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DIY Ideas – How to level ground by hand

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Need to level uneven ground or a sloping backyard? These DIY ideas will explore how to level ground by hand and transform your outdoor area into a functional oasis…with no machinery required!

Residential Duplex Boundary Walls | ModularWalls

Topdressing your lawn

If the slope is very slight and over grassed area, you might be able to get away with the slow, steady method of topdressing. During the prime lawn growth periods, sprinkle a shallow layer of top dressing over the low ground areas. Be sure that it’s thin enough for the grass to grow through, otherwise you might end up smothering your lawn.

Once the lawn has adequately grown over this layer of topdressing, add another; over enough time, you can build up enough layers to effectively level our your lawn.


Shuffling soil

If topdressing isn’t an option, a simple ‘shuffle’ system might be the way to go. Set up a grid with string guides, creating square metre sections. Using a spirit level, ensure the string guides are level and positioned halfway between the lowest ground height and highest ground height. Also take note that you may want a slight gradient for drainage; decide where you want rainwater draining to and then add a subtle depreciation in that direction.

Once that’s set up, it’s time to start shufflin’! Working from the highest end, start taking soil from the ‘high squares’ and depositing them onto the ‘low squares’, using the string guides to know much much to take or fill up to; if you’re covering a large area, you may need a wheelbarrow to transport the soil. Once you’re finished, rake and tamp the soil to ensure there are no hidden holes and voila; level ground!

DIY Ideas – How To Level Ground By Hand | ModularWalls

How to level ground with retaining solutions

The rest of these ideas will require a retaining solution of some kind; take note that depending on the height of functionality of your retaining wall, there may be additional requirements, such as site-specific engineering or council approval. It’s best to contact your local council to see what will be required for your project.



If it’s a sharp slope over a small section of land, consider adding some garden steps! Using logs, blocks, bricks or stones, you can cut into the land, creating small rises from one level to the other.


Terraced garden beds

Who doesn’t love a terraced garden? Perfect for backyards with short, steep slopes, this idea can create a lush green wall effect whilst creating functional planting zones out of your slope. Decide if you will cut into your slope, or fill each garden bed; this will help determine how to approach each level and the kind of retaining walls required.

Consider different garden themes to suit your lifestyles and home’s style; rainforest plants make a dramatic urban oasis, ornamental grasses offer a soft, coastal vibe and edible gardens offer the perfect opportunity for green-thumbs to tend to tiered DIY veggie patches!

Tiered backyard with multiple levelled zones

If your yard has a long, gradual slope, consider using DIY retaining walls to carve out different levels and zones! Kate Sparks, of @LittleDwellings, recently wowed her loyal Instagram tribe by transforming her entire backyard with a single DIY product; a ModularWalls retaining wall!

With this easy DIY wall system, Kate was able to level her lawn area for her kids, create lush garden beds, install an outdoor fireplace area and extend her patio area to fit an outdoor kitchen and lounge area! Watch her Before Video and After Video to watch Kate’s incredible DIY journey.

Integrated Retaining for Level Ground - Privacy Screen for Duplex | ModularWalls

Watch Case Study!

Integrated retaining within boundary fences

All of the above options are perfectly suitable, if you’re after a tiered backyard solution. However, some are after a single-level, completely flat backyard; and for that final product, there is only one DIY solution…

Traditionally, the only way to completely level a backyard was to add a retaining wall along the boundary and then install a separate fence on top. However, this was a costly, timely affair; not to mention, quite a cumbersome DIY job. On the other hand, with ModularWalls, DIYers can install a single product — a fence and retaining wall in one — and seamlessly integrate up to 750mm of retaining into their boundaries!

Find out how integrated retaining in the Case Study pictured above saved this homeowner almost 50% of costs, compared to a separate block retaining wall!


Whether it’s Style Curator choosing the sleek SlimWall, Little Dwellings falling in love with VogueWall or Barry Du Bois building a grand EstateWall, our DIY fencing systems have completely transformed backyards all over Australia.

Written by Evelyn Kandris

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