Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

A Simple Rake also Contributes to Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns
A Simple Rake also Contributes to Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

The Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns represents the penultimate stage of work, before the yield of a green space with grass plants.

And as with any kind of work, so here, the more correctly and diligently it is done, the better the result will be.

This article comes (running) to contribute in this direction, informing and instructing each interested party about the necessary preparations, as well as their succession and proper execution, which end in the creation of a new lawn.

Where in general and regardless of whether this lawn results from sowing or from sodding, the necessary pre-treatments remain the same.

But let us not advance the unfortunate reader: as the editorial team of "Kalliergeia" let us welcome him to another in-depth article, let us support him in his misfortune, and let us invite him to go inside this (article).

The Pleasure of the Text awaits her/him in a sweat.

This garden has come close to the final leveling and grading.

The Preparation Part of Installing a New Lawn is Almost Complete
The Preparation Part of Installing a New Lawn is Almost Complete
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Soil Preparation

The soil preparation for seeding or sodding home lawn generally includes the following individual tasks, to the extent that the existing soil is considered suitable:

  • Removal of stones and / or debris (1st or 2nd step, depending on the quantity)
  • Weed control
  • Initial rough grade of the site with the incorporation of soil conditioners and fertilizers
  • Installation of drainage and irrigation system
  • Final fine grade of the site

If the existing soil is deemed unsuitable, then the individual tasks are as follows:

  • Unsuitable soil is removed
  • Fertile topsoil is added
  • Rough landscaping takes place
  • Preventive weeding is done
  • The initial rough grade of the site is rendered with the incorporation of soil conditioners and fertilizers
  • The drainage and irrigation system is being installed
  • The final fine grade of the site is given

Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

Soil Preparation for Seeding - Leveling and Grading of the Entire Site Have Been Carried Out
Leveling and Grading of the Entire Site Have Been Carried Out

Cleaning the Site of Rubbish & Debris

In order to be able to sow or install turf in an area, then it should be clean. Clean means free from construction aggregates or building materials, as well as from various types of organic.

Especially in the newly delivered houses, it often happens and more or less everywhere, the Contractors without Borders find the area intended for a garden as a convenient landfill.

There they throw all kinds of garbage or burying waste, astonishing the owner or the last and outcast of the contractors, the green one, with their ingenuity.

From whole pieces of cements to small pieces of iron bars, and from sections of plastic pipes to piles of bathroom tiles, the variety of rubbish and rubbles can be innumerable.

All these materials, as well as various debris from 5 to 7.5 cm (2-3 in) in size, should be removed, along with rocks or large stones, as well as sometimes along with any logs and tree roots.

Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

Weeds Control

Chemical pesticides attempt to rid the soil of annual and perennial weeds, as well as their seeds. And of course the application of herbicides can be done to eliminate any remaining parts from a previous lawn.

However, successful weed control can be achieved in other ways – in addition to chemical control – the success of which depends on the type and number of weeds.

Weeds Control by Chemical Means

Usually, depending on the number and type of weeds present, more than two applications are required, every 14 days, of a non-selective, herbicide. Carrying out the pesticide with chemical means, requires the responsible use, with the meticulous observance of the instructions of the manufacturer, which are written on the label of the respective preparation.

For a more efficient result, the contribution of adding a minimal dose of water-soluble fertilizer to the herbicide solution is remarkable, while before application a good watering of the soil with weeds is recommended.

However, if, contrary to expectations, among the weeds there are also sedge plants (as Cyperus spp.) or Cogon Grass (Imperata cylindrica), let the lucky one be aware that they are not chemically controlled. In this case, and if time presses, it is necessary to remove the soil to a depth of at least 40 cm and replace it with a new one – with the corresponding financial burden.

Weeds Control by Mechanical Means - Cultivation Practices

If the number and type of weeds do not cause a big headache, the shovel and the digger can give spectacular results.

The same can be done with the use of a moto tiller. The machine will be adjusted to a depth of 20 to 30 cm, crossing the ground twice with an interval of 14 days. This method is especially effective during the summer, when the roots of the weeds are exposed to the destructive for them energy of the sun.

Another way to control weeds is by using weed-destroying flame-throwers. The operator passes over each weed, and by applying a flame or hot air destroys the weeds. The disadvantage of this method is that in fully established graminoids weeds, the surface part is destroyed, but the root remains active and ready for action.

Another method of destroying weeds, as well as any parts of the previous lawn, is a variant of soil solarization. According to it, a black and thick plastic sheet is spread for about 15 days, in the area where the new lawn will be installed. With the development of heat and in dark conditions most of the weeds are destroyed, as well as any remnants of the previous lawn. The disadvantage here is that the hard-to-kill weeds are not destroyed.

Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

A Lawn Roller and a Landscape Rake have Completed the Preparations
A Lawn Roller and a Landscape Rake have Completed the Preparations

Initial Rough Grade

After the soil has been cleared of debris, rubbish, rubbles and weeds, a first rough grade is attempted. The purpose is the initial treatment of the soil and the yield of slope for the outflow of surface water, in a direction opposite to the building. The desired slope ranges from 0.5 to 2%, being functional and productive.

First Stage of Soil Treatment

If the area where the new lawn will be establised is relatively large or indeed large, then the surface soil deemed suitable will be transferred to the boundaries of the area. At the end of the works, it will be resurfaced in the area, following the initial slope achieved. For this reason, light cultivating is carried out, up to a depth of 10 cm, which also destroys the remaining weeds.

Soil Amendments

Soil amendments can be both organic and inorganic. Organics include compost, peat and manure (always well-rotted and free of weed seeds).

