Lawn leveling

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by eauxkielawns, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. eauxkielawns

    eauxkielawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Lawn leveling seems to be a growing question in my area. We have a major builder that sods his own yards and does a TERRIBLE job. I know this because I mow most of his homes. My customers are asking me how much to level their lawn. I am looking at starting a spin off business since this guy has plans on building 400 homes in the next 5 years and nobody seems to do this in my area.

    How much do you charge for leveling existing Bermuda lawns? What is best to use dirt, sand or dirt/sand mix? I have found a place that sells top soil for $35 a pick-up truck load.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    That is a decent price for topsoil, if it is good stuff.
    That being said. I level with a sandy fill dirt. But my area is naturally sandy. If you were to level with a good topsoil, the turf in that area may not match the rest of the yard.
  3. eauxkielawns

    eauxkielawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I guess my questions should begin with - is there any money to be made in lawn leveling? How do you figure an estimate? Do you charge by the hour with a set minimum so you don't waste your time on the small jobs. I understand the amount of time will vary by yard depending on there condition, but what is an average time frame?

    Thanks the cape.
  4. Fairway Land & Lawn

    Fairway Land & Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    There is actually a lot of money to be made. I do alot of grade work. Around here many of the homes are old. Meaning, septic tanks are collapsing, ( city water/sewer installed 20 yrs ago.) old stumps decompose and leave "sink holes", and shallow water tables create all sorts of problems over the years. We never mess wilth jobs that are too small in this type of work. It can be time consuming and sometimes tough to bid. We tend to break everything down per square foot. Materials, Labor, Equipment/square footage. Do not try to present the estimate to your clients with ONLY a total number. (BIG NUMBER USUALLY) The per square foot number is usually so small it "kinda" masks the bottom line....This type of work is fun, efficient, and very profitable once you get the hang of it..Good luck.:drinkup:

    MOWEMJEFF LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    So I just did it and this is what I did, please advise if this is a good method or better methods are out there.

    -The yard is a newer house thathas a big ditch in front that has grass but could not be filled in for the first 3 years to see if it would flood.

    There is a drain pipe that sticks up about 6 inches not quite at the lowest point and I surrounded that with 3/4 inch rock about 5 inches deep for potential water to collect and dug a trench along the whole bottom and filled with rock.

    Then laid about 12 inches of gravel (sand/ 3/4 inch stone) to make the grade less and still allow water to get to drain pipe since they didn't want it totally filled just a more gradual slope.

    Next laid about 3 inches of topsoil (5 yards) over all that to raise the ditch a total of almost 2 feet at the deepest part getting less and less.

    Is this what you would have done? Any advice??? I haven't done much of this before but think this method will look good once the grass comes through and overseed again in the fall. If it is a horrible method feel free to say so but be nice about it.

    P.S. Total job $800 with materials costing me $153 and marking up to $275 for them, total time including trips to pit (4 miles round trip) for 2 people 7 hours.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I would have put a extention on that drain pipe and filled the ditch up a little
  7. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    I don't know what you pay for topsoil down south but around here its going for $9.00 a ton and its good dark topsoil.
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,361

    Most people don't even realize that the yard is rough because they never go into the yard. Keep in mind that if you bring in topsoil and it has weed seed in it they won't be happy. In our area all good topsoil comes with nut grass tubers and that stuff is hard to knock. So bottom line be prepared to deal with the weed question.
  9. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Shoot, not down here. I get my fill for 13.50 per yard, and it is just sandy dirt! I have noticed that it seems everywhere is cheaper on this kind of stuff, mulch included. The cheapest I can get any kind of mulch for is $30 per yard.
  10. RonB

    RonB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    during this drought around here, one thing I've been doing is a little leveling - really more like fillin in holes. The topsoil is kind of sandy brown and mostly clean, maybe a couple roots in a pickup load - only $20 though.

Share This Page