The UK is said to be a nation of gardeners and the cost of homes with sizeable, usable gardens is increasing – a recent study found that a decent garden can boost property value by an astounding 20%.
One such garden improvement worth considering is levelling your garden to make it a flatter, uniform space. Levelling seems simple in theory, but it’s a labour-intensive task in practice.
This article will review the cost to level a garden in the UK, factors that affect the cost and other common questions surrounding levelling a garden.
Average Cost to Level a Garden Per m²
By combining data from 8 primary sources and 5 secondary sources, we found the following average costs for levelling a garden in the UK.
Note that levelling a bumpy garden with no gradient is a considerably simpler job, as a retaining wall is not usually required.
This can also be done by a gardener, whereas levelling and building walls or terraces is a landscaper’s job.
|Type of Gradient||Levelling Only (No Retaining Wall)||With Retaining Wall||With Terracing|
|Bumpy Garden with No Gradient||£10 - £30/m²||N/A||N/A|
|Gentle Gradient (||£30 - £50/m²||£80 - £100/m²||£120 - £150/m² (one terrace tier)|
|Medium Gradient (10% to 20%)||N/A (retaining wall needed)||£100 - £120/m²||£150 - £200/m² (one terrace tier)|
|Steep Gradient (20% to 30%)||N/A (retaining wall needed)||£120 - £130/m²||£250 - £300/m² (two terrace tiers)|
Extra Costs to Level a Garden
These are extra costs you’ll need to add in depending on what you require after levelling a garden.
|Staircase||+£300 to £1000|
|Brick Retaining Walls Or Terraces||+£40 to £60/m|
|Patio Cost||+£80 to £150/m²|
|Stone Retaining Walls Or Terrace||+60 to £100/m|
|Removing Stumps or Bushes||+£50 to £500|
|Decking Cost||+£80 to £200/m²|
|Artificial Turf||+£30 to £60/m²|
|Sloped Paving||+£50 to £120/m|
|Raised Planters||+£50 to £150 each|
Factors Affecting the Cost of Garden Levelling
Every garden is different – the character of the gradient and garden will greatly affect the size and scope of the job. Here are some key factors that affect the price of garden levelling:
The size of a garden is the main cost factor. According to the ONS, the average garden size in the UK varies between 150m2 to 200m2 (but this figure is likely inflated by the large gardens of some rural properties).
10 x 15m and 20 x 10m are common sizes for 3-bed or 4-bed semi-detached or detached houses outside of cities and large towns. It’s unlikely that you’d need to level a gradient across the entire stretch of the garden.
Some gardens are more accessible than others, particularly when diggers, soil compactors or other heavy machinery is required. Trees, rocks, shrubs and other constructions also make the job harder.
The gradient of the garden can vary between <5% to 30%, 40% or even higher in some cases. Levelling a lower gradient may not require terracing.
The fill generally consists of dirt and topsoil. It might be possible to excavate the fill from elsewhere in the garden. Otherwise, it will have to be provided at an additional cost.
Retaining Wall or Terrace
The fill will be built up against a retaining wall or terraces to hold the tiers in place. Retaining walls or taller terraces are often built from concrete, but can be built from brick or breeze blocks.
Shallower terraces can be built with timber or railway sleepers.
Another major cost consideration is staircases, which are usually needed for steeper terraces. Gentler gardens can be accessed via a sloping pathway.
Patios or Decking
If you have a long, sloping garden that you’d like to landscape with terraces, tiers, patios and decking, these are all major extra costs. You will need to use a capable garden designer for any of these tasks.
Why Level a Garden?
The UK is not particularly flat on the whole. While some gardens built on inclines are perhaps already landscaped to use the sloped space, many are not.
Levelling a garden unlocks disused space, or makes dangerously sloped gardens usable.
Levelling a garden unlocks vital and valuable space
You can use your levelled garden for anything from BBQing to lounging, playing with children and gardening. Sloped garden spaces are hard to do anything with – most plants and flowers don’t like inclines.
