If the soil has to be leveled for the lawn seed, a lawn roller is usually used. If you don’t have these to hand, you can use alternatives, as described below.

Alternatives to lawn rollers

For sowing lawns , the soil is first loosened and then leveled in preparation. This is followed by raking the earth and sowing the lawn seeds. In order for this to remain firmly in the ground and to create a plane that is as straight as possible, the ground needs to be flattened again. A lawn roller usually does a good job here. If the soil is heavy, compact, it compacts quickly under a heavy roller. Especially in this case one of the following alternatives should be used:

“wooden slat skis”

The lawn roller is to be replaced by so-called “wooden slat skis”. This covers the sown area, leveling the ground and pressing the seed evenly deep into the earth. This is the easiest method to get up and running quickly. That’s how it’s done:

Materials needed:

  • Two wooden slats, each one meter long and at least 15 centimeters wide
  • Two ratchet straps or something similar
  • Sturdy shoes


  • Place wooden slats under your feet lengthwise
  • Fasten to the shoes/feet with a tension belt or similarly suitable band
  • Slowly walk the floor surface – lifting your feet straight up and putting them down
  • Avoid “shuffling” as it causes uneven pressure distribution
  • First walk the surface in lengthwise lines, then repeat in cross lines
  • The soil should be moist so that it can be easily compressed
Tip: As a rule, your own body weight is usually enough to smooth the ground sufficiently, but if not, additional weights can intensify the effect. Weight cuffs, such as those offered for fitness training and attached to the body, are ideal for this.


The use of a Euro pallet is only recommended for soil preparation before sowing the lawn. This method is one of the best alternatives because the unevenness of the ground removed by the board arrangement and the voids fill all the holes at the same time. This means that even the smallest bumps can be smoothed out with a Euro pallet. It works like this:

Materials needed:

  • A euro pallet
  • Strong, sturdy rope, about 1.50 to 2 meters long


  • Turn Euro pallet over (slats point to the floor)
  • Attach the end of the rope to the middle of the front brace of the Euro pallet
  • Tie a loop to the other end of the rope (for better grip when pulling)
  • Pull the pallet evenly and straight behind you
  • Should rest completely on the ground and not be lifted
  • Criss-cross the area

Loose bumps in the ground

If the aim is not to compress loose unevenness in the ground, but only to smooth the surface before sowing the lawn, such as molehills, the following alternative is ideal:


A normal coarse-toothed rake is used here, which is pulled flat over the mounds of earth with the back. A metal rake works best because you may need to apply a little pressure.

Tip: This method is also ideal for achieving an even soil surface after harvesting a vegetable patch without causing compaction.

Small lawns

In the case of leveling, compacting or indentation after sowing on small areas, you can proceed as follows:

foot treatment

It is easy to walk over the earth in small steps to prepare the soil, after sowing and for leveling. It is important to ensure that only shoes with smooth soles are worn. The seed does not adhere to this. In addition, a deep profile can cause bumps. In order to avoid compaction, vigorous tamping should be avoided.

Board layouts

The board support works in a similar way to the “wooden slat skis”. However, it is more suitable for use on small lawns, as it takes a lot of effort to properly reposition the board on large areas. Here’s how to get the perfect lawn:

Required material:

  • A wooden board – the bigger the better


  • Lay the board on the ground – always work from back to front and start in a corner
  • If the wooden board is lying, walk up and down on it and jump slightly evenly distributed
  • Lay the board first in lengthways sections, then in crossways sections
  • When folding, always make sure there is a few centimeters of “overlap” to the already flattened surface (to avoid raising the edge).
  • Depending on the desired degree of compaction and levelling, repeat several times if necessary

Build your own lawn roller

If you do not want to use the alternatives mentioned here and only rely on the function of a lawn roller, you can easily build one yourself:

Materials needed:

  • Round, elongated hollow container with smooth walls, such as a barrel with a capacity of between 40 and 70 liters
  • Bin with lid if sand is used
  • Sand, concrete or cement for 40 to 70 kilograms of weight
  • Sliding linkage (from the old lawn mower or self-constructed)
  • Large bucket and water if pouring concrete or cement
  • silicone


  • Drill small holes in the container through which the sliding linkage fits
  • Insert rods and seal holes with silicone
  • With sand filling, fasten the sliding rods inside – with concrete/cement it is concreted/cemented in
  • Prepare concrete or cement (follow manufacturer instructions on preparation)
  • Fill the container completely with sand, concrete or cement
  • Close the sand container with the lid – ready for immediate use
  • Allow concrete and cement to dry thoroughly before use – turn on the side and you’re done!

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