pipes and Vents. ...
  3. Use the Right Soil. ...
  4. Carefully Distribute the Soil Around Your Home's Foundation. ...
  5. Replant.
Jun 8, 2022

How do I raise the grade around my foundation? ›

To fix or improve the grading, you can add soil next to the foundation and slope away from the house, however, you should have at least four inches of your foundation (concrete, block, or stone) showing above the soil. The soil and vegetation should not be in contact with the siding or any wood.

How do you fix below grade foundation? ›

Underpinning is usually the best solution. Many repair contractors offer some sort of underpinning work as a key part of their business. It involves installing a system of steel, concrete or wood piers under the foundation to carry the weight of the structure. Fortunately, very few homes will ever need underpinning.

Should I put gravel around my foundation? ›

Gravel. Laying gravel around the house as a foundation landscaping material helps ensure your foundation stays protected from outside elements. Along with its protective nature, gravel provides a natural look that can be spruced up to fit your overall landscaping style.

How much does it cost to grade? ›

Land grading cost:
National average cost$500
Average cost range$350-$700
Low-end cost range$100-$200
High-end cost range$1,000-$3,424
Aug 30, 2021

How much does it cost to make a house level? ›

The most common house leveling project that includes “a bit of everything” will usually cost between $5,000 to $8,000 to complete.

How far can a foundation be out of level? ›

Foundations walls should be level within 1/4 inch in 10 feet, while the entire foundation should be level within 1/2 inch. The Handbook states that there is no single accepted tolerance for rough framing, although a tolerance of 1/4 inch in 10 feet is frequently used and is acceptable.

What does a failing foundation look like? ›

Fine, small cracks in the exterior walls or on the steps are usually nothing to worry about. Exterior cracks that are large and have a zig-zag pattern may be a sign that there's something wrong with the foundation. Brick cracks or bricks that are protruding from the wall should be checked.

What is the best dirt to fill around foundation? ›

Loam is the best soil type for construction due to its ideal combination of silt, sand, and clay. It combines the best of all their qualities into the ideal balance for supporting a foundation. Loam generally does not shift, expand, or shrink drastically and handles the presence of water very well.

Is it OK to put mulch around your house? ›

While mulch is great, it also creates an ideal environment for pests like termites to congregate. The mulch shields them from the elements so that they can thrive. For this reason, it's not always the best idea to lay mulch right next to your home's foundation.

Should you put plastic around house foundation? ›

The best way to move surface water away from the foundation is to install an underground roof (also called below-grade flashing) made from heavy-duty plastic or roofing membrane attached to the foundation and sloped away from the house. The depth depends on foundation plantings, soil type, and amount of surface water.

Can a foundation be irreparable? ›

However, there are times when a foundation may be considered to be irreparable. That can happen when the cost to repair the foundation won't add enough value to the home. Fortunately, this rarely happens and usually, if it does, it's because the foundation has totally collapsed causing irreversible damage to the home.

What happens if foundation is not level? ›

When the foundation of a home or business is unlevel, it can cause structural damage throughout the entire structure, and lead to foundation failure.

Should you put dirt around your house? ›

Yes, you should be landscaping around your house foundation. Proper grading and yard maintenance can prevent water from draining toward your foundation, leading to hydrostatic pressure, bowing walls, leaks, and structural cracks. Excess water in your soil can lead to so many problems.


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