Once you level your garden, you’ll be able to maintain it properly
Gardens with inclines often turn into slippery, muddy slopes. You can’t mow them easily, and maintaining them can be difficult or dangerous.
Levelled gardens are safer, especially in wet weather or the winter
Moreover, extreme rainfall or snow can cause issues if you have an inward sloping garden without proper drainage. This can even cause water and dampness to penetrate beneath the foundations of your home.
Stats show that usable, well-maintained gardens add value to a home
If you plan on selling your home in the future then levelling might be an excellent investment, or even profitable if it boosts your home’s value by 7% to 20%, as studies have shown.
Design an amazing garden
Sloped gardens can be dramatic and impactful when done properly. Terraces with patios or decking can totally transform an otherwise disused sloping garden. Levelling a garden is a design opportunity to transform your home and living space.
Levelling Bumpy Gardens Vs Levelling Sloped Gardens
When we discuss levelling gardens, it’s important to distinguish between levelling gardens that are bumpy or have multiple smaller and shorter inclines, and levelling more dramatically sloping gardens.
The process of levelling a bumpy or uneven garden is simpler than levelling a sloped garden.
Levelling a Bumpy or Uneven Garden
Levelling a bumpy garden is usually quite a simple procedure. It’s often necessary to find the highest bump in the garden first, usually by driving measuring stakes into different parts of the garden.
Then, the lower areas will need to be filled with soil and turf until they come in line with the higher areas.
This can be simple, in the case of a small garden (where DIY is easily possible), or much harder in the case of wide, open gardens.
Levelling a garden in this way usually doesn’t require terracing or retaining walls.
Levelling a Sloped Garden
Gardens that are more dramatically sloped in one direction are typically levelled by filling in the space, so the overall height of the garden meets the highest point.
Adding earth is much easier than removing it, though this is also an option when the garden needs to be lowered.
In the case of extreme slopes (e.g. 25%+), terracing is usually required to tier the garden into sections, with stairs in between.
Gentler slopes can be levelled in tiers using timber retainers or railway sleepers. This is particularly effective across larger, gently sloping gardens.
Levelling a sloped garden traditionally involves placing two stakes of equal height; one at the top of the garden and one at the bottom.
A string is then drawn between the two sticks (called the ‘run’). The height of the stakes is adjusted until the run is perfectly level as measured with a spirit level.
The garden will need to be filled until the soil level meets the run. The fill is usually a mixture of dirt and topsoil. This will then have to be turfed.
Today, professional landscapers will probably use laser measuring devices to size up and measure your garden’s gradients.
Gardens needn’t be totally flat – some slight gradient is better for drainage.
Garden Levelling Process
Levelling a garden usually involves a consultation with a landscaper. Always look for a landscaper with a portfolio of successful projects, a proven track record and strong local reputation.
If you’re looking for a more simple levelling job and don’t need a retaining wall, a gardener might be able to level the garden for you.
1: Measure and Assess
If you’re looking to get your garden landscaped with terraces, then you might need a landscape designer to draw up plans, especially in the case of complex projects.
The landscaper will size up and measure your garden and explain what they intend to do and how much it will cost, as well as discuss access requirements and equipment.
2: Dig the Foundations and Install Retaining Wall
It’s often necessary to dig a foundation for the retaining wall prior to filling in the incline. If your garden slopes inwards, it will be necessary to dig a trench for drainage. The retaining wall is built to act as a container for the levelling process.
3: Fill Incline and Build Terraces
The main incline is filled with soil. Any terraces will be dug out and built in ascending order. The new soil is compacted using a soil compactor. Staircases and/or pathways are built and patios laid/decks constructed.
4: Turf and Clean Up
The new soil is topped with a layer of topsoil prior to laying real turf or artificial turf. The project is concluded and any other design features are added.
Get Pricing on Levelling a Garden Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay to level a garden.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
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