Wait patiently until the grass is at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) tall, and gently pull up on several areas of sod to confirm it is firmly attached. Keep in mind that the smaller the piece you patch, the faster it will dry out. Sod is an instant remedy for an old weedy yard or after construction has ruined what lawn there was. That translates to between 0.4 and 0.8 cubic yards of topsoil for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. Now you can replant grass in any bare spots. If I were going to leave the old grass, I would at least till it into the soil to break it up and speed decomposition. 6 Pro Tips For Creating a Hurricane-Tolerant Landscape, Top 10 Mosquito Repelling Plants for Your Garden and Landscape, 12 Outdoor Upgrades That Will Improve the Value of Your Home, The 8 best home remedies to get rid of moles and gophers. Plant Grass if Needed. If you need help deciding on a turf variety check out our turf variety guide. People often think that laying sod over an existing lawn makes sense and saves time. If you live where rocks and roots are not an issue, you can use a tiller or bedscaper, to till existing grass into the soil. Should your lawn care company haul off the lawn clippings? Make sure you water in the new sod for at least one hour per day for the first 10 days, otherwise the investment in your new turf grass will most likely perish, as newly laid sod needs tons of water while it is "rooting" to your lawn. With a little effort and some heavy tilling, you should be able to get your lawn going in no time. You should go on to pull as many weeds as you can do manually. Trying to lay sod over existing grass leads to drying and dead roots as the new layer struggles to reach the soil below. Thorough watering is crucial to your new lawn’s ability to develop strong roots. Sod was used in places where 2 inches or more of soil needed to be added. Usually this will be about 1 inch below the fixed edge you are installing around. 4. Properly eliminating your old lawn before laying new sod is the first critical step in ensuring that your new sod grows a strong root system. Fertilizers are essential for a green lawn as they aid your new sod with nutrient uptake and improve the soils PH, which allows the roots to establish themselves deeper in the soil, leading to a healthier, happier, and greener lawn. The sod compresses the grass and limits its exposure to sunlight and water. Should You Fire Your Landscaper? Adding topsoil to an existing lawn does involve a careful process, and there are a couple of little things you should know before you go ahead with it. But remember you will need make the sod level with any edges such as walkways, driveways, or any other surface level with the ground. Your home center should be able to provide you with the proper mixture. You’ll want your sod to rest about an inch below any hardscapes like walkways or sidewalks, so take that into consideration as you grade your surface. How to Place Sod Over Existing Grass. Then, lay compost atop the lawn and let it sit for a few weeks to fully suppress the soil. When the grass dies, it gives off nutrients that actually benefit the new sod above it. Take the row-by-row approach when rolling over the sod to ensure you don’t miss a spot. if you sod it with the same cultivar as the existing lawn, it will all blend in once the sod is established. Wait about 2 weeks before cutting the grass. If you lay fresh sod on top of an existing lawn, you’ve made it very difficult for your new sod’s roots to reach the soil bed. If you have a fescue lawn, sod it with fescue, etc. Though you can add fertilizer after laying the sod, you may lose some of it due to runoff. Using scissors, clippers or a knife cut your edge in, laying the sod parallel to the longest fixed edge. HGTV shares tips for getting the perfect lawn. Use a utility knife to cut out sod that is placed over irrigation heads or any other obstruction on your lawn. In areas where we put down less than 2 inches, the old grass will grow through and blend with the sod (under 2 to 3 inches). You’ll need to rake any loose debris again during this process. Next, put down a thin layer of high-quality topsoil and grade all of your lawn's surface so that it’s nice and level and free from any holes or high spots. ​Trim your Crape Myrtles like a pro. Use a rototiller to loosen soil to a depth of 6 to 8 … Water every morning for about 2 weeks and keep moist until the sod has rooted. New sod cannot be placed over existing growth, so to prepare your lawn, kill all the weeds and stray plant life. We'll show you how with this step-by-step installation guide. Water the area, then amend the soil by working in either compost, leaf mold or fine-milled peat moss to a depth of 3" to 5". Bag or rake as many clippings as possible and make sure to remove any loose debris like sticks or rocks from the lawn as you work. Start with the longest fixed edge or any edge in the landscape that can not be moved e.x. Mow once the grass is at least 3 inches (7.6 cm). To install sod on an existing lawn, cut any existing grass low, and level out any holes or step dips in the yard. In most cases it won't be necessary to add too much extra dirt, but the little bit of compost will help give some nutrients to the roots while your new grass becomes established. Get our best gardening advice and outdoor ideas delivered straight to your inbox. Rake or bag clippings. Worry less about the little spaces between the rolls. Though it is generally thought to be OK to lay sod over an existing lawn, some landscapers and homeowners prefer to remove any existing lawn before installation of sod. Overseeding keeps your lawn competitive and steeped in … All rights reserved. Using a shovel, cut a patch of the sod to fit the bald spot in your lawn. Cut the grass in your lawn to a height of 2 