Installation of a Sod Lawn


When installing new grass over an area you can use seed, plugs or sod. Sod is the most convenient, because it is like putting down a ready-made carpet of grass. Sod can come in squares or in rolls; rolls are easier to install. It is possible to install sod lawns one day and have a green lawn the next.

Step 1

Measure the area where you are installing a sod lawn. This will determine how much sod you need. Measure the length and width of the area. Multiply the two numbers to get the total square feet. For example: a lawn 50 feet wide by 100 feet long needs 5,000 square feet of sod.

Step 2

Clear the area where you are installing sod of any debris, wood, rocks or overgrowth and weeds. You need a completely clear area to work with.

Step 3

Rake the soil in a back-and-forth motion to break up the soil and level the area. Get the top layer of soil loose to 1 inch in depth. Rototill the same area to a depth of 3 inches. Move the rototiller over the lawn the same way you would use a lawn mower to mow the yard.

Step 4

Remove the top 2 inches of soil. Set the soil in a pile elsewhere for another use. Grade the remaining soil with the garden rake until it is level. Use the pH kit to test the soil; this will determine the type and amount of fertilizer you need to add before installing the sod.

Step 5

Put the lawn sprinkler in the center of the area. Water the ground until it is saturated.

Step 6

Put composted soil over the ground soil to the height of the ground around the area. This will bring the new soil up to the level of the surrounding area. The composted soil allows the roots of the sod to become established before being affected by problems that may exist in the ground soil. Spread the compost soil with the garden rake in a back-and-forth motion to cover the entire area.

Step 7

Put a stake at one corner of the lawn. Set a second stake at the other corner of the same side. Tie string between them as a guide for placing the sod.

Step 8

Roll out the first row of sod along the line of the string. Set the second roll as close to the side edge of the first roll as possible. Unroll the second roll, keeping the roll seams as tight as possible. Stagger the row ends so that every other end lines up. Use the utility knife to cut sections of sod to fit into the gaps at the ends; this will even out the ends.

Step 9

Walk across the rows of sod from end to end with the lawn roller. Walk up and down each row with the roller. This will even out any unleveled spots and compact the seams together.

Step 10

Water the sod, using enough water to get the roots and underside wet but not soaked. Lift up a section of sod after watering to inspect the roots after an hour of watering. Continue inspecting the roots until the roots and underside are wet but not dripping. Water daily until the sod cannot be picked up and has established itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden rake
  • Sod
  • Garden hose
  • Stakes and string
  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Fertilizer
  • pH test kit
  • Roller


  • Blades Lawn Care: How to Install Sod
  • Purdue University Department of Agronomy: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • Walter Reeves: Sod Installed in Fall or Winter
Keywords: installing sod lawns, installing a lawn, types of lawn

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.