Composting is the breakdown of garden waste into nutrient-rich organic material that is used in the garden or landscape to improve existing soil conditions. When renovating a lawn, grass as well as the soil that holds its roots requires removal before adding new grass or landscape plants. It is possible to compost sod pieces instead of throwing the sod away. This recycles materials from the lawn. Composting sod may take anywhere from one to three years, but the compost material is well worth the wait.
Cut rectangular sod pieces out of the lawn using a spade. Lift up the whole piece using the spade and cut any clinging roots with a knife.
Locate an area that is close to a water source and where odors from the compost pile will not offend neighbors, says the University of Missouri.
Pile sod pieces in a square or rectangle, making sure the pieces are evenly cut for stacking. Make the pile 3 feet high, suggests the Stop Waste website.
Wet each layer of sod as you stack them so that they are thoroughly wet.
Cover the pile with a piece of black plastic or tarp. Weigh down the plastic with bricks. Allow the pile to sit and decompose. Check after a year to see the progress.