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How to Prepare Your Yard for Sod

By Kenneth Coppens ; Updated September 21, 2017
Sod can give a yard an instant lush appearance.

Sod is a popular alternative to starting a lawn from seed. The appearance of a sod lawn is nearly identical to that of a lawn started from seed, but some view it as superior alternative. Sod installation gives a yard an immediate lush appearance without the brief "muddy yard" stage that you must go through with seed. Carefully prepare your yard before sod installation to ensure a smooth transition.

Test the pH of the soil in your yard. For best results, obtain a test from your local extension office and return it to them to find out the most accurate pH. The pH of soil should be between 6.0 and 7.0. If the pH is any lower or higher than this range, the extension office will give you information on how to adjust it.

Dig any weeds out of the ground with a shovel. Do not use herbicides to get rid of weeds, as they may restrict growth of the sod roots.

Rake the soil to pick up any rocks or stones in the yard. Collect all rocks and stones in a bucket and discard them or set them aside for a future project.

Pour 1 to 2 inches of compost or other organic fertilizer on top of the entire yard.

Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches with a tiller. The tiller will loosen the soil and incorporate the fertilizer into the ground. The soil must be loose and well-drained for the sod to successfully grow.

Grade the surface of your yard with a rake so it's at a slight angle. The areas around the house, driveway and sidewalks should be at least 1 inch higher than the surface at the edges of your property. This slope will encourage excess water to flow out of your yard, rather than sitting and create puddles.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Bucket
  • Compost
  • Tiller


  • If your yard has several dips, fill them in with topsoil.

About the Author


Kenneth Coppens began his freelance writing career in 2008. His passions in life consist of extensive personal research on food, gardening and finding natural and eco-friendly alternatives to nearly all aspects of life.