How Much Does It Cost To Level A Yard? (Pricing Revealed)
Leveling a yard is a process that is crucial to the aesthetics of your landscaping. Leveling your yard can save you from damage and foundation repairs. How much will you pay to level a yard you may ask? Let’s take a close look at the costs of the operation.
On average, the cost to level a yard is between $972 and $3,000 for labor and materials, such as topsoil. Though, homeowners could spend more than $6,000 to level a large yard, while small yards generally cost around $2,000. In regards to labor, it usually costs between $50 and $100 per hour to level a yard.
There are many things to consider when pricing a yard for leveling. Some yards may have large holes that need a lot of fill, while others may just need a minimal amount of fill. To correctly calculate the cost, you need to know exactly what shape your yard is in.
What is Yard Leveling?
Yard leveling involves filling in holes, scraping the ground, and preparing it for adding grass seed or sod. This is vital when it comes to prepping the ground for landscaping. A nice looking yard takes a lot of work and maintenance.
It is also important to work on the grade of your yard, to keep water from shedding down into parts of your house’s foundation, which can cause huge problems down the road. Leveling a yard can include removing large root systems from trees, filling in holes, and more.
You should plan in things out in advance, before you consider any of the landscaping or designing, such as for pools, and driveways.
How Long Does it Take to Level a Yard?
The amount of time it will take to level a yard will vary, depending on the amount of work that has to be done, the size of the yard, and more. It can take a few days or up to a week to level a yard. Minimal jobs can be done in as little time as one day.
For a large job, you should expect it to take a week. This includes filling holes, changing the grade to shed water, and more. The difficulty of the job can add more time to a yard leveling project, so keep that in mind.
You or the professional you have hired will need to take the time to do the job right. Do not cut any corners, as it could cause trouble down the line.
How Do You Level a Yard?
The job starts with taking measurements, planning it all out, and estimating the material cost. You will need to know how much topsoil you need, as well as how much grass seed or sod to get the job done. The yard needs to be completely leveled with a grade that sheds water away from the foundation of your home. This is vital to your home, and if not done correctly, it can cost you time and money.
Some contractors may use heavy equipment to scrape the yard, or they may use hand tools to scrape it to the correct grade. Trees and shrubs will need to be removed so that the yard can get a smooth clean grade. Holes are filled in with dirt, and topsoil is put over the entire yard so that the grass seed or sod, has the proper soil for growing. The person doing the work will need to make sure they avoid hitting any electrical or plumbing lines. In extreme cases, these types of lines may need to be rerouted. This can make the project cost quite a bit more.
Finally, the soil will be aerated for grass seed, or sod will be placed down for the finishing process. When hiring a contractor, make sure they use high-quality topsoil and sod. Many times I have seen a shoddy job, that ends up costing homeowners in the long run.
Average Cost of Leveling a Yard
Dependent on a number of factors, the average cost to level a yard is between $972 and $3,000. Though, most homeowners pay close to $2,000 to level their yard. But, you could pay more than $6,000, depending on the size of your yard, the quality of the soil, labor costs, the severity of the slope, and more.
Meanwhile, the cost to hire a professional landscaper for labor is generally between $50 and $100.
Cost Factors for Leveling a Yard
There are many factors when leveling a yard. These options will change the scope and cost of the job. Let’s look at some of those.
- Size of the yard
- The quality of equipment and materials
- The amount of change to the grade
- Rerouting electrical or plumbing lines
Let’s explore each of these factors in greater detail to better understand the costs associated with leveling a yard.
1. Size of the Yard
The main factor in cost is the size of the yard. The first step in the planning process should be determining the square footage. In general, smaller yards are much less expensive to level than larger ones. A very large yard could cost up to $6,000, while a small yard averages around $2,000. When planning your project, take measurements, and add up the cost of materials.
2. Quality of Equipment and Materials
The quality of the products you use will also change the cost. Using cheap materials may seem like a good idea at first, but they could cost you more to repair later. Always use high-quality sod and topsoil to avoid having to spend unnecessary money on costly repairs.
