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How to Kill the Grass & Lay Sod

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Every homeowner strives hard to achieve a lush green and healthy lawn. Sometimes, however, despite our best efforts, lawn grass has lots of weeds, is unhealthy and brown, sparsely grown or full of dead spots. When all efforts to correct such problems prove futile, the only solution is to kill existing grass and lay sod in its place. Sod has the advantage of forming an immediate grass cover over a barren patch as compared to planting seeds that take time to grow and spread.

Measure the length and width of your lawn and note it down on paper. Multiply both the figures to determine your area in square feet. Ideally, you need 1 gallon of commercial grass killer per every 300 square feet of lawn. Calculate how much weed killer you require depending on the area.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for applying grass killer. Avoid plants or trees nearby that you do not want to kill, or spread a piece of cloth over them to protect them from harmful chemicals. Leave the grass killer on the lawn for two days. If there are any patches that have not been killed, spray them again.

Rake the dead grass to remove it. Collect it in a wheelbarrow or tarp and discard appropriately. You can also use a de-thatcher to remove the dead grass.

Till the soil to a depth of 4 inches. This helps aerate the soil by breaking and loosening compacted mounds. Apply a phosphorous-rich fertilizer to the aerated soil, and rake it so it goes deep down.

Place a sod roll on a corner of the area to be covered and unroll it carefully. Place another sod roll flush against the first. Repeat this process until you lay all the rolls of sod. There should be no overlapping edges between parallel rolls, but they should be flush against one another. Cut sod with a serrated knife to contour it against any edging or hardscaping.

Fill a lawn roller with water until it's half mark full and roll it over the sod to ensure good roots-to-soil contact. Water the sod thoroughly with a garden hose.


Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Grass killer and applicator
  • De-thatcher (optional)
  • Rototiller
  • Sod
  • Rake
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Tiller
  • Phosphorus-rich fertilizer
  • Lawn roller
  • Garden hose


  • Wear gloves and a face mask when spraying or pouring grass killer over the grass.
  • Sod dries out very quickly. Keep the sod in a cool and moist area while you prepare the soil, and mist the roots frequently. Try to lay it as soon is it is delivered.
  • Standard sod rolls measure 2 feet in width and 6 feet in length. It is always safer to order an extra roll or two.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.