Is Rolling Your Lawn a Good Idea?

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You may be wondering whether lawn rolling is good for your lawn. There seems to be some controversy around this topic so I’ve decided to write about some of my own experiences with it.

I’ll cover both the pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s something you might want to try doing.

Benefits of Rolling Your Lawn

If you’ve ever wondered why it like seems like your mower is jumping around quite a bit, it’s most likely because your lawn is bumpy.

With all the freezing and thawing that happens during the winter, your soil can actually shift to create uneven areas. The idea of lawn rolling is to remove some of these bumps to level out your yard. It tends to do a good job of compressing some of the loose soil down. 

I roll my lawn because I much prefer to have a smooth ride with my mower. It gives a much better cut too! I usually like to do it early in the spring.

If you’re planning on cutting low with your mower, you need to make sure the ground is level. This is even more important if you’re going to be using a reel mower to cut your grass. A lawn roller can be helpful for this!

Lawn rollers come in a variety of designs. You can choose between plastic and metal rollers that come in different sizes. With most lawn rollers, you’ll be pushing it around the yard. Some are too heavy to push manually. For these types, you can remove the handle and tow it with a lawn tractor. This is quite useful if you have a large area to cover.

Lawn rollers are very simple to set up. All you need to do is remove a plug on the side and fill up the drum with water. You can put in some extra pounds of water by tipping the lawn roller on its side. Once you put the plug back in, you should be good to go.

Pushing the roller in your yard is a great workout too! It can be pretty tough, especially if you’re going up hills. The drum is full of a lot of water and they typically weigh a couple hundred pounds or so.

Rolling your lawn with a roller is pretty straightforward. You want to make straight paths across your yard. You want to avoid going around corners because it doesn’t turn very well. You may have to go over an area more than once if you notice that it needs more attention.

You can purchase a lawn roller for a reasonable price. I like this poly lawn roller (link to Amazon).

If you just wanted to test it out, it’s possible to rent from a local hardware store for really cheap. You can usually rent one out for around $10 per day.

I’ve found that you can use a lawn roller to get some pretty nice stripes too. The extra weight is helpful for this.

Levelling the lawn with a roller before reseeding is helpful to ensure that the seeds are set in the soil and spread evenly. It helps to get rid of any clumps too.

Finally, lawn rollers are great whenever you need to lay new sod. It can help to flatten and combine strips of sod.

What Are the Drawbacks of Rolling Your Lawn?

Rolling the lawn is good for removing minor bumps in your yard, but it will not necessarily “level your yard” as such.

You won’t be able to do any good rolling in the summertime because the ground will be too hard for it to have any effect. I like to roll the lawn in the springtime/fall when the ground is soft. It’s best to do it right after you get some rain, although you don’t want the ground to be completely soaked because you’ll be creating too much compaction.

It can be hard to get the roller into smaller areas of your yard where you have less space. You need to be careful when pushing your roller near to any fence lines. Running into these can cause a lot of damage since the roller is very heavy and has a lot of momentum once it gets going.

Some people like to use heavy duty asphalt rollers to level their lawns but this is not something I would recommend. This is going to create way too much compaction in your soil. Even using a standard push roller can create a lot of compaction. You definitely want to make sure you’re aerating your soil if you’re going to use one of these rollers.

Rolling your lawn can take quite a bit of time to do, especially if you have a large yard. Things get tricky if you have slopes too. You’ll need to push in a criss cross pattern to make sure you smooth out all the bumps. This involves rolling in multiple directions which can take a while.

I’ve found that storing a lawn roller can be a pain too. It’s quite awkward to put away and it’s certainly not easy to lift into areas for storage which you’ll need to do if your roller is made of metal. Using it on damp grass can lead to rust so you need to look after it properly.

Final Thoughts – Should You Roll Your Lawn?

I’ve found that pushing a roller around my yard is pretty hard work. It’s not easy to do and it can be awkward to do in tight spots of the yard. Having a tractor or something else to pull it along will obviously make it a lot easier to do.

I would recommend giving it a try for yourself. I find it does help to improve things a little bit. I can definitely feel the bumps getting smoother after several passes with the lawn roller although the results are not overwhelming.

You may want to do some topdressing to supplement rolling the lawn.

In summary, lawn rolling is worth it if your only goal is to smooth out some small bumps in your yard to get a better cut. It’s not going to level your yard, but it can help to get rid of some inconsistencies you may have.

Happy rolling!

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