How to Lay Sod in a Yard


Many homeowners opt to lay sod in their yard as opposed to seeding it. While seed may take an entire growing season to fill in, sod will look lush and beautiful immediately after you lay it down. However, while laying sod is a fairly straightforward process, new lawns must be diligently watered and looked after or they will quickly turn brown and unsightly.

Step 1

Prepare the ground. Remove any weeds (be sure to get the roots), stones, roots, twigs or other solid material from the lawn. The ground should be excavated so that it lies one inch lower than the surrounding surfaces. Sod comes with approximately an inch of soil already attached.

Step 2

Turn the soil with organic compost and a lawn fertilizer that is high in phosphorous.

Step 3

Use the tines of the rake to smooth the soil, then level it using the back of the rake.

Step 4

Measure your lawn to determine how much sod you will need. Calculate irregular areas by breaking them down into familiar geometric shapes, or simply estimate the area.

Step 5

Purchase the sod. Quality sod will have grass that is at least 2 inches long and a uniform color. The soil attached to it should be dark, moist and feature dense and healthy-looking roots. Do not buy the sod until you are ready to use it the same day.

Step 6

Spray the soil with the hose to moisten it. Remoisten the soil as you go if it dries out. Never lay sod on dry ground.

Step 7

Lay the sod. The first row should be laid in a straight row, usually along the edge of your driveway or foundation. If none of the edges of your lawn are straight, make a straight line by pulling a string taut between two stakes embedded at either end of your lawn. Lay the next row in a staggered pattern so that the seams of the strips of the second row lie in the middle of the strips of the first. Make sure that adjacent rows and strips are tightly pressed against one another. Once they are laid, tamp them with the back of your rake.

Step 8

Fill in irregular edges of the lawn. This may require that you cut sod strips. Use a heavy knife. And when in doubt, cut the section larger than you think is necessary to ensure that there are no gaps in your lawn. You can always trim excess. Strips should not overlap one another.

Step 9

Tamp down the sod with a roller once it has been laid. Air pockets in the soil will cause the sod to die.

Step 10

Water the lawn well enough to wet the top six to eight inches of the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid walking on your new lawn until it takes root.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Organic compost
  • Lawn fertilizer
  • Board
  • Knife
  • Lawn roller


  • Lawn Advisor: How to Lay Sod
  • Blades Lawn Care: How to Install Sod
  • Landscape Design Site: Tips for Laying Sod
Keywords: how to lay sod, laying sod, sod lawn

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.