If you’ve ever been to a golf course or driving range and you swing a club like I do, you’ve probably made your fair share of divots that needed to be filled in with a sand and seed mixture. Using sand to level out your lawn pretty much follows the same logic. Whether or not you intentionally put bumps, divots, or ruts in your lawn, it probably isn’t perfectly full and level. With the right sand, you can give your grass a new lease of life and help fill in any low spots or worn patches.
Helping out with compaction and drainage, a layer of sand can make a pretty big difference in the appearance and durability of your lawn. But, sand mixtures are not a one size fits all solution. Some sand mixtures can be rocky/gravelly and some can be really fine and powdery. I’ll talk about what I think is the best sand for lawn leveling and you can be the judge.
Leveling a Lawn? Here’s the Short Answer
Let me get straight to the point: the best type of sand for lawn leveling is dry fine grit sand. Emphasis on dry. Fine sands have a much easier time incorporating themselves into your lawn and they won’t leave a bunch of pebbles and gravel all over. All-purpose sand and other construction sands usually have a larger grit which does not mesh very well with topsoil and grass. Using wet sand will make your life ten times harder so if your sand has some moisture in it, spread it on your driveway in the sun to dry first.
Best Sand for Lawn Leveling (Top Options Explained)
As mentioned above, the best sand for lawn leveling is one that has a fine grit. Two of the most common fine grit sands are mason sand and play sand. These are sands that have been carefully sifted to remove larger pieces of sand and gravel. They both have really small grains and will do a good job spreading evenly. Let’s compare these different sand mixtures.
Mason sand (sometimes called mortar sand or brick sand) is typically used to make smooth concrete and mortar for laying bricks. It’s also used for filling volleyball courts and playgrounds sometimes. This is because it’s one of the finest construction sands around. Using mason sand for lawn leveling works because the small grains are able to work into the turf canopy.
The properties of play sand are really similar to mason sand but play sand is actually a tiny bit finer grit. This is because it’s slightly more processed. Dusty and soft, using play sand for lawn leveling is just fine and is also easy to spread and work into your turf. But, there are a couple of things to be aware of. Since play sand is so fine, it can wash away more easily and in extreme cases could choke your grass a bit. Applying small amounts at a time is a good way to address these issues.
How to Choose the Right Sand When Leveling a Lawn
When choosing the best sand for lawn leveling there are a couple of factors to take into consideration. You need to take a look at the surface of your yard first. Are there some really deep ruts or low spots? Is the soil already pretty sandy? Do you also need to seed patches without much grass? Let’s look into these factors so that you don’t fall victim to some of the most common leveling problems.
Deep Ruts and Low Spots
If you’ve got some really deep ruts or potholes in your yard you won’t want to use sand alone to fill them in. From what I’ve read, the best option in this case is to use a 50/50 mix of topsoil and sand. You’ll have to seed (and probably fertilize) the areas where the depressions were as well. Because of this, you will need soil in the mix for the grass to root into and sand to help prevent compaction and provide drainage to the turf. Mason sand is your best bet in this case.
Already got sandy soil? You will want to avoid using play sand to level out your lawn. Because it’s so fine, you could end up choking out your grass or making it hard for the grass to root. Using a very light layer of mason sand should do the trick and can get your yard looking great.
When it comes to patchy grass, you can really use either fine grit sand. The objective is to even the level of the yard while providing the soil with better drainage. Along with the sand, it’s a good idea to mix in topsoil as you would with ruts or low spots. This will let you seed and fertilize and hopefully fill those patches in.
Leveling your yard takes some labor but is one of the most trusted ways to boost your lawn’s health. Early autumn is the best time of year to do it as long as you can get a few more mowings in before winter. You can also tackle the project in the spring if it’s warm enough. All in all, make sure you’ve got a fine grit sand, and apply a little at a time. If your lawn has some trouble spots be sure to mix in some topsoil and seed it as well.