What Is The Right Method For Preparing Soil For Sod?

Are you planning to install sod in your yard? To achieve the best outcome you must work towards preparing soil for sod.

​I found some very helpful information from family and a native nursery owner. I perceived sharing the soil preparation steps could help out all those amateur enthusiasts like me who love having a lush green lawn and enjoy doing it on their own.

​I have lined up the tools and supply list that you will need when preparing the soil for sod. This will prepare you with all the gear and you won’t have to run to the store for a missing tool. Next up is a 6 steps procedure that you need to follow one after the other and finally have the soil ready for installing the sod.

​Things You Will Need For Preparing Soil For Sod

preparing soil for sod
  • A pH soil testing digital device

​If you can’t find the pH soil testing digital device you can choose to go with a manual soil testing kit. The manual test kit comes with some solutions that need to be mixed with the soil. The soil would change within a min or so and that needs to be matched with the color card to determine whether the soil acidic, neutral or alkaline.

​I personally prefer to test the pH level of my soil with the digital testing device as its easier and my hands remain clean.

  • Sprinkler system
  • Weeding tool
  • Chemical or organic compound

You can make of buy some chemical compound to remove the unwanted grass and vegetation. I create my own solution as I do not want any chemicals to get mixed in the soil that might affect my turf growth negative.

  • Soil grading tool
  • Topsoil (optional)
  • Water

Step By Step Instruction For Preparing Soil For Sod

Step 1: Get The Soil Tested

When preparing the soil for sod you must first test the soil. Visit the local nursery and rent/buy a soil texting gadget that shows a meter reading of the soil’s pH level. Just insert the device on the soil you wish to test and the reading will reveal the soil’s alkaline content which is essential to buy the appropriate sod. (See here, when is the best time to lay sod.)

Preparing Soil For Sod

​To understand the meter reading on your own here’s what each level and the color denotes:

pH Level



Alkaline (deep green)


Neutral (light green)


Slightly acid (orange)


​Acid (light orange)


Acid (light red)


Very Acid (red)


Very Acid (red)

The reading between 6- 7.5 is good for plant growth as it is around the neutral range. If the soil is too acidic or too basic growing turf or plants can be tough.

Step 2: ​Have Sprinklers Installed

preparing soil for sod

If you are preparing soil for sod for the first time, then you ought to install sprinklers. A new sod needs care and maintenance on a daily basis which can be fulfilled by the sprinkler system. In case your yard has one installed, place a flag beside the sprinkler as marker to aid you during sod installation.

Step 3: Get Rid Of Unwanted Particles And Weeds

Clearing the yard of all the unnecessary rocks, weeds, wild grass, debris, twigs, etc. is a key step in preparing the soil for sod. If any such articles are present during the installation of sod it will create problems and the sod installation will not turn out successfully.

Begin with applying some chemical or organic matter to destroy any form of vegetation that might be present in the soil. I prefer using homemade vinegar based solution and it does the job quite well.

Next, remove all the destroyed vegetation and add a fresh layer of debris to ensure that there is no unwanted particles or weeds left to affect or cause a blockage during the sod installation process.

Step 4: Soil Grading

​My lawn was flat and while watering or during rains I faced the problem of water pools forming. To counter I went for soil grading, you too should do that if needed before preparing your soil for sod. You simple slope the yard slightly so that the water drains and doesn’t form in a place. This will also prevent from overwatering the soil.

Step 5: Lay The Topsoil

Preparing Soil For Sod

Topsoil spreading is optional and to decide on it you may relay on your soil test results. I particularly chose to spread the topsoil when preparing the soil for sod as it assists the sod in rooting. I purchased premium quality topsoil online to pack the yard with befitting nutrients necessary for development and sustenance. But you can create your own topsoil for saving money.

Step 6: Water The Soil

The last step involves watering the soil lightly right before you start with the sod installing. The sod has to be immediately installed once you receive it. You do not need the soil to be too wet. Your aim is to moisten the soil’s surface and once done begin right-away with installing the sod on the damp surface.

Relate Posts:

Different Types Of Fertilizer Spreaders

Pro Tips

  • Do not aerate the soil when it is dry and hard as it will yield poor outcome.
  • Dillo dirt is a type of which is made from recycled materials and it acts as a support to the topsoil and the sod
  • Sod has to be the same width and length having square edges on all the sides
  • Do not leave space between sods nor overlap them ( See here when is the best time to lay sod.)


Has the tutorial got you all thrilled to start off preparing the soil for sod? I had some issues finding an appropriate step-by-step guideline which is why I put this tutorial together along with some tips I picked up through trial and error. Let us know what you think and send us your queries related to this in the comments section below. If this was helpful and you enjoyed the read, do share it.