Preparing for a Sod Lawn


Sod is rolls of grown grass, still attached to soil, placed on a lawn for quick establishment. Sod establishes itself quickly and is usually weed-free, as long as the sod site is prepared properly. Proper site establishment prevents weeds, helps the sod roots take hold, and ensures your lawn is even. Sod is expensive, and it is important that it establishes itself the first time around.

Step 1

Test the soil with a pH testing kit. Apply fertilizer, lime or sulfur to the lawn when tilling, based on the pH results.

Step 2

Remove debris such as rocks and weeds from the area by hand and rake the area smooth.

Step 3

Till the soil to a 4-inch depth to kill existing grass and remove compaction from the soil, using the tiller. Add organic matter from a compost heap, or leaves and grass clippings, to improve soil drainage.

Step 4

Place 8 to 10 inches of topsoil over the lawn if the existing topsoil is thin.

Step 5

Smooth the soil with a water-filled lawn roller.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Fertilizer
  • PH test
  • Rototiller
  • Lawn roller
  • Topsoil


  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Virginia Sod Directory
  • Clemson University Extension: Lawn Establishment
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Seed and Sodding Home Lawns
Keywords: sod lawns, preparing sod, sod soil preparation

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.