When laying sod next to concrete you must first remove any old sod to make sure the new sod can take root. Then, make sure the soil level next to any concrete surfaces is 1 inch lower than the concrete. This will allow you to lay new sod at the correct height for a smooth lawn that discourages water from flooding concrete driveways and sidewalks.
For even better drainage, make sure the ground slopes slightly away from concrete surfaces. Once your ground is prepared and graded, lay your sod. Make sure to lay the sod tight along the concrete. Use a sod knife to trim sod to fit along curved concrete borders.
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5 Steps for Success when Laying Sod Near Concrete
Sod installation alongside concrete surfaces requires correct grading to ensure that water doesn’t drain onto paved areas. Improperly laid sod can cause your patio, driveway, or sidewalk to flood. In order to prevent these negative outcomes, follow the steps below for laying sod next to concrete.
Remove Old Sod
Before you can lay any new sod alongside concrete surfaces, it’s essential to remove all existing weeds, grass, and other vegetation. The best way to do this is by using a sod cutter. A sod cutter removes existing grass and topsoil, making the following steps much easier.
- Rent a sod cutter from your local hardware store to remove old sod.
- Adjust your sod cutter’s blade depth to remove existing grass along with at least 3/4 inch (2 cm) of topsoil.
- If your yard has no existing grass, you can spray any weeds or plants with this non-selective weed and grass killer.
It’s important to make sure there is no grass or weeds beneath the new sod you install. Laying sod over existing grass makes it difficult for your new sod to root. Your new grass may die as old weeds sprout up, destroying your hard work.
Manage Soil Height
To allow for proper drainage, the topsoil should be 1–1.5 inches (2.5–4 cm) lower than any concrete surfaces. This is necessary because the new sod you lay will have a bed of soil along with the grass. If you lay sod in such a way that your lawn is higher than concrete areas, water will drain from the grass onto the concrete. This will flood paved areas.
- Topsoil must be 1–1.5 inches (2.5–4 cm) lower than paved areas before laying sod.
- If soil level is less than 1 inch lower than concrete, remove topsoil and redistribute to low parts of your lawn or garden.
- If the soil level is more than 1.5 inches lower than concrete, add topsoil and tamp into place until the optimal height is reached.
If you’ve used a sod cutter in step 1, it’s likely that your topsoil is already near the correct height. If you used a weed and grass killer spray instead, make sure to measure topsoil height carefully alongside all concrete areas. Some excavation may be necessary.
Slope Ground Away from Concrete
Proper grading is key to making sure that water doesn’t run from your lawn onto concrete surfaces during rainfall or watering.
- When resodding, slope the ground slightly away from concrete surfaces.
- A slope of 2–3 inches (5–7.5 cm) over 10 feet (3 meters) is sufficient for proper drainage.
Use a shovel and garden rake to create this gentle slope after completing steps 1 and 2. This will keep water in your lawn, where it can feed your grass. It also prevents pools and puddles from forming on your pathways, patio, and other concrete areas.
Once you’ve prepared the ground to the proper height and slope, begin by laying the sod alongside your concrete surface. Make sure the sod butts up against the concrete, with no gaps.
- Lay sod right up against concrete. Do not leave a gap between the concrete and sod.
- Monitor the height of the sod as you lay it. The sod should not be higher than the concrete.
- If the sod is higher than the concrete, remove it and excavate the soil beneath until the sod sits 1/4 inch (1 cm) lower than the concrete.
Make sure to install sod the same day it is delivered. Sod left on the pallet overnight is likely to die. If you’re installing sod in an entire yard, determine how long it will take you to lay the sod from all the pallets you’ve ordered. You may need some help to finish the job in a single day.
Cut Sod to Fit
If you have a curved or winding edge to a patio or driveway, you’ll need to cut the sod to fit each contour as you install it. This will ensure a pristine lawn once you’re finished. In order to achieve this:
- Trim sod to fit curved concrete borders with this sod knife.
- Carefully cut sod to fit. Ragged or ill-fitting sod will contribute to a poor grass border long-term.
- Order a few extra square feet of sod, to allow for pieces that need trimming.
By taking the time to make clean borders that follow the edges of the concrete in your lawn, you will have a far better finished product. If there are gaps at the edges of the sod, your lawn will struggle to fill these over time.
Can You Lay Sod Over Concrete?
Do not attempt to lay sod over concrete. Sod, like all grasses, needs at least 6 inches (15 cm) of soil below it in order to send down strong roots and form a healthy lawn. If you wish to lay sod in an area that is currently paved, you must first remove the concrete, then level and grade the soil before laying sod.
Burying concrete in topsoil and putting sod on top leads to weak grass that dies easily due to disease and drought. Installing sod on top of concrete is not recommended.
The Best Way to Lay Sod Next to Concrete
In order to successfully lay sod next to concrete in such a way that promotes long term grass health and prevents water from flooding concrete areas, you must:
- Remove existing grass and weeds with a sod cutter.
- Make sure the topsoil height is at least 1 inch lower than concrete surfaces.
- Create a slight slope away from concrete areas, so water does not drain onto them.
- Install your sod alongside concrete, leaving no gaps.
- Cut pieces of sod to fit curved or irregular concrete edges.
Once your sod is installed next to concrete in this manner, you can provide starter fertilizer and follow a sod watering schedule to guarantee your new lawn thrives.