When it comes to hiring a contractor to level your yard, you get what you pay for. The proper equipment and experience costs money, but will reduce mistakes in the process. If your contractor simply shows up and starts digging, you might pay less but notice erosion problems down the line.
3. The Change in Grade
In most cases, the grade of the yard may need to be changed, to shed water away from the house. This is very important, to keep water from ruining your foundation. This is the most costly mistake people make since foundation work costs an arm and a leg!
Grading your property for a small apple orchard requires a much different approach than leveling for a porch or driveway. The latter requires a much flatter piece of land, and if your yard isn’t in the best shape already, it will take longer and cost more money to achieve.
4. Rerouting Electrical or Plumbing Lines
Sometimes you may come across electrical or plumbing lines. If any damages happen to them, you will have to pay for repairs. They could also need rerouting, which can also be a very pricey and involved process.
What If the Yard is Sloped?
A sloped yard can still be leveled. You will need to remove the grass, and debris, and scrape the yard to the sloped grade. This can be done by using string lines, to make sure that the sloped grade is straight and true.
A sloped yard can add time and extra work to the project, this could cost more than a regular yard leveling job. Keep that in mind when planning out your project. Always plan for it to cost a little more than you estimate, so you have the funds if anything goes wrong.
Cost to Level a Sloped Yard
In most cases, how much the direction of the current slope needs to be changed has the largest impact on cost. If your lawn makes a steep downward turn in one direction and you need it to slope drastically in the other direction, this will take quite a bit more time, effort, and money than simply performing a minor resurfacing.
Steep slopes cause severe erosion and areas with deeper, larger gradients necessitate more resurfacing to create a level area. The following table outlines the average costs to level a yard based on different types of hills. You can determine slope by dividing your yard’s change in elevation by the distance. For example, 40 feet divided by 100 feet equates to a slope of .4 or 40%.
Leveling Costs Based on Slope Severity
|Type of Slope||Average Cost Range||Slope Definition|
|Shallow||$400 to $1,800||16 degrees and above|
|Hillside||$1,000 to $2,500||10 to 15 degrees|
|Deep||$1,800 to $5,000||0 to 9 degrees|
Keep in mind that these estimates do include the cost of labor and fill dirt.
Hiring a Pro vs. Doing it Yourself
If the job is minimal, such as filling a few holes and planting a little bit of grass seed, then you may be able to do it yourself. However, if the job is large, it could take heavy-equipment and may need a professional to do it.
Doing it yourself will definitely save you money, but consider the time it will take, and how much work it will be. Some people can handle a lot of hard work, others may break under the pressure, and end up hiring a professional after they have started.
Either way, the most important thing is doing the job right. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not using quality products, or not knowing how to change the grade, so that water runs away from the foundation of the house.
Make sure you do a fair amount of planning, measuring, and estimating the costs of materials. This way you will know exactly what you are looking at, and whether or not you can handle it on your own.
When to Level a Yard
There are a few reasons you may need to level your yard. The first is having a brand new yard, once a house is built. There will usually be some large holes, debris, such as shrubs and trees, and other things you could come across.
All of these things must be worked on before the sod can be laid down. Most of the work is in leveling the grade and preparing the yard for sod.
You may also need the yard level if your yard has settled over time. This can cause holes in the yard as well as problems with water shedding. You may notice something is going wrong if your grass starts to die in patches, or if water starts pooling up.
Can you level out a sloped backyard?
Yes, you can level out a sloped backyard by having a sloped grade. This involves filling holes, removing obstacles, and giving the backyard a continual sloped grade.
Do you need a permit to level a yard?
You may need a permit to level a yard if you are doing any heavy-duty work, such as moving electrical or plumbing lines. Though, yard grading usually requires both permits and inspections in order to prevent damage to underground piping and wires. If anything happens to these wires or pipes, your entire street could be without electricity or water.Permits generally cost between $100 and $500, depending on your city and county. Always check with your local codes and rules to find out if you need a permit. Also, consult your underground utility company so that they can mark out the lines before you move forward with the project.
I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.
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