How Much Does It Cost to Level Land or Regrade a Lawn?

Typical Range:

$976 - $3,046

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 4,006 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated January 21, 2022

Reviewed by Tara Dudley, Landscape Designer, Landscape Project Coordinator and Owner of Plant Life Designs.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

How Much Does It Cost to Regrade a Lawn?

Resloping a lawn requires digging and moving dirt and soil to reshape or level your outside space. The average cost for resloping a lawn is $1,995, with a typical range between $973 and $3,018. If you hire a landscaper to complete the labor, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100. Fill dirt, which is required to fill in the slope, is usually priced at about $15 per cubic yard.

People change the slope of their lawns for many reasons. It can be cosmetic or practical. Whether you want to retain moisture in your lawn or garden or need to direct water away from the foundation of your home, a few factors will affect the price of resloping your lawn.

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National Average $2,011
Typical Range $976 - $3,046
Low End - High End $400 - $5,800

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 4,006 HomeAdvisor members.

Average Costs to Level a Yard

the average cost to reslope a lawn is $1,925 or $400 to $5,100.

The average cost to level a yard is around $2,011. Several factors, including the amount of fill dirt required, landscaping labor prices, whether the area is subject to erosion, and the severity of the existing slopes, affect the total cost. 

Fill dirt is usually sold by the cubic yard with an average cost of $15. Landscaping labor costs range depending on where you live but usually start at $50 per hour. Areas that are subject to erosion may need repeated grading to keep the soil in place. Each regrade can add an extra $400 to the original price.

How Much Lawn Resloping Is Necessary?

The single largest factor in the cost is how much you need to change the direction of the current slope. If your lawn makes a steep downward turn in one direction and you need to have it slope dramatically in the other direction, that will require considerably more effort (and money) than if it just needs a slight resurfacing.

Steep slopes result in severe erosion. Areas with deeper and large gradients require more resloping to create a flat area. Below are the average costs for different types of hills. You can calculate slope by dividing the change of elevation by distance. This means 30 ft. / 100 ft. = slope of .3 or 30%.

Leveling Costs by Severity of Slope
TypeCostSlope Definition
Deep$1,800-$5,0000-9 Degrees
Hilside$1,000-$2,50010-15 Degrees
Shallow$400-$1,80016 and Above

These prices include the costs of fill dirt and a professional's wages. The amount of resloping required is based on the existing yard's gradient. Shallow slopes have low gradients and require fewer materials. A deep slope has a large gradient and needs more fill dirt and labor.

Dirt Needed for Filling & Grading

Fill dirt is extremely inexpensive. People can purchase a cubic inch for less than a penny. To determine how much fill dirt is needed, you can measure slopes by the cubic inch and then convert the number to cubic yards. Generally, fill dirt ranges in price from $8 to $15 per cubic yard.

While DIY landscapers will need to determine the quality of fill dirt they’ll need to purchase, professional landscapers will do these calculations on their own and incorporate the cost into their total pricing.

This is done by measuring the area's length, width, and height. The homeowner multiplies these together to get the area in cubic inches, which than must be calculated into cubic yards.

How to Calculate the Amount of Fill Dirt
Size of Area to FillArea in Cubic InchesArea in Cubic YardsEst. Cost of Fill Dirt
120 in. X 120 in. X 2 in.28,9270.62$7
120 in. X 120 in. X 6 in.86,3141.85$21
120 in. X 120 in. X 12 in.172,6273.7$41

Quality of the Soil

The quality of soil used in a yard determines the health of grass and other plants. It's important to figure out the quality of pre-existing soil so the resloped area matches the growth rate and health of the entire yard.

Soil tests cost between $700 and $1,800 when done by a pro. Some inexpensive tests are only $400. Fill dirt runs $8 to $15 based on the amount of nutrients present. High-quality variants will cost more.

Including Landscape Clearing or Excavating

Sometimes property owners need to fully clear or excavate their landscape. If your property site is on compacted soil with a lot of rock, the efforts to reslope it will be a lot more work than if you are just digging up loose soil and redistributing it elsewhere on your property.

The overall cost of excavation varies by location. The average cost for work is $2,700, but most homeowners will pay between $400 and $1,000. Most excavators charge between $0.20 and $0.30 per square foot and add the price to their professional estimate.

The extra expense covers running the equipment, including machines like a hydraulic shovel, power shovel, or grader. These require special licenses, so yard excavation is not something most homeowners can DIY.

