Yes, you can use a plate compactor to level a lawn!
Plate compactors are used for many different purposes, including leveling uneven surfaces and compacting soil before laying sod. If you're trying to lay sod on a sloped surface or have an area that needs to be leveled out after the ground has been disturbed by construction, then using a plate compactor is an effective way of getting the job done.
What is a plate compactor?
A plate compactor is a piece of machinery that can be used to level and compact soil, making it easier for grass seed or sod to take root. A plate compactor works by rapidly pressing down on the ground with its large steel plates. These plates can also have spikes on them to help dig into the earth and create more stability for your garden bed or lawn as well.
Photo by: TheConstructor
Do I need to compact soil before laying sod?
Compaction is important because it helps keep the sod in place, which is especially crucial if you're installing your lawn on a slope or hillside. Compacting also prevents erosion by creating better soil structure and reducing puddles of water that could cause mudslides as they dry out. Soil should be compacted with either a plate compactor, pitchfork, or both until it feels hard once it has been watered down, but not so much that you can't push your way through it easily with your foot.
Photo by: TheTurfGrassGroup
Do I need to compact the lawn after laying sod?
Compacting the lawn after laying sod is not necessary if you already compacted the soil below it. However, if you forgot to compact before laying your new sod or your lawn is looking uneven you can compact on top of your grass. To test whether compaction was needed in your situation, use a garden hose, and turn on the faucet at full blast. If water runs through easily without forming puddles or standing for long periods of time, then no further compaction should be required. If you do decide that compaction is necessary or if this test showed that there is already too much moisture, use a plate compactor to level out your lawn and avoid killing the grass beneath it by over-watering during initial establishment period.
Photo by: Tomahawk Power
What plate compactor do I need?
The best plate compactor for you will depend on a few factors. First, what size plate compactor do you need? The larger the machine, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be better for your project. Heavier plate compactors are not always needed for laying sod and should not be used on top of your lawn. We recommend a compactor between 180 lbs. to 250 lbs. for projects like this. If you have a small patch of grass or garden that doesn't need much compaction at all, a hand tamper may be better suited for the job. The second factor is what engine the compactor has. Tampers powered by Honda and Kohler are the industry standard and the most reliable running machines.
Where should I buy one?Plate compactors can easily be found at Home Depot,