If your yard requires smoothing and you’re grappling with a cash squeeze, you can opt to take matters into your own hands and build a home-made leveling drag.
And the good thing is that depending on the material used, you can use the drag for any leveling tasks including flattening parking lots, gravel, and top soil.
This guide will teach you how to build a leveling drag for your landscaping jobs.
Let’s dive right in.
How to build a leveling drag: Step by step guide
What I love most about homemade drag mats is that you can construct them from various types of scrap materials found at home.
You can, for instance, whip up a drag mat to level lawn from:
- Leftover chainlink / Old bedspring
- Scrap railroad rails
- Wooden pallets
I will take you through the simplest approaches.
Chainlink works well for drags for lawns.
And you can easily pull it manually making it a fantastic alternative if you don’t have an able tractor.
Here is a quick rundown of how to make a chain link drag mat.
- Lay an appropriately sized chain link fence on the surface.
- A 4ft.x 6ft.(width by length) drag works for a start though you can make it longer than 6-foot as per your needs.
- Now, cut a 3/8” rope to the desired length (6 feet long in this case).
- Next, you’ll tie the first end of your 3/8” rope cutting to the left-hand side of your 4-foot wide chain link fence.
- Head over to the right-hand side and tie the free end of the 3/8” rope there.
- Create a “V” shape by pulling the center of your rope.
- Grab the remaining piece of rope and attach it to the “V” shape (at the center).
- You can create a good hand grip by tying a loop on the rope (preferably at the end).
Note that you might have to make repeated passes to have the chain link tow behind lawn leveler properly level loose soil.
Pro-Tip: Consider wiring a couple of fence posts/cement blocks to the chain link fence (on the top) to weigh it down. This will make it heavy enough to break up and cut the dirt well.
You will be beaming with pride seeing your grounds look sleek like a carpet by the time you’re done.
The only downside is that it might henceforth be more difficult to pull unless you attach the chainlink drag harrow for leveling to your garden tractor.
I have also seen people use bedsprings (single/double) instead of chainlink and the results still look brilliant.
Option 2: How to build a leveling drag from wooden pallets
You can as well transform a pallet to a leveling drag mat that brings the finishing you would get with a commercial unit.
Here is how to make a pallet drag harrow:
- Ensure that the pallet bottom side is facing up.
- With a crowbar, remove all other boards on this side except the foundational 3- the one at the front, rear, and center of the pallet.
- Next, remove the nails with the claw of your hammer.
- Drill a 2-inch pilot hole through the support board at the center, about 6 inches from where the center support board ends. Ensure that the hole cuts through the entire length of the top board all the way to the bottom. An electric drill works perfectly through to the bottom board.
You can flip the pallet over back top for easier access.
- Drive 2-inch wood screws –halfway through- across all the top side boards. It’s best that you install them in a zigzag manner, beginning from one end of the pallet.
The protruding heads will dig into dirt better and loosen the soil more efficiently.
- Again turn over the pallet back down to have the screws face down.
- Insert cinder blocks in the open spaces left when we removed the excess pallet boards in step 1. This will add more weight to help this lawn leveling drag apply a neater finishing.
- Pick a piece of chain and slide one end through the hole you made in step 4. To complete the connection, pass the hook over a suitable link.
You can go ahead and test your locally made drag – simply chain it to your riding mower, lawn tractor, or ATV or again tow it by hand.
How to build a leveling drag: frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q: Can you level your yard with sand?
Well, you can but you have to tread carefully. That’s because some sand varieties can make your soil too alkaline and make growing grass a tough task.
Additionally, sand can harden the clay further worsening drainage and leading to poor growth of newly planted grass.
Having said that, a mixture of sand, compost, and dry topsoil is typically safe for leveling.
Q: How do I level a large yard?
If you have a huge eyesore sitting at your backyard, consider hiring a powerful tractor with a box blade. It’s definitely more expensive but a heavy-duty box scraper takes less time to fill the holes and level big areas.
The above options work wonderfully if you have more time than money in your hands.
In fact, anything flat will work on your bumpy yard and restore its aesthetic appeal as long as you put a bit of weight to it.
For example, you can weld unused dog chains together with abandoned bars to make a functional drag.
In all cases, it’s vital that you occasionally stop to clear the accumulated weeds and roots for the drag to continue working effectively.