How to Level the Dirt in a Yard for Sod

Installing sod around your house gives you a second lawn, and some decide to go that route because it looks like the fastest and simplest way to achieve what they desire. Sod, however, actually does require a little bit of work before installation. To get a smooth grassy region that will have a good chance of putting down roots, then you must prepare the soil and level the surface.

Assess the yard to get a rough idea of how large it is. Find the length and width of the region in feet using a measuring tape. Multiply the two numbers together to get the square footage.

Examine the soil to know what you are managing. Follow the directions on the pH test kit to get the results. Ideally, you want a pH between 6 and 7. As a rule of thumb, add lime at 50 pounds per 1,000 square foot to increase the pH if it is low.

Till the dirt with a power tiller to break up the ground. Remove any items or observable stones before starting the task. Walk the tiller back and forth across the yard as you would a lawnmower. Break up the top 6 inches of dirt.

Remove any stones, stumps and other debris that the tiller unearths.

Spread material over the yard to enhance the soil. Use 1-2-1 fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen for each 1,000 square feet plus 2 inches of organic matter. If the pH was low, also distribute the lime on the soil currently. You might also add topsoil as well if you feel your yard surface could use a boost of richer dirt.

Till the soil a second time to break up larger clumps and work the stuff into the earth.

Rake the surface of the lawn smooth. This is a great time to alter dirt to decrease a slight increase in one place or fill in another minimal place. Pay attention to places near structures such as your house, and grade them to ensure that the dirt slopes off at a slight angle of about 1/2 inch for each 1 foot, around ten feet away from the construction. Use a level to ensure that you’re sloping the soil away from buildings and other regions you want to keep dry.

Run a yard roller over the surface of the dirt, working your way back and forth across the lawn. This will pack the dirt slightly and expose areas that may still be a little shallow or bumpy. Fix any remaining spots, prepare to set up the sod.

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