The Best Way to Level Ground Before Pouring Cement

Making a concrete surface level is best accomplished if the subsurface is properly prepared beforehand. The ground should be dug to a depth of 3 to 5 inches with a trench dug on either side. If the ground is mostly clay, an additional 2 inches of depth is needed to hold gravel, which will aid in drainage. If the surface is prepared with a fluctuation in depth of no more than 1 inch, your concrete will be level.

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Creating a level walkway is not that hard if the subsurface is properly prepared.

Step 1

Measure and mark the area where the concrete will be poured. Use stakes or spray paint to mark the area to be dug up.

Step 2

Remove all vegetation and soft ground from the area to be covered in concrete. If removing grass, reuse it in areas of the lawn that have bald spots or where a thicker lawn is desired.

Step 3

Dig out the area to the required depth. Concrete usually sits 1 to 2 inches above the grade, so the depth of the concrete should be 3 to 5 inches. If the soil is mostly clay, dig an additional 2 inches in depth to leave room for a gravel base.

Step 4

Dig a trench around the area's perimeter about 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep. This will make the concrete surface much stronger.

Step 5

Smooth the ground with the flat side of a rake and fill in any low spots with extra dirt. Check for level by placing a level directly on the ground.

Step 6

Tamp down the surface with either a hand tamper or a machine tamper. Pack the soil until you can no longer see a footprint when you walk across the surface. If adding gravel, pour the gravel base and tamp it down to pack it tightly. Check for level again.

Step 7

Lightly spray the ground with water before pouring in the concrete.