How to Prepare your Lawn for Sod

Sod is an effective and affordable way to improve the look of the lawn quickly. Sod allows you to eliminate patches or create landscape designs that add value and beauty to your home. Sod allows you to fix certain areas or replace your entire lawn in as little time as a day. But before you begin adding new sod to your lawn, there are a few things you need to do to get the area ready. Our latest blog shares the process of how to prepare your lawn for sod.

Test the Soil

If you are wondering how to prepare a lawn for sod, the first thing you should do is test the soil. Soil testing lab kits are often available at local hardware stores or through your municipality. These kits have easy-to-follow instructions on how to collect soil and where to submit the sample for testing. You should have a report back in a few weeks outlining your soil pH level. Ideally, your soil pH level should be between 6.5 and 7.0. If you find your soil is out of this range, then adding nutrients to the soil is one of a number of ways to reach healthy pH levels.  

Remove Existing Grass

The next action you can take when figuring out how to prepare a lawn for new sod is to remove the existing grass. Sometimes old grass can be dry, dead, or in poor condition, making it difficult for the seed to grow. A power sod cutter can remove old sod leaving a fresh surface for you to lay new grass. These machines can be rented from local hardware stores or machinery rental dealers. 

backyard sodding installation Toronto by Ontario Quality Landscaping

Add Soil Amendments

When outlining how to prepare your yard for sod, we mentioned the importance of pH levels and soil nutrients. Likewise, soil amendments play a role in prepping for sod. The most common soil amendments are lime, which can increase the soil pH, and sulfur, which can lower pH values. Other helpful amendments are gypsum, which helps remove salt from the soil and compost, which will help improve soil structure and overall health. Soil amendments are available at your local garden center or hardware store. One of their associates will be able to offer tips on how to prepare the soil for sod using amendments. 

Till As Needed

Once you add soil amendments, it is time to till the soil. This helps evenly mix the soil amendments into your sod area helping to enrich it for maximum growth success. If you don’t have a tiller, you can easily rent one at your local hardware store. A tiller picks up the soil and turns it over, taking the soil amendments and spreading them underground to help the soil take root and remain lush and healthy. Soil should be tilled two to three inches deep to ensure the root system is nutrient-rich. It will also help loosen up the soil to allow grass to grow better. You don’t need to till the soil if you live in areas that are sandy or loamy and don’t require amendments to improve sod growth and health. 

after sodding installation to backyard garden

Rake and Remove Debris

When putting together your list of things you need to do to prepare your lawn for sod, make sure there is time allocated to rake and remove debris. This will help get rid of dead roots, stones, and other debris that may hinder sod growth. This is important because you want to ensure that your sod root system has unstructured root contact. Any air between the soil and grass could damage the root system and cause the sod to die. A traditional iron rake will take care of any debris. If you have to remove larger debris, then consider renting a larger 36-inch rake which will help speed up the cleaning process. 


One of the best ways to maximize growth is by applying fertilizer. You likely use it to help your flowers grow through the season, but many homeowners don’t realize that one of the best solutions for preparing a lawn for sod is fertilizer. A starter fertilizer is the best option because it contains phosphorus which helps with the healthy development of roots and encourages long-term growth. Fertilizer is available at your local garden center, hardware store, or feed store. Consult with your local municipal guidelines to ensure the type of fertilizer you’re using is allowed. 

Sodding backyard project

Quality Sodding, Quality Landscaping  

When putting together a plan for how to prepare your yard for sod, it is important to contact a professional sod expert who can offer you effective tips and suggestions to enhance the look of your lawn. Ontario Quality Landscaping takes the stress out of preparing your lawn for sod, offering a large selection of sod services designed to help you create a stunning outdoor space. Contact us today to learn more about sodding or any of our other landscaping services!

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