How to Plant Grass Sod


Sod has a reputation of being difficult to work with because of the strict watering schedule you must follow to establish it in your yard. It does have its advantages, though. For example, laying sod will give you a nice-looking lawn in a matter of hours, while grass seed can take weeks to grow in. In addition, you can plant sod at any time the ground is warm enough to work with. However, for best results and quick establishment, it's best to lay sod in late spring or early summer.

Step 1

Till the soil with a rototiller to a depth of four inches.

Step 2

Rake the soil where the sod will be laid to remove any rocks, sticks or other debris.

Step 3

Water the soil thoroughly the night before you plan to lay the sod. You should not lay sod on dry soil because it will be more difficult to establish.

Step 4

Roll over the soil surface with a lawn roller half filled with water. This will flatten the surface to make it more level and even, allowing the sod to make better contact with with soil.

Step 5

Lay the first piece of sod along a straight edge provided by a sidewalk or driveway.

Step 6

Lay subsequent pieces of sod in long rows, abutting the ends of the pieces as close together as possible. The sod should be laid similar to how bricks or tiles are laid. The rows should be staggered so the edges of two pieces do not lay adjacent to another pair.

Step 7

Fill in gaps or holes with potting soil or dirt. Use enough soil to make it even with the top of the sod.

Step 8

Roll over the sod with a lawn roller half filled with water. For best results, roll over the sod in two directions. This will help the sod make contact with the soil underneath and will remove any air bubbles from the soil.

Step 9

Water the newly laid sod immediately so the top inch of soil is moistened. It's best to water sod for the first time within 20 minutes of it being installed, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. After the initial watering, the sod should be watered daily for the next two weeks. The sod will need about one inch of water at each watering. After the soil has become established with the soil, you can decrease the frequency or duration of waterings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize newly laid sod for at least four weeks after it is laid. When fertilizing, apply 1 pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet, according to Purdue University.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Lawn roller


  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Installing and Maintaining a Sod Lawn
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Manual: Planting Lawns
  • Purdue Turfgrass Science Program: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • All About Lawns: Planting with Sod
Keywords: laying sod, planting sod, working with sod

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.