Filling Yard Holes Dug by Pets

Updated: Feb. 08, 2024

Dogs that like to dig can destroy your yard. Here's how to fix the mess they leave behind.

Next Project

A half day






When dogs dig holes, they don’t neatly pile the dirt next to the hole as if they had shoveled it out. Instead, it gets kicked out behind them so you can’t just put it back. Some people have ready access to extra dirt on their property. If not, you’ll need to buy it. You can repair by re-seeding or laying in a sod patch.

Tools Required

  • Straight-bladed shovel

Materials Required

  • Black dirt/topsoil
  • Grass seed
  • Sod

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Fill the Hole

  • Fill in dirt up to the level of the surrounding soil.
  • Wet the soil down so it settles, then top it off as needed.

Fill the holeFamily Handyman

Step 2

Seed the New Soil

  • Add grass seed and cover it with a thin layer of dirt.
  • Water as directed.

Add grass seedFamily Handyman

Step 3

Fill the Hole … Almost

  • Fill the hole with dirt, but not all the way.
    • Leave below the level of the surrounding soil by the thickness of the sod.
  • Cover the filled hole with a patch of sod.

Cover with sodFamily Handyman

Step 4

Trace the Patch

  • Cut around the sod patch using a straight-bladed shovel or any cutting tool.
    • You don’t need to cut very deep, just the thickness of the sod patch.

Trace the sod patchFamily Handyman

Step 5

Clear the Patch Area

  • Lift off the sod patch and shovel out the cut area so that the sod will be flush with the surrounding turf when it’s set in place.

Shovel the sod areaFamily Handyman

Step 6

Roll in the Patch

  • Carefully lay the sod patch in the cut area.
  • Pat the patch down, feeling for any high or low spots.
  • Peel the patch back and add or remove dirt to flatten as needed.
  • Water the patch daily for a couple of weeks until the new sod has taken root. Check out these expert tips for gardening with your dog.

Cover with the sod patchFamily Handyman