Prepare your Site - Sodding.com
Simple information on sodding your lawn.
|Just because the sod grass you have
decided to plant is already growing on its own soil... doesn't mean that you can skip
preparing the site correctly!
In fact, it is just as important that your
site is properly prepared for sodding a lawn as it is for seeding a new lawn.
The contractor at right is smoothing the site with a drag for the final grade.
Many of the same issues that affect a
seeded lawn, and the various preparation aspects of that lawn also apply to a sodded
lawn. The only difference is you apply a solid sod layer, instead of just planting
seeds. Be sure and look at the web sites below about the specific kind of grass you
will be planting in addition to our two major web sites that discuss the aspects of
selecting grasses and planting lawns from seeds.
Laying the foundation of a good sodded
lawn starts before you ever lay your grass. By proper preparation of you future lawn
site you can avoid a lot of different problems with you lawn down the road.
Aspects like diseases, weeds, yellowing, site drainage and more can often be avoided by
carefully preparing your future lawn site.
Be sure and read our section on lawn plans located at Grassing.com.
A good lawn requires a properly designed and laid out master lawn plan. This
plan will also help you to determine the problem areas in your site and corrections to
improve those areas. A plan for you lawn will also require you to measure out the
areas to be sodded. You will need these measurements to order the necessary square footage
of sod for your lawn.
A good rule of thumb is to order at least 5% more than the area you need.
You will find that you have a certain amount of "shrinkage" and lower quality
pieces which can be replaced with your extra 5%. Most larger quantities of sod are
sold in either a specific size roll (if in rolls) or a pallet of sod. Most of the
rectangular cut pieces of sod are sold on pallet quantities of 400 to 500 square feet of
sod. Try to order full pallets as usually you get a price break for pallet
|One of the most important steps you can
take before you sod your lawn is to take representative samples of your soil and conduct a
professional soil test. A good soil test can show you
aspects of your lawn such as pH and organic content along with recommended rates of
fertilizers and minor elements that should be applied to your site. These are all
things that you can fix prior to sodding your new lawn.
- Take a soil sample of your lawn area and send it off for
testing. You can usually get this done at your local county extension service.
- Kill off existing weeds and grasses on the site prior to the
planting area being tilled up. This only applies to areas that you will start new
with sod and not for overseeding / improving existing lawns. You can use a
glyphosate type of herbicide.
- Do the first tilling of your lawn area. You can also start
working on creating a initial "slope" to your lawn. An ideal lawn slope
allows water to gently run off of the site, usually at a slope of 1-2 foot drop per 100
feet (1-2% slope). Also at this time you can make changes in the slope
and drainage of your lawn by moving the soil to improve these aspects. If large
areas must be moved, try and set aside the top 5 inches (topsoil) of your soil to replace
back in the same location. After tilling the lawn the first time you may apply
organic amendments and/or top soils to change the soil composition and texture. Your
soil test should show if this is needed or not. You can also determine this by doing
the home test we describe on our soil test page.
- Spread any initial soil fertilizers and do the second tilling of
your lawn area. This is usually done about a week after the first tilling so as to
allow for decomposition. At this time you can install any lawn sprinkler systems you
wish to have in your lawn. Install sidewalks and other walk/patio surfaces.
Also start obtaining the finish grade by raking or dragging the lawn area smooth prior to
planting. An ideal finish is to get all of the lawn very smooth and level,
resulting in the top 1-2 inches of the soil being very fine composition. End up with
the graded area approximately 1" below the final level you will want the grass to be
(1" below sidewalks, sprinklers, etc.).
- You are now ready to sod your lawn. For information on
this part of the lawn planting process proceed to Sodding