A Guide to Making a DIY Lawn Roller

Lawn rollers are often used to flatten turf to allow for easy mowing and watering control. A smooth, flat lawn also looks more attractive and is safer for children to play on. If you’re looking to create a beautiful look on a budget, you may like to make a DIY lawn roller rather than buying one.

Let’s look at how to make a homemade lawn roller!

Why do I need a lawn roller?

DIY Lawn Roller

Yards can often appear bumpy in the spring due to the winter frosts. A lawn roller can be used to compress the ground and flatten out any lumps and bumps to improve the appearance of the lawn. Most homeowners have small to medium-sized lawns, and a lawn roller isn’t necessary.

Lawn rollers are most commonly used to maintain golf courses but for the average homeowner are an unnecessary expense. Professional gardeners warn against using a lawn roller as they are cumbersome and can compact the soil, which will lead to slower grass growth.

A lawn roller will compact the soil, and this interferes with the movement of air, water, and nutrients in the soil. This will result in stunted growth for your grass. Soil in good health will generally contain 25% air and 25% water to help plant roots develop healthily and allow micro-organisms and worms to move around.

If your yard has ridges or lumps caused by frost heave damage, you may be looking for a way to smooth out your lawn. Often, when the rain comes in Spring, these bumps will naturally go away by themselves.

If you’re looking for a way to smooth your lawn and make it more attractive, you may like to make a DIY lawn roller. There are many great ways to make a homemade lawn roller, using things you’re likely to have around your home. Making your own lawn roller is budget-friendly. It is also likely to be lighter and won’t compact the soil as much as a professional lawn roller would.

You may also need to roll your lawn when you’re installing sod. New sod should only be rolled with a light roller as you don’t want to compact the ground and affect root growth.

Homemade lawn roller

Likely, you don’t need a professional lawn roller to smooth your yard. You may like to create your own budget roller to smooth out ridges caused by frost heave damage. Let’s look at some DIY lawn roller ideas:

Make a lawn roller using a 55-gallon drum

One of the best ways to make a lawn roller is using a 55-gallon drum. Using a drum will allow you to change the weight of your roller by adding water to the drum. You can increase the amount of water to make it heavy if you’re leveling up a mini-golf course.

You’ll also be able to use this type of roller on your yard before you sow grass seed or lay sod. If you’re planting seeds, it’s a good idea to aerate your yard after germination to ensure the soil remains healthy and the grass can grow successfully.

Make a lawn roller using a cardboard drum

If you’re looking to create an effective lawn roller, you can use a cardboard grease drum. These types of drums are slightly better than the 55-gallon drums as they don’t have ridges and will level your lawn properly. These types of drums are lightweight and less likely to compact the soil.

You will need:

  • Cardboard drum such as a grease drum
  • Drill and drill bit that’s 1.5 inches diameter
  • Metal pipe
  • Trailer tongue handle or similar


  1. You’ll need a large cardboard drum for this project. First, peel off any branding paper that’s covering the drum.
  2. Then drill holes at both ends of the drum. A hole of approximately 1.5-inches in diameter is recommended.
  3. You can then insert a metal pipe through these two holes. The pipe should stick out six inches at both ends.
  4. Install a handle; a trailer tongue handle is perfect for this job.
  5. You can then start rolling your lawn. If you need to, you can add some heavy material to the inside of the drum to increase its weight.

Top Tip: Make sure you drill the hole exactly in the middle of each side. Otherwise, the drum won’t roll smoothly.

Make a lawn roller using an old water heater

If you have an old water heater with adequate weight, you can use it to make a lawn roller. The problem with using a water tank is that it will take skill and metalwork to create a lawn roller.

Lawn roller alternatives

Most people won’t need to smooth their yard using a heavy lawn roller. A few bumps will likely disappear over time when it rains. There are also some things you can do to flatten your bumpy lawn.

Dig soil from the high spots

In the late spring, you can dig out some soil from underneath the high spots in your yard. Dig dirt from bumps and then put the grass back down as you would sod. This will help flatten raised areas. If the grass doesn’t fill up the area you’ve dug correctly, you can overseed the bare patches.

Fill-up low areas with soil

If you notice any low spots in your yard, you can cut off the turf with a shovel. Use some good-quality soil to fill in the holes. Once you’ve leveled the soil, you can replace the grass you cut off to achieve a lawn level.


There are many effective ways to make a DIY lawn roller and flatten your yard. A homemade lawn roller is a more budget friendly way to smooth your lawn and is just as effective. Unless you are maintaining a golf course, you don’t need a professional lawn roller.

If you’re looking to create the perfect lawn, using a roller is a great idea. Alternatively, dig out the high areas and use the soil to fill in any low areas.