How-To Guide

When Installing New Sod Start With the Soil

Mark Leonard

The soil is the foundation for any new lawn. If the soil is poor, the grass will struggle to develop a deep root system and will continue to need more water.

Existing soil needs to be rototilled 4 to 6 inches deep. Installing new sod on hard packed ground is like trying to grow grass on your driveway. Although possible, it is not entirely practical.

Add 3 to 4 yds of organic matter for every 1,000 square foot of area to be sodded and rototill into the soil. Incorporating organic matter into the soil will improve its water holding capacity and add vital nutrients.  Proper soil prep is the most important factor in establishing a new lawn.

Remove all rocks and debris from the area to be sodded and rake smooth eliminating all high and low spots. A nice smooth surface, free of large clumps of dirt and rock, will prevent having a lumpy lawn.

Cut down the soil approximately 1 1/2 inches deep in all areas along walks and drives. New sod can then be installed flush with the concrete.

Water the soil area until it is wet 2 to 3 inches deep. Hot, dry, ground will absorb whatever moisture is left in the fresh cut sod very quickly. This is best done 48 hours prior to sod installation leaving the soil firm enough to walk on yet still retaining some moisture.