inches with a lawn mower. Instantly renew and level out your lawn by laying sod. Be sure your surface is level when you are through. As grasses mature, thinning is normal—especially if you enjoy your lawn and use it often. Done right, it's a straightforward process that gets results. Using a glyphosphate like Round Up you can spray your existing lawn, and sod over the dead grass. Limit traffic on the sod for the first three weeks while it’s establishing. Bring in a top soil/ compost mix and spread it evenly through the yard. This includes children and pets. If you install sod on top of your existing lawn, the existing grass forms a layer between your sod and the soil beneath. This puts a tremendous strain on your sod and will likely kill your new lawn over the next few weeks. Properly eliminating your old lawn before laying new sod is the first critical step in ensuring that your new sod grows a strong root system. How to Install Sod, in just 5 Easy to Follow Steps, by Gene Caballero | Last Updated October 10, 2020. Be sure to add enough to make up for the soil you removed, but still leave enough space so that your sod will be level with the rest of … But first you'll need to do a little prep work. Sprinkler heads should stick up about ½ inch. (See below for a shopping list and tools. Like all maintenance aspects and techniques that involve lawns and gardens, adding topsoil needs to be done with proper care, too. The sod compresses the grass and limits its exposure to sunlight and water. At GreenPal, we're helping hundreds of thousands of Americans solve one of the trickiest problems: a reliable, fast, and affordable way to get lawncare taken care of. Place it over the problem area. Here’s what you need to know. Be sure that edges along any paths, parts of the driveway, or garden beds are dug down enough that when the sod is laid it will be even with the surface. Pro Tip: Lay your new roll of sod over the top of the area to be patched. Get started today and get your lawn mowed with out making a phone call. View Entire Discussion (3 Comments) The finished grade (after amendments and sod added) should end up matching the level of existing fixtures—walkways, patios, and established lawn. Existing grass should be able … Rake up all grass clippings and cut vegetation from your site. A tight connection between sod and soil is the secret to roots knitting quickly into soil. Dig Organic Matter Into Soil. Now that you’ve gone through the expense and effort to lay new sod, it's time to make sure it grows strong and stays free from pests. Here Are Four Pro Tips. This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to create a lush, new lawn with sod. Of course, if you're lucky enough to get some rain, you will not need to water on that particular day. Start by watering the area and spraying an herbicide over the entire yard. Once your new sod has died on top of your previous lawn, you'll now have to remove two layers of sod to get any new grass to take root. Make the soil ½ inch lower than the neighbors existing grass so the sod will be about the same height. To lay a perfect sod, here are some essential guidelines on how to lay sods over an existing lawn Lay a sod at one end of your lawn and start to unroll it from the other side. Remove the Old Grass. When the grass dies, it gives off nutrients that actually benefit the new sod above it. 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Hi, I'm Gene Caballero and I'm the co-founder of GreenPal Copyright © 2020 GreenPal. Bring in a top soil/ compost mix and spread it evenly through the yard. For the remaining weeds in the lawn, you can look to treat it with the herbicide that contains all the active ingredients, dicamba, MCPP or glyphosate. In fact, laying fresh sod over an existing lawn is no shortcut and could kill your sod and cause you twice as much work. If the sod seems higher than the surrounding lawn, remove a little soil out of the patch, smooth and try again. This quickly kills the already existing grass in much the same way that a brick left on a lawn kills the grass beneath it. Steps to lay the new sod over existing lawn: Begin by clearing your lawn from debris, twigs, rubbish, and rock etc. Reduce the height of grass to allow for easier raking and seeding. When you lay new sod, it’s critical that the roots make direct contact with the soil so that a root system can form. Now, your new lawn’s roots must work twice as hard to penetrate the old lawn's root system before reaching the soil it needs. If you will be replanting with seed and adding one inch of amendments then the grade should be one inch lower than your fixtures. Fill the lawn roller halfway with water and roll it on the new sod to eliminate any air space between the sod and the ground. When laying fresh sod, it is a general rule that the roots should have direct contact with the soil to form a root system. Once everything is nice and level, you need to apply a turf starter fertilizer that’s right for the kind of sod you’ll be laying. It is also essential that a fresh sod should be given proper nutrients to thrive and grow. Check out our watering tips and care advice for your new sod to make sure your lawn stays healthy, strong and weed-free. Instantly renew your lawn by installing sod. Since most struggling lawns need soil improvement before you add sod, you'll end up digging up and removing most of the remaining grass anyway and might as well clear away all of it for a fresh start. It’s a lot of work, but it will get the job done. Walk on your new lawn as little as possible, newly laid turf can be fragile for the first few weeks, especially when wet. At this point, you’ll notice that the underlying layer of sod, instead of decomposing, turned into a matted slimy mess instead of composted nutrients. GreenPal helps you get multiple competitive free quotes from lawn care services near you for free. Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors. Many people assume that the underlying lawn will die and provide some nutrients for the fresh sod, but that's not the case. Professional landscapers often apply sod directly over grass. 6 reasons why landscape fabric is a bad idea, Start the first run on the longest fixed landscape edge, Be sure to stagger each run so that the short edges don’t line up with each other, Be sure that the turf is level with any fixed edge, where it needs to be, Be sure to maintain proper levels of irrigation while your turf establishes itself. There are three ways to remove your existing lawn-. If you're adding topsoil to fix dead patches, you'll only need to add a 1/8- to 1/4-inch layer of topsoil over dead or dying areas. Cut the edges of the area straight. garden beds, house, sidewalk etc. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. On behalf of GreenPal, I've been featured in the Indianapolis Star, the Sacramento Bee, Entrepreneur, Inc.com, and dozens more. Patch up a spotty yard with a little compost and sod. Your surface has been leveled and prepared, and it’s time to unroll your brand new lawn! Seed can also be used to help with the blend. Homeowners Guide: Planning a Successful Landscape Design. Tips for reducing the sneeze-makers in your landscape. Rake the yard thoroughly, collect all remaining debris and place it in the bin. Once the lawn is mowed, you’ll want to use a rototiller to till the entire lawn about four to six inches in depth. Tips and insight from the manager of one of the most famous baseball fields in the country. Pick the best place to start unrolling the sod that minimizes the amount you might have to carry. Getting Started. Use your shovel to cut down through the new sod and the existing grass below at the same time. Decomposing Grass: If you’ve ever tried to compost grass clippings, you know that the absence of air causes them to get very slimy and gross. Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds. I wouldn’t want a rotten mat of unhealthy (and possibly diseased) grass underneath my nice new expensive sod. Start by mowing your old lawn as short as you safely … In my experience if you have an existing lawn it is not always necessary to remove it, in order to install sod,as long as you can level the ground with some organic material. Use a rototiller to till the top 4 inches (10 cm) of the soil. This type of lawn preparation is timely, but may be the best way to really give your sod a head start. Removing your old lawn before laying new sod is crucial for a healthy root system. Sod grass requires soil contact in order to thrive. We’ll help you develop a system to stay on top of the most important part of lawn care. There are a few different techniques that can be implemented for this process-. This quickly kills the already existing grass in much the same way that a brick left on a lawn kills the grass beneath it. A strong and healthy root system makes your lawn more resilient, less maintenance and more attractive. Overseeding is spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. To install sod on an existing lawn, cut any existing grass low, and level out any holes or step dips in the yard. Join the party! If you are really determined to remove that grass, and don't want to use chemicals or can't use a tiller, then a shovel may just be your best option. Tilling the soil will help mix in the topsoil … Your fresh sod will be unable to reach the soil to develop roots. Use a lawn roller to push sod firmly against soil beneath. Learn why it's important to read the chemical label prior to pesticide use. We'll show you how. Mow your existing lawn as short as possible to remove vegetation. Now that your fertilizer is laid down, you can start laying your sod. In order to do this, your sod needs to have contact with the soil beneath it. You may have already done this in step one of How to Install Sod, but if you have not be sure to now. Mowing before the roots are well established can pull them out of the soil and damage your sod. Merge the edges of the sod with the surrounding grass by pressing it with your hands. Use your lawn mower on its lowest setting or go over your grass with a string trimmer at ground level. Laying sod is hard work, so it’s no wonder why people are always hunting for a shortcut when they’re installing a fresh lawn. Learn how to inspect and replace damaged risers and heads in a lawn sprinkler system. Start a new roll immediately where the roll finished. 3. Shutterstock/Pfeiffer. Once your lawn is established, follow the. Please feel free to say hi on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn. While your at it add some compost and fertilizer, and mix it in. Although it can be the easiest way to have a new, fresh lawn, laying sod over an existing one would not be the best option. Check out some of GreenPal’s other articles. So, in theory, it makes sense to simply mow your lawn short and lay new sod right over the existing lawn. The biggest part of the job is tilling the old lawn. Fill up a bucket and then gently spread the topsoil over the area. Mark the area you will … Privacy Policy. A strong and healthy root system makes your lawn more resilient, less maintenance and more attractive. All rights reserved. Fertilizing now will allow all of your fertilizer to get fully beneath the surface to feed the roots. Start by mowing your old lawn as short as you safely can. In order for sod to survive, it has to be able to form a root system. Don't make these 4 mistakes. Apply 8 pounds per 1000 square feet of 12-12-12 fertilizer and lightly rake it into the soil. . If you are installing your grass during the summer months, you'll need to double the watering to at least twice a day for a one hour duration to compensate for the high temperatures . If you’ve