How to Install Sod on a Lawn


As a turf grass specifically grown for installing in another location, sod is typically ready for transplant 10 to 18 months after planting. This type of grass is great for filling in bare spaces on your yard or starting a new lawn. The biggest advantage to sod is that it is already established with a high success rate for survival. Sod is sold by pallets and rolled into place.

Step 1

Remove any existing lawn before installing your sod. Use a tiller to loosen the earth and pull up any existing lawns. Remove and dispose of any weeds. Lightly rake the soil to achieve a smooth area, then use a roller to go over the soil. Run the roller in several directions to ensure a smooth surface.

Step 2

Test the soil pH to ensure it has enough nutrients. The pH should be 6.0 to 7.0. If the pH is too high, add approximately 300 pounds of sulfur per acre. If the pH is too low, add 1/2 ton of limestone per acre. It helps to add organic matter to the soil. Apply four large bales of peat moss for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Step 3

Correct any areas in your lawn that drain poorly. Check for any standing water and puddles and grade these areas flat with the hoe and rake.

Step 4

Water the soil lightly before you lay down the sod to help the roots take hold.

Step 5

Lay the rolls of sod down edge to edge but in staggered strips similar to laying bricks. Press the seams together and fill in any gaps with soil. Water the sod immediately after installation to help loosen roots.

Step 6

Lightly roll the sod once it is completely dry to ensure good contact with the soil and remove any air pockets.

Step 7

Water your lawn with an inch of water every two to three days. Keep the sod moist but not soggy. Gently check the roots on your sod. If the soil is too wet, skip a day of watering. Too much water can cause root rot.

Step 8

Apply a second application of fertilizer four to six weeks after laying the sod. Use a 2-1-1 fertilizer and apply 1 pound per every 1,000 square feet of soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Roller


  • University of Rhode Island: Sod Installlation
Keywords: installing sod, sod lawns, lawn installation

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and has been writing since 2004. Works include publications with "Hall County Crime Examiner," "Player's Press" and "The Gainesville Times." Hammontree has a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.