DIY Network

How to Lay Sod

Everything grows in the soil, so it's important to prepare the soil properly.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Prepare the Soil

Begin by installing or checking your sprinkler system and inspecting the soil for any pests. Remove any old turf or plant material. We used a mattock for this task. Then rough grade it with a rake.

Apply soil amendments and granular fertilizer before you rototill the soil. Now grade the area, using a bow rake to remove the large debris. Use a water-filled roller to compact the soil and prevent settling. You will need to grade the soil a final time.

Note: Water-rollers and rototillers can be rented from garden centers and other businesses.

Step 2: Place the Sod

Now it's time to lay your "instant lawn," or sod, which is available in rolls or folded in half. Most rolls are approximately 5 square feet. Always lay sod along the longest direction. And remember: don't walk over it.

While laying the sod, remember to stagger the ends as you would if you where installing a brick wall. Also, since sod dries from the edges, you'll want to tuck the edges in slightly and then firm them by patting with your hands. You should use a sod knife or a sharp knife from your home (Image 1). Cut around any sprinkler heads at this time (Image 2).

Note: Sod will last on the pallet about a day and a half.

Step 3: Roll and Water the Lawn

Finally, roll the instant lawn with the water-filled roller like a checkerboard, both up and down and side to side. Water sod thoroughly when you finish.