How to Level a Plot of Land

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel

  • Garden rake

  • Hanging level

  • Measuring tape

  • Hammer

  • 4 to 8 wooden stakes

  • Marker

  • Bright spray paint

  • String

When the bubble is perfectly between the lines, it is level.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

If you are going to build a shed, erect a pool, or build a deck, the first thing you must do is level the piece of property that it is going to set on. When you build on ground that is off of level, even by a little bit, it can have consequences on your finished project.


Step 1

Measure out the space you need to level with a measuring tape. Ensure it is slightly larger than the project you are building or installing. Keep in mind while choosing an area that you may be digging, adding dirt, removing grass, etc. Mark the ground with stakes or spray paint.

Step 2

Take your wooden stakes and make a mark an inch or so from the top. Then measure 6 inches down from your first mark, and make another mark. Do this for each corner of your square at a minimum. You can also put additional marked stakes at the half-way point of each corner. Drive the stakes into the ground to the first mark. You should have at least four stakes in the ground, with your top mark showing and your bottom mark at ground level.


Step 3

Tie your string between the stakes. Tie them right where your top mark on the stake is. Hang your level on the string. Pound the stakes into the ground as necessary to make the string level. Do this for all of your stakes.

Step 4

Within your spray-painted square marks, dig down until you find your lower mark. Clear an area of approximately 1 foot around the stake, inside the perimeter of the square as a visual reference as to how much you need to dig where. Do this for all the stakes.

Step 5

Start at the corners and along the edge. Using your visual references from the stakes, dig around the edge of the square. Again, dig at least 1 foot toward the center of your plot.


Step 6

Begin clearing the center of the plot with your shovel as the leveled plot takes shape. Dig until all the unwanted material is gone and the plot is reasonably level.

Step 7

Smooth the soil, removing and rocks, sticks or roots, especially if installing something like an above-ground pool. If you are pouring concrete inside a form, perfect leveling is not as critical.

Step 8

Lay a long board across your space and set the level in the center. Check to ensure that the bubble is in the center between the lines. Remove or add material until the bubble is centered.