Over the past year, we noticed that the ground around our sprinkler shut off valve has settled into a nice little bowl. Taking a walk through the neighborhood, our problem isn’t unique, but nevertheless it was time to fix. The valve box containing the shut off was settling down onto the PVC irrigation line and I wasn’t too interested in having to replace an underground pipe, or worse yet a connection to the water meter. Beyond that, it was a pain to mow – crossing 12 different directions just to try to get a level cut.


It was a pretty simple solution – just a little topsoil and manual labor to level out our sunken yard. Thanks to another trip to the city composting facility – this time for soil instead of mulch – we were able to prevent costly damage to our water line and make mowing a little more tolerable without spending a penny.


Step one is cutting out the sod. I used a shovel to cut out and gently pull up the turf being careful not to damage it. Next, I dug out the valve box to raise and level it. When resetting the box, it is a good idea to add gravel or rock beneath the edges to keep it from settling again. (Un)lucky for us, we have plenty of rock in our yard, so I found a couple of pieces to use while digging out the box. Check twice to be sure the box is at the correct height before adding in the topsoil and leveling to the surrounding ground.


Finally, the sod was replaced with some extra topsoil added in the seams. It is important to press it down to ensure good contact between the roots and new topsoil and give the turf plenty of water for a couple of weeks to help it get reestablished.


In the next couple of months the grass will fill in the seams and you won’t even notice where it was removed so you can fully appreciate the newly leveled lawn.

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