How to Sod a Lawn


Sod is one of the easiest ways to have an almost instant lawn. Sod is often used to quickly create a lawn where there was none, improve resale appeal, clean up after construction, or to eliminate weed problems. Although laying sod looks rather simple, there are a few things that have to be taken care of before the sod is put down.

Step 1

Look at the area of yard that you want to sod over. Typically, there are rocks, low areas where water puddles and weeds that spoil the uniformity of your lawn. You will need to fill in the low areas with decent quality fill-dirt and then rake it out smoothly. Rocks will need to be picked up and chronic weeds can be sprayed with an herbicide as long as it has a chance to work before the sod is laid.

Step 2

Check the quality of the soil. You can purchase a simple soil kit that will indicate the acidity of the soil from garden centers and then make amendments. A simple remedy is to apply a 6-inch layer of compost to the soil since all soil types will benefit from compost being added.

Step 3

Water the area starting about seven days before you plan on laying the sod. The soil needs to be moistened at least 8 inches below the surface. The reason for the several days of watering is simple--if you try to water in just one or two days to that depth, you will just get puddling and muddy dirt will form clods when it is walked on.

Step 4

Lay the sod on the damp ground, setting each section next to the other without any gaps, staggering the sections like brickwork. It is best if you can install the sod on an overcast day when the temperatures are down a little.

Step 5

Water again, this time through the sod to the soil below. The water is critical in keeping the roots alive until they can reach down into the dirt. Do not add any fertilizers or amendments at this time, just water every day for at least two weeks to three weeks. After this time, the grass should not lift up when given a gentle tug.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Watering hose
  • Herbicide


  • Colorado State Extension: Sodding a Lawn
  • University of Illinois Extension: Seeding and Sodding Lawns
Keywords: sod lawn, grass yard, soil compost

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.