How to Prepare a Lawn for Sod

Overview

Sodding a lawn is more expensive than seeding but can create a lush green lawn in a lot less time. When sodding, you must have a master lawn plan that is designed before laying your sod. Keep in mind you will need measurements, and always order about 5 percent more sod than you need in case of problems. Proper preparation of your lawn is necessary before laying sod and can prevent a lot of problems such as disease, weeds, improper drainage and even failure.

Step 1

Test a soil sample from your lawn to make sure the pH and organic content is balanced. This can usually be done at your local county extension service. After getting a test done, you can assess what needs to be added to your soil and also what type of fertilizers to use.

Step 2

Kill any existing weeds or grass on the lawn area. This is if you are completely sodding a lawn, not just patching up an existing lawn. Use an herbicide that has glyphosate.

Step 3

Till the sodding area through the top 4 inches of the soil. Remove and discard any rocks, broken roots, thatch, stumps and other similar objects. At this time you can also add components to your lawn that were missing in the soil test to improve the composition and texture.

Step 4

Add a 4-inch layer of topsoil after tilling that has some sort of loam (specific to your region). This could be loamy sand for coastal areas, regular loam for the Midwest, etc.

Step 5

Layer any initial soil fertilizers needed. Do a second tilling that is 3 inches deep about one week after the first tilling so the soil has time to settle. After this second tilling, rake over the sodding area to smooth it out as much as possible. Ideally, the top 2 inches of soil should be very fine and smooth at an even grade that is about 1 inch below where you want the grass to be (1 inch below sidewalks, sprinklers and driveways).

Step 6

Water the planting area generously so it has more time to settle and lay even before sodding, if possible.

References

  • Sodding.com: Preparing the Site
  • Yardener: Preparing a Lawn For Sod
  • University of Rhode Island: Installing a Sod Lawn
Keywords: sodding a lawn, preparing for sod, preparing a lawn

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.