How to Prepare Ground Soil for a New Sod Install

Though costly, new sod is the easiest and fastest way to get a picturesque pasture. If you don’t want to attempt this DIY, the price to prepare ground and install new sod is between $1,000 to $2,700 on average, depending on your location and the size of the project.

Ready to skip the seedlings and roll out a lush, green lawn? Learn how to prepare the ground for new sod yourself.

How to Prepare Ground for New Sod 

Before you begin, make sure to measure and grade the land to ensure proper drainage.

1. Remove preexisting grass.

Before you begin preparing the soil, you need to remove any preexisting or patchy grass first. Dig up the grass and weeds, and then remove rocks and stones larger than 2-3 inches in diameter.

2. Prepare the soil.

Till the top 6-8 inches of soil. If your topsoil isn’t looking good, till at least 2 inches and add additional topsoil to bring the depth to 4-6 inches. Spread 2 inches of finished compost and 2 inches of clay or sand-like soil to promote drainage. Till in these soil additions.

3. Test the soil.

After you’ve prepped the soil, it’s time to test the pH. Most sod requires a pH level between 6.5 to 7.0, but different varieties may require a different level. If you need to adjust the pH of your soil, use a spreader to add starter fertilizer or lime. Lightly mix it into the topsoil. Test again to make sure the soil falls within the appropriate pH range.

4. Level the surface.

Use an iron rake to level out high and low spots. The soil should be 1 inch below paved surfaces, such as a driveway or patio. Lightly dampen the soil to settle the surface.

Now you’re ready to install the sod! 

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