What is “machine grading”

Can anyone tell me how smooth/level a new layer of topsoil will be after machine grading? Hoping some experts here can give me their experience.

I’m having my 16k sq ft back yard prepped for a new lawn. My contractor will remove the top layer of bad soil/weeds/mulch and then replace it with a layer of new topsoil. The topsoil will be machine graded – he recommended that I do the final hand raking myself as he would need to charge me too much if he had his crew do it, and it’s “not hard to do”. What I imagined was mostly flat soil, with a few hills or peaks between where the machines made their passes. I figured a few hours over one weekend maximum and I could hand rake it smooth before seeding.

However after signing the contract he made a comment that his crew of several guys would need several days to do the hand raking. Did I totally underestimate how much work machine grading leaves? Or underestimate the amount of work for the final hand grading? Will the yard be a mess of peaks and valleys that I need to fix? I can’t imagine that he would leave it that bad, but now am a little worried. Advice and tips welcome please.

submitted by /u/MrNoodleIncident
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