Question: How to flatten a large lawn

By | 21/01/2020
A very large lawn

I received this comment about how to flatten a large lawn on my blog page Why you should never roll your lawn. I thought that it was interesting enough to put together a full post answer.

Ian Writes:

Dear Kris,

I have about one acre of lawn consisting of a 3/4 acres top lawn which is used for football etc. and which was recently re-turfed after it was chewed up by builders machinery.

We did not do a sand bed etc as too expensive. The grass is growing OK-ish, but it is now quite bumpy and I fear also the soil is quite heavy and clay-like. Although we did give it a top soil dressing before laying the turf.

I was about to roll it for all the ambitions you stated in your article, but delighted I read what you had to say. What’s the best course of action / timing to try and get it ready / flat and healthy for summer.

Bottom lawn was never chewed up but just suffering from worm and ant bumps

Your experienced recommendations would be hugely appreciated.

Kind regards, Ian – Article comment – LINK

Hi Ian, Thank you for your comment and question.

Very large lawns do require a slightly different approach than the usual British domestic lawn. For reference for readers, three quarters of a acre works out to be over 3000 square meters (or 32,000 square feet). So this is not your usual domestic back lawn. It is a significant area.

Levelling such a large area is the usual recommended way of filling the holes would take a very long time, so how do you do it?

The easy way to flatten a large lawn

A chain harrow being used to flatten a large lawn.
A chain harrow

The answer to flattening much larger areas is a piece of equipment called a chain harrow. This is a large grid of metal links (or chains). One side is usually spiked, the other side flat.

A chain harrow is towed behind a tractor and helps to create a smooth surface on the grass without compacting. It drags clumps flat, pulls grass tall and breaks up divots.

Running a chain harrow in different directions flattens humps and drags material into hollows. The grass will then be invigorated and look a lot flatter.

Chain harrows are recommended in the professional groundsmen industry to keep rugby pitches looking great during a playing season.

Groundsmen recommend chain harrowing fields in the spring before fertilising as this will help prepare the grass for the summer. Also regularly during the year to keep the grass and soil healthy.

So Ian, I recommend buying a chain harrow and running this regularly. It will be the easiest way for you to flatten your large lawn.

Thanks for reading!


Main image: FreeNatureStock on Pixabay.

2 thoughts on “Question: How to flatten a large lawn

  1. Mike

    Hi there I had my garden done last summer it was turfed all went great it settled really well was lovely and green and flat. So we’ve had winter and now heading into spring iv given it it’s first cut and sadly it now looks like straw and patchy in places but my main worry is it’s now no longer flat it’s really bumpy and uneven. Looking for some information here.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Hi Mike,
      That is one of the many problems with laying Turf I’m afraid. The soil can settle and some of the turf will not take and thin. As a result you can end up with a very lumpy lawn 6 months later. You will need to heavily scarify in the autumn, overseed and top dress to fill in the holes. This could have been prevented with seeding as you tend to get a much better long-term lawn, rather than a short term fix.
      Also if you have let it grow very long, cutting it down will leave just stalks. Regular high mowing will help bring the lawn back to colour eventually.
      Hope that helps.


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