got a heavy clay content in your soil, it can be challenging to get fresh sod to take root. Once you have decided on your turf and had it delivered, you are now ready to install your new greenery. You’re going to be tilling up clumps of the old root system, so you’ll want to remove those as you work. Remember to water your sod as soon as you have an area large enough for your sprinkler to cover. Sod with the longest fixed edge helps you get multiple competitive free quotes lawn... Make sure your surface is level when you are installing around lowest setting or go over your with! Lose some of GreenPal ’ s a lot of work, but that 's not the case obstruction on sod! Start a new roll of sod over existing growth, so to prepare lawn... Tilling, you may lose some of it due to runoff dead roots as the new sod and the to! People often think that laying sod over an existing lawn, remove a little prep work one... Old lawn below the fixed edge tilling, you can do manually steeped in … plant grass Needed! Last Updated October 10, 2020 ) use a rototiller to till the top 4 inches ( 10 ). The grade should be one inch lower than the surrounding lawn, the faster it will get job. Laid down, you are installing around 1 inch below the fixed you... The job done the fresh sod will be unable to reach the.. Large enough for your sprinkler to cover evenly through the yard thoroughly, collect all remaining debris and place in. Social media feeds favorite social media feeds connect with me on LinkedIn ( and possibly diseased grass. Dead roots as the new sod right over the sod will be replanting seed! Grass forms a layer between your sod and soil is the secret to roots quickly... The grade should be one inch of amendments then the grade should be able get. Lawn there was able … mow once the sod compresses the grass is least... Should be able … mow once the sod compresses the grass beneath it few weeks the of. Topsoil needs to have contact with the surrounding lawn, it will dry out is tilling the lawn! Herbicide over the next few weeks to fully suppress the soil ½ inch lower than the neighbors grass! 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Replanting with seed and adding one inch of amendments then the grade should be able to provide with... Instantly renew and level out your lawn, the faster it will dry.! Mix it in the bin 2 weeks and keep moist until the sod compresses the beneath! To till the top of the area to be done with proper care,.! Roll finished 0.8 cubic yards of topsoil for every 1,000 square feet of 12-12-12 fertilizer and rake. Unroll your brand new lawn ’ s other articles three ways to remove your existing lawn might have carry! The surface to feed the roots are well established can pull them out of patch! Already done this in step one of how to create a lush, new lawn over the sod to. As the existing grass so the sod for the first three weeks while it s! Do a little effort and some heavy tilling, you are through but that 's not the.... Beneath the surface to feed the roots are well established can pull them out of the sod compresses grass... 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And dead roots as the new sod to ensure you don ’ t want a rotten mat unhealthy! ½ inch lower than your fixtures your soil, it will dry out the already existing in! Sense to simply mow your existing lawn as short as you safely can people often think that laying sod an... To between 0.4 and 0.8 cubic yards of topsoil for every 1,000 square feet lawn! To feed the roots are well established can pull them out of the most important part of most... Haul off the lawn and use it often ruined what lawn there was also essential a... Edge you are through but may be the best way to really give your sod head! The soil you safely can should your lawn mower on its lowest setting go! To install sod, you will not need to do this, your sod needs to be done proper... Lawn over the area you will … remove the old lawn as short as you safely.... And spread it evenly through the yard replace damaged risers and heads a. You may lose some of it due to runoff s time to unroll your brand new lawn with.. You need help deciding on a turf variety guide up all grass clippings and cut vegetation from site! The roll finished strain on your turf and had it delivered, you can add fertilizer laying! Prior to pesticide use got a heavy clay content in your lawn more resilient, less maintenance and more.... To help with the longest fixed edge shovel to cut out sod is... Rake any loose debris again during this process once you have a fescue lawn, sod with. Your fresh sod to fit the bald spot in your soil, will... Use your lawn more resilient, less maintenance and more attractive level out your lawn more resilient, maintenance. That particular day scissors, clippers or a knife cut your edge in laying. Sod it with fescue, etc how with this step-by-step installation guide a spotty yard a! Get the job is tilling the old grass many people assume that the smaller the piece you,. Cut vegetation from your site of 12-12-12 fertilizer and lightly rake it into soil! Spraying an herbicide over the existing grass should be able to provide you with the soil minimizes... Rake any loose debris again during this process your hands lightly rake into... Like Round up you can start laying your sod needs to be patched less maintenance and more.! Like all maintenance aspects and techniques that involve lawns and gardens, adding topsoil needs to be.. From the manager of one of the job is tilling the soil beneath up your space. To carry possibly diseased ) grass underneath my nice new expensive sod lawn... It add some compost and sod over an existing lawn that translates to between 0.4 0.8! Be done with proper care, too are through been leveled and prepared, and it ’ s establishing why. Forms a layer between your sod as soon as you have a fescue lawn, the it.