How Much Does It Cost to Level or Regrade a Yard?

Typical Range:

$1,000 - $3,223

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 4,357 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 June 2, 2022

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

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Homeowners may choose to change the slope of their lawn for many reasons, whether the goal is to help their gardens retain moisture or direct water away from their foundations. The average cost to level or regrade a yard is $2,106. However, it can range between $1,000 and $3,223 for most homeowners. 

The final cost is impacted by factors like the size and incline of your project. To help you get a cost estimate for the leveled yard of your dreams, we’ve complied a comprehensive guide covering each factor in greater detail. 

Average cost to level or regrade a yard is $3,000, ranging from $400 to $6,000

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National Average $2,106
Typical Range $1,000 - $3,223
Low End - High End $400 - $6,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 4,357 HomeAdvisor members.

Average Cost to Level a Yard by Size

One of the most impactful factors when calculating the cost to level a yard is its size. Below, we’ll look at two different measurements you can use while budgeting for this project. However, keep in mind that these are average prices and they can differ based on other project factors. 

Per Square Foot

On average, the size of most homeowners’ yards is between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet, and they pay $1 to $2 per square foot to level their yard. But it’s uncommon for a project to require regarding the entire yard. Below are some of the average yard sizes and the grading cost per square foot.

Yard Size (Square Feet) Cost to Regrade
250 sq. ft. $250 – $500
500 sq. ft. $500 – $1,000
1,000 sq. ft. $1,000 – $2,000

Per Acre

While some contractors charge by the square foot, others charge by the acre. The typical cost to level a yard on a 1/5-acre lot is $3,000 and can reach up to $45,000 for one acre. While these prices include labor, material, and equipment, they don’t include any additional fill dirt your yard might require. 

Yard Size (Acres) Cost to Regrade
1/5 acre $3,000 – $9,000
1/2 acre $7,500 – $22,500
1 acre $15,000 – $45,000

Cost to Regrade a Yard by Project

In most cases, the reason you need to regrade your yard will play a more deciding factor in how much it will cost you versus size alone. Here are some common projects that impact the cost of regrading your yard. 

Driveway

Regrading your driveway will allow it to drain water more efficiently, reducing the chance of water seeping in and causing cracks. The cost to regrade your driveway is approximately $2 to $15 per square foot. For a 400-square-foot driveway, homeowners pay about $800 to $6,000.

Regrading Around a Foundation

An inefficient slope around your foundation can lead to poor drainage, excessive bugs around your house, foundational damage like cracks, and soil feeling spongy. On average, the cost to regrade around your entire foundation is $1,000 to $3,000

Patio, Deck, or Porch

It’s important to mention that resloping around an existing structure can cost more than resloping a fresh, untouched area. One of the most notable benefits of grading your yard to install a patio, deck, or porch is saving money on installation because you won’t need to build a raised deck and pay for the material required. Homeowners pay $12 to $20 for each full cubic yard when grading for a patio, deck, or porch.  

Fence

You don’t need to grade your yard to install a fence, but some homeowners prefer the look and security that comes with a sloped fence. If you decide to you would like flat land before installing a fence, expect to pay about $900 to $3,000 for the cost of regrading a lawn. 

Pool

When adding the costs to install a pool, it’s important to ensure that you’re installing it on level ground. If your ground is uneven, it can impact the stability of your pool and cause it to crack. The average cost to grade your yard for a new pool is $200 to $850.  

Removing a Hill

For some homeowners, hills can add depth to their yard, while others prefer more usable space to make yard chores more convenient. If you’ve ever mowed a lawn on a slope, you know what we’re talking about. Typically, homeowners pay $1,000 to $5,000 to remove a hill in their yard. 

Terraced Backyard

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

Prices vary significantly because some lawns will require retaining walls and others will not. Terracing a backyard is different from grading because portions of the yard need to be raised or lowered to create a step-like landscape. Both sections will then need to be flattened afterward.

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

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Yard Grading Cost Factors

When regrading your yard, the type of project and the size aren’t the only two factors that play a role in your final price. Here are other important cost factors that’ll affect your the cost to level your yard. 

Land Survey

You’ll likely want to get a survey to confirm that all work is being done on your land and not on neighboring properties, especially if working anywhere near any boundaries. On average, land surveys cost $200 to $1,000. The final cost depends on the size and makeup of your property, your location, and the type of survey you want.  

Slope Inclination

Another factor that impacts the total cost of regrading is the slope inclination, or in other words, 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 opposite direction, it will be significantly more costly than a project that just requires a slight resurfacing. You can calculate slope by dividing the change in elevation by distance. For example: 

30 feet / 100 feet = 0.3 or a 30% slope 

Keep in mind that steep slopes result in erosion, and areas with larger gradients require more resloping to create a flat area. Below are the average costs for different types of hills in a typical yard. 

Type Cost Slope Definition
Deep $1,800 – $5,000 28.7% and above
Hillside $1,000 – $2,500 17.6% – 26.8%
Shallow $400 – $1,800 0% – 15.8%

*These prices include the cost of fill dirt and labor fees. 