Erosion Control

Any time that you dig up the ground and put it somewhere else, you run the risk of having erosion issues. The earth sliding or moving from natural elements counts as erosion. One way to enable erosion control is to plant living and rooting plants. This is a great way to keep the earth from running off with the first rainstorm.

Another method is to install wooden or metal edging or bracing where you have moved the new soil. Erosion control factors should be considered when determining the cost of your project. Without erosion control measures in place, groundwater, wind, and rain can shift the soil and undo your resloping work.

Different erosion control measures have varying price points:

Retaining walls are the most expensive option but also the most long-lasting. Applying sod might have to be done annually while spreading mulch might need to happen multiple times a year. This is reflected in the prices of each method.

Most leveling experts can also build retaining walls. Heavy sod and mulching can be done by a landscaper who will likely have lower hourly rates. Many landscapers can also bring their own supplies at cheaper rates than a homeowner would find at the store.

Hire a Landscaper to Help Prevent Erosion
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Reasons to Regrade Your Land

There are many reasons for a homeowner to regrade their land. Most importantly, the process can save people money in the long run by stopping some of the problems of sloped areas.

These issues include:

  • High levels of erosions

  • Difficulty landscaping

  • Difficulty reaching the home

The last two reasons are matters of convenience while the first can save homeowners a lot of effort and money. Erosion pulls soil, mulch, and valuable nutrients away from the yard, which can kill the plants and cause unusual slopes and gradients.

Grading Costs

A standard re-sodding or re-mulching can cost between $150 and $380 each time. This money adds up.

  • Grading for a driveway: Driveway grading costs about $5-$8 per square foot for a total average cost of between $700 and $1,000 for 125 square feet.

  • Leveling around your house for your foundation: Most home foundations are between 500 and 1,500 square feet. This can include foundations for homes, barns, sheds, or any other structure. 

  • Resloping to install or repair a patio, deck, or porch: Resloping around an already existing structure often costs more than resloping a fresh area. Typically, homeowners pay between $12 and $20 for each full, cubic yard of grading.

  • Sloping for a new fence: The cost for sloping to install a new fence varies by materials and area covered. People can expect to lose $10 to $18 per cubic yard to regrade or fill the lawn.

Consult With a Pro When Leveling Your Yard
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Terraced Backyard Cost Estimate

A terraced backyard is a lawn that has been separated into several flat sections of differing heights. The price can vary from $1,000 to $10,000. Most people pay around $3,800 for the entire yard.

Prices have extreme variations because some lawns will require retaining walls and others will not. The process of terracing a backyard is different from grading because the areas need to be raised or lowered to create the step-like landscape. Both sections will then need to be flattened afterwards.

Some of the factors involved and their average prices are:

  • Sod removal: $2.00 per square foot

  • Fill dirt: $8 to $15 per cubic yard

  • Grading: $1,000 - $2,000

  • Building retaining walls: $2,800-$7,800

  • Reseeding or re-sodding: $1,000-$2,700

DIY vs. Professional 

While grading a lawn can be done as a DIY, homeowners should be aware that it is a labor-intensive project that often requires specialized tools and equipment. While hiring a professional may cost slightly more than doing it yourself, it will typically get done faster and without the challenges that can come with having to learn a new skill as you’re doing it. 

A realistic price for DIY grading is around $1,800, while those who work with a pro can expect to pay $1,995 on average. 

DIY Grading

Grading a yard is the process of leveling the area. Some homeowners can DIY this project but amateur landscapers should be aware of the risks and costs.

An individual seeking to DIY would need several cheap and expensive tools. The simplest procedure would require:

  • String level: $1 to $3

  • Grader: Can be rented for $500 to $600 a day

  • Sod cutter: $200 to $2,000 depending on the size

  • Shovel: $6 to $10

  • Stakes: $5 to $10 for a pack of 6

Doing the project alone or with friends can take up to 3 or 4 days for a medium-grade slope. The cheapest a person could DIY would be for about $1,200. This assumes that the grading can be done in two days and that you can find a cheap sod cutter.

A more realistic price would be $1,800 since decent sod cutters are expensive. In comparison, hiring a pro would also cost an average of $1,800 for several days of work, including manpower.

The decision then comes down to whether or not you want to put in the work. Doing a project yourself comes with several risks. Amateurs who are unfamiliar with this equipment could destroy their yard. The sod can be improperly removed and require the lawn to be reseeded. Most importantly, inexperienced homeowners can hurt themselves using heavy machinery.

