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How to Prepare for Sod Installation

a group talks about how to prepare for sod installation

Well, it’s finally happening. You’re turning into your dad and suddenly having a nicer lawn than your neighbor is at the top of your to-do list. One of the quickest and surest ways of achieving that lush and beautiful lawn is by installing sod. Since sod has to be installed the same day of delivery, it is important to have your lawn ready for installation before the new grass gets there. The sod installation process is pretty straightforward, but you need to know how to prepare before that can happen. For more information on professional sod installation, contact Valley Landscaping at 410.983.6261.

What Goes Into Sod Installation Prep?

The first thing you have to do for a successful sod installation is to prepare your lawn, which is fairly simple and can be done in just a few steps.

  • Getting rid of grass/tilling
  • Filling and leveling
  • Watering

Getting Rid of Grass

This can be done in many different ways, and while some people recommend you spray your existing grass with Roundup or a similar product, many professionals think this is a waste of time and money. The quickest and cheapest way is to bypass killing the grass with products and go straight to rototilling the lawn. When the sod is installed later, it will block the sun from reaching any existing plant matter, essentially making it impossible to grow again.

When tilling for sod installation prep, a depth of two to five inches is ideal. Make sure to keep an eye out for any irrigation pipes as damaging one could delay the project and increase the overall cost – mark the pipes out ahead of time if you think you will forget where they are. Another thing to look for when tilling are any rocks – small ones will probably be ok, but you should remove any rocks over a couple of inches in size. If you know your ground needs certain nutrients, now is a great time to add them. Mixing in compost is another way to ensure future soil health, and now is the best time to do it. Once you have all of your nutrients mixed in with your rock-free and tilled soil, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Leveling the Ground

Once the lawn has been tilled and any necessary nutrients have been added, you can level out the ground. This is a great time to correct any drainage problems you might have previously noticed in your yard. Once the ground is level, you can compact the soil to prevent any unlevel settling later on in the prep process. This can be done with a roller or by hand with a tamper.

Once the soil has been packed down level, you can start bringing in the topsoil to complete the preparation. Having a wheelbarrow is handy here as it allows you to strategically dump the topsoil where needed instead of having to shovel it all out. Once the topsoil has been moved in, use a shovel to distribute it across the prepped area evenly. The final step is to back drag the soil with a rake to ensure you end up with a smooth surface perfect for installing sod.


So, your ground is tilled, and level and you’re just about ready to install your new sod, but there’s still one step remaining yet. Before laying down your new sod, you want to saturate the ground fully. Sod installation requires a rigorous watering schedule for the first couple of weeks, and it starts here before the sod is even laid down.

Learn More About How to Prepare for Sod Installation at Valley Landscaping

Now that your ground is prepared, it’s time to install your new sod. If you’re looking for professional sod installation or just a place to order your sod, you can contact Valley Landscaping today at 410.983.6261. We can help you with all of your landscaping service needs.