Low spots in a yard aren't just unsightly, they can be hazardous to both people and the lawn itself. A low spot tends to collect moisture, which can lead to lawn fungus and grass die-off. The low spots can also damage lawn mowers and equipment, or even pose a tripping hazard. Understanding the causes of low spots and working to level them will help prevent these issues.

Common Causes

A common but often overlooked cause is old tree roots or buried wood of any kind. The wood slowly decomposes over time. While this releases needed nutrients into the soil, it also results in a loss of mass and a low spot. If you know there is wood under the soil, it may be worth it to dig it out to avoid the ongoing sinking. Another common cause is basic settling. New construction is particularly prone to this issue as the soil settles after building and planting, or settles around underground structures such as a septic system. Finally, a low spot could be caused by normal wear, whether it's your dog rolling around in the same spot or a path worn by your kids.


Prevention is sometimes possible. For example, digging out old stumps instead of grinding them or using chemical removers will minimize the amount of rotting wood beneath the lawn. If normal traffic patterns are resulting in low spots, then consider installing a pathway to prevent further wear. You can even discourage rolling and digging by a family dog. Many dogs dig down to create a cool sleeping trench or to take a dust bath. Installing a sand box in a cool area of the lawn just for your dog's use may minimize this behavior.


Once you have a low spot, repair is needed to keep it from getting worse. Fortunately, the remedy is a relatively simple lawn maintenance task. Mix equal parts of a quality topsoil and sand together. Then, fill in the low spot just until the top of the grass is showing. Wait a few weeks for the grass to grow through and establish roots in the mixture, then add a bit more of the mix. Continue doing this until the spot is even with the rest of the lawn. If the grass seems sparse, you can reseed over the existing lawn. Keep in mind that if the cause is rotting wood, you may need to repeat this process annually as the wood decomposes and the spot returns.

For more help, contact a landscape company in your area.