How to level dirt for a shed

Updated February 21, 2017

A shed is useful for storing gardening tools, lawnmowers or any other outdoor items. Keeping these items in a storage shed cleans up your yard and leaves room in your garage. The first step in building your shed is levelling the ground where the wooden foundation will rest. Uneven ground makes it difficult to build the shed properly and can cause the shed to be not as structurally sound. Take your time with this step.

Transfer the shed's width and length measurements onto the grass, using spray paint. Hammer a wooden peg into each of the four corners. Pound a nail into each pegs' top. Connect each peg with a string to form the shape of the shed.

Measure the distance diagonally from one peg to another. If the two diagonal measurements match, each corner is 90 degrees. Adjust the pegs if necessary.

Shave off the top 2 inches of sod, using a flat-tipped shovel. Shake the soil off the sod and into a bucket. You may use this soil later in the project to help level the ground.

Start in one corner and dig down approximately 1 more inch. Stand a 2-inch by 4-inch board in this corner and mark the height of the ground's surface. Use a saw to cut the 2-inch by 4-inch board to this height.

Dig across the edge of the outline. Stand the cut 2-inch by 4-inch board in the dugout area to check that you are maintaining the correct depth.

Place a 4-foot level on the ground in the dugout area. Check to make sure that the level indicates the ground is even. If any areas slope down, use the dirt you removed in Step 3 to fill in the low areas.

Dig out another section. Use the cut 2-inch by 4-inch board and the level to make the ground even. Once the entire area has been dug out, double-check the ground by placing the level first horizontally and then vertically in the dugout area. Fine-tune any high or low areas.


Fill in any low areas surrounding your shed with dirt to prevent standing water. When the shed is built, the ground should slope away from it at a rate of 1/8 inch every foot.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Spray paint
  • Hammer
  • Wooden pegs
  • Nails
  • String
  • Flat-tipped shovel
  • Bucket
  • 2-inch by 4-inch board
  • Saw
  • 4-foot level
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