The addition of organic soil amendments to the soil aims to increase its organic matter content, reaching about 20%. To cover this percentage (and if there is no soil analysis) 100 to 200 kg per 100 square meters of the selected soil amendment are thrown.

When choosing an organic soil amendments, special attention should be paid to its contribution to increasing or decreasing soil pH. In general, it can be said that compost increases the soil pH, while peat decreases it.

Inorganic soil amendments include river sand, perlite and pumice, among others. The main purpose of the addition of inorganic soil conditioners is to improve the soil structure. Whether or not they will be added depends on the composition of the soil intended for the seeding or sodding of the new lawn.

Addition and Incorporation of Soil Amendments

For the soil amendments that were finally decided to be added, as evenly as possible is spread over the entire planting surface, with a certain amount of them going to the surface garden soil at the edges.

Their incorporation into the soil is carried out by vertical movements with respect to the initial direction of rototiller movement in the planting area. For maximum efficiency, the motor will plow or cultivate to a depth of 30 cm.

This cultivation work, in addition to the incorporation of soil amendments, provides other benefits, as:

  • It decompresses the subsoil
  • Increases the penetration of roots
  • Encourages beneficial microbial activity
  • Helps in oxygenation and better air circulation,
  • It also promotes optimal water mobility.

Of course, apart from the above, with this work it is possible for stones or other inert materials to come to the surface again, which should also be removed from the planting area.

Now if rabbits come to the surface, it means that the digger is a magician – and does not need to move away from the planting area.

Adding and Incorporating Fertilizer

After the addition and incorporation of the soil amendments, it is the turn of the addition and incorporation of the fertilizer.

The starter fertilizer that will be added must be complete, with a ratio of basic elements 1: 2: 1. That means Phosphorus (P2O5) will prevail, in terms of Nitrogen and Potassium (K2O).

This is because the adequacy of Phosphorus in the soil and its uptake by the plants that make up the lawn, is critical to the early stages of root development.

The amount of fertilizer required for the establishment of the new lawn (and if there is no soil analysis) is recommended to be between 15 and 45 g per square meter, and the fertilizer to be evenly distributed and integrated with cultivating depth not exceeding 15 cm.

Existing Trees

Particular attention should be paid to any existing and remaining trees. In this case, the magician-operator should avoid passing the area around the trunk with the tiller, so as not to damage the roots.

Also, in the area around the trunk, since a part of the latter will be buried, the soil composition should be differentiated, on the one hand not to hold water permanently and on the other hand for the oxygenation of the roots. Such a differentiated soil mixture could consist of 50% by volume river sand and 50% coal.

Completion of Initial Grading

At the end of all the above work, and with the help of a shovel and a simple rake and / or landscape rake, where irregularities have been identified in the relief are corrected, and together the desired slope is given.

In this way, the first rough grading of the soil surface, in which will be installed the new lawn, is completed.

Installation of Irrigation, Drainage and / or Lighting System

In this phase of succession of works, the installation of the irrigation and drainage system is carried out. The same occurs – if there was an initial provision – and for the electric lighting of the garden.

Irrigation System Installation

For the perfect infrastructure of a lawn area, the existence of an automatic irrigation system – except for areas with frequent rains which are distributed all year round – is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, the installation is or should be a design consequence, so that the irrigation water is distributed over the entire area of the lawn surface and in the required quantities.

For this purpose, an underground network of soft pipes is created, which end up in sprinklers. If sowing follows, care is taken to ensure that the nozzle heads are at the same level as the ground surface. But if sod is to be installed, then the nozzle heads are placed a few millimeters above ground level.

In both cases, this is done to protect the sprinklers either from clogging their nozzles (if they are lower) or from their complete destruction, due to the passage of the mowers (if the nozzles are higher).

At the end of the installation work of the irrigation system, marks are putting on the places where the sprinklers are located.

Installation of Drainage System and Electric Lighting

Installing a drainage system is not always necessary. It depends, among other things, on the climate, the micro climate, as well as on the soil composition and structure of the soil intended for sowing or sodding lawn. However, if deemed necessary, it is at this stage of the work where it must be installed.

On the contrary, the lighting in the garden is almost always necessary. But even in this case, the garden may be covered by the general lighting plan of the home or business space – however, with not always good results. But even here, if there has been a forecast and planning for the electric lighting of the garden only, then it is in this phase of work where it is being installed.


More information, both for the irrigation of the lawns, as well as for the drainage and the electric lighting of the gardens, let the always patient reader of "Kalligergia" expect in a relaxed mood, in the future special tributes.

Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns

Soil Preparation for Seeding - Installed Automatic Irrigation Sprinkler System
Installed Automatic Irrigation Sprinkler System

Making the Final Grade

The soil preparation for seeding or sodding home lawns is completed with its final leveling and the performance of its final slope.

Necessary tools for this purpose are, for small gardens, a landscape rake or an iron plank of some length, while for large gardens, a tractor mounted box blade.

After any defects in the terrain are identified and corrected, then rolling with a lawn roller, which contains water up to about 1/3 of its volume – or depending on the response of the soil.

The purpose of the roller is to lightly compress the surface so that the traces of the tool pass or the footprints are barely visible.

Extremely favorable conditions are, considered for the complete final fine grade of the soil, previous rains or systematic watering.


The References of the article with the slightly long and endless title Soil Preparation for Seeding or Sodding Home Lawns, are presented by the excellent Ghanaian musician and composer Gyedu Blay Ambolley and the Sekondi Band with the song Teacher.

With Pomp and Circumstance

From the Afrika Festival Hertme in the Netherlands, and in the summer of 2019, Gyedu Blay Ambolley and the Sekondi Band perform the song Teacher.

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