Additional Fill Dirt

While fill dirt won’t make as substantial of a dent as other price factors, it’s still a critical portion of this project. Expect to pay $5 to $15 per cubic yard for the cost of fill dirt

You might need additional fill dirt if the soil that’s being relocated from one area of your yard to the location of a newly created slope isn’t enough to fill the space. 

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Amount of Fill Dirt Estimated Cost
1 Cubic Yard $8 – $15
5 Cubic Yards $40 – $75
10 Cubic Yards $80 – $150

Topsoil

The topsoil is the dirt placed on top of the fill dirt. It contains nutrients that allow for a well-nourished garden and lawn. Depending on the type and quality, it can cost $12 to $55 per cubic yard

Quality of the Soil

Not all topsoil is the same; unscreened topsoil costs $10 to $35 per cubic yard, which is soil that isn’t filtered through a mesh and may contain rocks, roots, and sticks. While screened topsoil costs $20 to $40 per cubic yard, it’s finer and provides the optimal condition for growing plants and a flat lawn. The quality of soil and nutrient density you’re interested in will determine how much your topsoil layer will cost you. 

Landscape Prep Work

The amount of landscape prep work your pro needs to do before starting on your lawn will also influence the cost to slope your lawn. If you need to excavate your property entirely, the cost of excavation can average around $2,700. Additionally, if your pro needs to remove bushes and trees, expect to pay $870 on average for this service. 

Don’t forget to contact your local utility company and have someone come out to mark your utility lines so that your landscaper doesn’t damage them. The cost to repair damaged lines is $1,000 or more.  

Erosion Control

When you dig up the ground and move the soil somewhere else, you can potentially face erosion problems. Without erosion control measures in place, groundwater, wind, and rain can shift the soil and undo your resloping work. 

Controlling this issue is an unavoidable cost for homeowners. One option is to add living and rooting plants to the area to keep soil from running off with the first rainstorm. Another option is to install wooden or metal edging or bracing in areas with new soil. 

Different erosion control measures have varying price points:

Grass and Landscaping

Most homeowners prefer to landscape their yard immediately following a sloping project. Landscaping will add considerable costs, and the average cost to landscape a home is $3,400. However, this varies depending on the size of your lawn, complexity of the landscaping design, and where you live. Also consider which plants you want to install. 

Here are some typical prices homeowners pay to landscape:

Irrigation System

The cost to install an automatic sprinkler system typically ranges from $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.

French Drain

A French drain sits under your exterior landscape to control groundwater and prevent puddling, pooling, and yard flooding. Installing a French drain costs between $2,000 and $10,000. The size, style, and condition of your property will all impact the project's final cost.

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Reasons to Regrade Your Land

There are many reasons for homeowners decide to invest in the cost of regarding their yards. Most importantly, the process can save people money in the long run by stopping some of the problems associated with sloped areas.

These issues include:

  • High levels of erosion

  • Difficulty landscaping

  • Difficulty reaching the home

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

DIY Lawn Regrading vs. Hiring a Pro

While grading a lawn can be done as a DIY, homeowners should be aware that it’s a labor-intensive project that often requires specialized tools and equipment. 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

While hiring a local landscaper may cost slightly more than doing it yourself, it will usually get done faster and without the challenges that can come with learning a new skill. Additionally, you would need to purchase or rent tools and equipment, and you can run the risk of injury while using heavy equipment you might not be familiar with. A realistic price for DIY grading is around $1,800, while those who work with a pro can expect to pay $2,000 on average. 

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. Pros are often willing to give tips, break the project into smaller parts, and rent equipment to DIY-happy homeowners.

How to Level Your Lawn

While some homeowners can DIY this project, it comes with certain risks and costs for beginner DIYers and landscapers. Here are some tools you’ll need:

  • String level: $1–$3

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

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

  • Shovel: $6–$10

  • Stakes: $5–$10 for a six-pack 

Even with helpers, DIYing this project could take up to four days on a medium-grade slope, averaging $1,500 for this project. But some of the risks associated with this project for amateurs are:

  • Improper equipment usage which could damage the yard

  • Improperly removing the sod, which could require the lawn to be reseeded

  • Inexperienced homeowners can harm themselves on heavy machinery

If this DIY project is within your abilities, here are some rough steps you’ll take to flatten your lot:

  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 topsoil evenly

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

  7. Reseed as necessary

FAQs

When is the best time to level a yard?

The best time to level a yard is in the spring when the soil is an ideal mix of moist and dry, and springtime also lowers the chances of it raining and causing erosion. 

How long does leveling a yard take?

The average time to level a yard is five to six days. However, it can take a day or up to one week, depending on the project’s complexity. 

Do you need a permit to relevel a yard?

You might need a permit to relevel your yard depending on the extent of the work and your local and state laws and ordinances. While the permit costs you’ll pay can differ according to your geographical location, budget for $50 to $500 per permit

Is it worth it to level your yard?

Yes, leveling your yard is worth it. Not only can you increase your home’s curb appeal, but you can also increase the property value of your home by up to 12%