How to Flatten Your Lot

Homeowners who want to DIY their project will likely not be able to flatten quite as large of gradients as professionals but can still get some work done.

To flatten your lot, you’ll want to:

  1. Stake out the area you want to flatten

  2. Set up a string level

  3. Remove the grass and any small bushes or shrubs

  4. Lay down a ground cover

  5. Spread the top soil evenly

  6. Tamp the soil so it’s even and compact

  7. Reseed as necessary

Pitfalls of DIY Landscaping

DIY yard leveling is difficult work that can be both time-consuming and labor-intensive. Some pitfalls of DIY landscaping include:

  • Being unable to find or rent the proper equipment.

  • Lacking the training to identify problem areas or correctly assess landscaping needs.

  • Inadvertently damaging underground pipes and wires.

  • Using incompatible soil.

Completing some parts of the project yourself and hiring pros to complete others is also an option. You don’t have to choose between going all DIY or all professional. Often, professionals are willing to give tips, break the project into smaller parts, and rent equipment to DIY-happy homeowners.

Hire a Grading or Leveling Professional
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Working With a Grading Service

A grading service is a company that is dedicated to leveling yards, walkways, and even roads. Grading services may or may not complete other landscaping work. Yard grading in your area can be simple to find. Some of the benefits of hiring a professional include:

  • They bring their own equipment

  • They can easily identify areas that may need protection against erosion and drainage

  • They can identify the proper soil to fill your yard 

Additional Project Costs

Irrigation System

The average price to have an irrigation professional install an automatic sprinkler system in your lawn typically ranges from approximately $1,000 to $4,000. Your existing landscaping, the size of your lawn, the irrigation system you select, and the number of zones in your yard (particularly if your lawn is terraced or has several levels) can all impact the cost of your irrigation system. 

Adding Landscaping

Landscaping prices range widely based on the size of your lawn, the complexity of your design, and the plants you plan to install. Most homeowners will spend $3,370 to landscape their home, with the average homeowner spending between $1,300 and $5,600 to hire a professional landscaper.

French Drain

A deep French drain sits under your exterior landscape to control groundwater and prevent puddling, pooling, yard flooding. Installing a French drain can be a costly project, with the average cost landing somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000. The size, style, and condition of your property will all impact the final cost of the project.

Landscaping Prep Work

Vegetation Removal

On average, removing bushes and trees costs $871, with most homeowners paying between $432 and $1,322. For trees, bushes, or shrubs between about 15 to 30 feet tall, you can expect to pay between $100 to $200 each for removal. For shorter bushes or shrubs, you might only pay $50 to $60 an hour plus any dumping fees.

Power and Utility Lines

Because the resloping process involves digging, you’ll want to check the location of any underground power and utility lines before you begin to avoid damage and the costly repairs that can result. 

You can do this by contacting your utility company and asking their team to mark the lines and then informing your landscaper of their placement. If underground power or utility line damage does occur, you’ll have to contact your utility company to perform the repair and can expect to pay up to $1,000 or more if the damage is extensive. 

Land Survey 

A land survey, often needed before you can make major updates to your yard that might reach your property line, costs anywhere between $200 and $1,000. Costs will vary depending on the size and makeup of your landscape, where you live, and the type of survey you have in mind.

Any Permits 

Depending on the extent of the work you plan to do and your local laws and ordinances, your project might require permits. Permit costs range from local to local but often cost between $1,000 and $2,000 each

FAQs

How much does it cost to flatten a yard?

The cost to flatten a yard will fluctuate depending on the slope, how much dirt you need, and whether or not you need a retaining wall. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to flatten your yard. 

How much does it cost to level a backyard? 

Leveling a yard will typically cost around the same amount as flattening a yard. While the total cost will vary based on size, existing slope, and whether or not you need any built features (like a retaining wall), you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for yard leveling. 

Rain garden instead of resloping

Rain gardens are recessed areas of your yard that allow water to run off your lawn or away from your walkways or home. Rain gardens are often a lower-cost alternative to French drains or resloping that aim to help your land work with natural water flow as opposed to against it. 

Depending on the existing slope of your yard and the extent of your landscaping needs, costs will range widely. If your yard has a natural flow and you’ll just need to add landscaping to complete your rain garden, you can expect to pay between $1,300 and $5,600 to hire a pro to get it done.