Thanks for the tips Ware, your lawn is my inspirationWare said:I have the leveling rake from R&R - it works well for smoothing sand, but I don't know how well it would work on dirt. A drag broom or drag mat would be another good option. I would probably lean toward the drag mat for smoothing bare dirt.
Regarding adding sand after the lawn is established, I wouldn't be so quick to discount that idea. It all depends on your expectations of course, but lawns typically don't just stay level/smooth - you really have to work at. I agree that you should do everything you can to smooth the ground before the sod is put down, but don't be disappointed when you finish the season and it's not quite as smooth as it was when you started. It's also not uncommon to see at least some variation in the thickness of the sod pieces that are laid. I guess what I'm saying is you can (and should) do everything you can on the front end, but that's not always enough. :thumbup:
The drag mat idea looks like a good option and I do see myself buying that rake in the future for sand work.
Regarding the sand, I actually had a feeling that was how it was going to be. It doesn't seem like anyone can get the ground perfectly level just with a field rake. I know a lot of people are OCD about their lawns on here and am certain if any landscaper saw my ground they would say its level enough. But if I plan to use a John Deere and go with a short HOC, I better get it leveled as much as possible.
I am certain I'll be asking questions about the sand process on here.