Can You Lay Sod Over Sand? (Do this FIRST)

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You will have a peaceful time working on sandy soils because they drain well and warm up quickly.

However, they are acidic, have poor drainage, and are deficient in essential plant nutrients and thus leading us to ask, can you lay sod over sand?

You can only lay sod over sand if you first improve the soil structure. That is adding organic material such as compost, manure, mulch, or peat soil.

Adding such elements enhances the soil’s water retention characteristics and micronutrient profile.

Planting sod on sand is like laying it over other soil types. Let’s inspect what will make your sod sprout on the sand.

Can You Lay Sod Over Sand?

can you lay sod over sand

Yes, sod can be laid on sand soil but first, you need to improve the soil structure. That is, adding organic material such as manure, compost and peat soil.

Adding such elements enhances the soil’s water retention characteristics and micronutrient profile which is vital for sod growth.

Will Grass Grow Over Sand?

Grass can grow over sand but at a slower growth rate although you can increase its chances of undoubtedly thriving if you supply it with sufficient dietary materials.

After germination, sand and rough surfaces could hurt sod. However, sandy soil makes grass grow faster.

As a result, you’ll need to create a topsoil overlay to provide enough vitality to the roots.

How Do You Prepare Sand For Sod?

Here are the steps to prepare your sandy soil for sod installation:

1) Enhance Water Retention

One of the biggest problem with sandy soil is water retention. Moisture percolates rapidly into the ground before the sod absorbs enough to grow.

Read More: How To Improve Lawn Drainage With Sand

Fortunately, you can boost the water retention of your sandy soil using supplements. Vermiculite (a mineral soil additive) and peat moss (water-absorbing species of bog moss) trap a lot of water.

You can apply one of the two supplements into the sand while preparing your lawn for grass installation. However, vermiculite is better than peat moss when handling acidic soils.

To determine whether the sand can hold water, take a sample of the moist dirt and squeeze it in your palm. If the mixture crumbles, add extra peat moss or vermiculite.

The soil that remains intact shows improvement.

2) Add Essential Nutrients

When water drain out of the soil, it takes essential elements like nitrogen and phosphate. Soil deficient in such nutrients cannot nourish fresh grass for long.

If you wish your turf to look all green and thriving, supply it with soil rich in nutrients. You can employ a soil testing kit to check the nutrient level on samples of the soils drawn from different spots within your lawn.

After finding nutrient deficiencies in the soil, incorporating fertilizers or nutrient supplements while leveling will salvage the situation.

Till at a depth of 6 to 8 inches to achieve the best results from your sodding.

Also Read: Laying sod without tilling

3) Think About Topsoil Replacement

You may grant your site the potential to support a magnificent lawn by adding a fresh layer of topsoil.

Strip 8 to 12 inches of topsoil from your yard before embarking on replenishing it and make your property’s surface as even as possible. Replace the existing dirt with the topsoil of superior quality.

The fresh soil should have excellent water retention and be wholesome enough to accommodate the new sod.

Even though replacing topsoil is a costly approach to tackling issues unique to sandy soils, it offers you a long-term solution. With fresh topsoil, you can cultivate any sod which suits your location.

Read more: Fertilize new sod

Can You Put Topsoil On Top Of Sand?

Yes, you can put topsoil on top of sand; in fact, many regard it as a brilliant idea. It fosters the growth of grass without difficulties.

Grass can thrive on sand but sand drain too quickly, resulting in a shortage of moisture and other forms of nourishment.

But, if you soak the sand often and cover it with topsoil, the situation may change.

Furthermore, fertilizer would soften the soil, making it ready to produce any variety of grass.

If you want to develop a lawn, start by prepping the subsoil. If sand makes up the subsoil, you must cover it with topsoil to guarantee sufficient nutrients and drainage.

You can employ the sand available in your yard or buy more.

How Much Topsoil Over Sand To Grow Grass?

Four to six inches of topsoil atop the sand is enough to grow grass. The average depth of grassroots is 4-6 inches, meaning the roots will lodge in the sand if you don’t cover the gap with topsoil.

Lack of topsoil would deprive your grass of essential nutrients; shortage of mineral elements coupled with poor drainage results in low oxygen in grassroots.

In that regard, experts advise you to have 4-6 inches of topsoil above the sandy subsoil.

Also read: Best barriers to keep cars off your lawn

How to Lay Sod Over Sand

It’s easy to grow a fresh lawn by installing sod on the sand. The four most prevalent soil types found in a yard are sand, clay, silt, and loam.

Sodding on sand needs a rake, a garden tiller, a lawn roller, and a turf cutter. Follow the steps below to learn how to install sod on the sand.

1) Inspect And Prepare The Site

Examine the area for appropriate sunshine. and choose a proper sod grass kind to lay. Sod thrives in regions that receive direct, all-day sun.

At this stage, conducting soil testing will help determine nutrient deficiencies. Work the dirt using a garden tiller or a garden tractor to a depth of 4-6 inches.

2) Remove weeds and debris

Eliminate any weeds growing in the yard by either handpicking them or spraying a ready-to-use glyphosate herbicide. In addition, clear any debris, rocks, big sticks, and any other thing that could impede sod installation.

3) Improve The Soil By Adding Amendments

Integrate soil nutrients based on the results from the soil test. Sandy soil is often deficient in nutrients and evaporates water too rapidly for healthy sod root growth.

Use a tiller to mix the soil thoroughly with peat, organic material, or topsoil. Spreading a 2-inch cover of compost after applying the essential soil additives would improve the nutrient density and porosity of the sand.

You can add limestone where necessary to increase the pH of sand. After incorporating the additives, till the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches.

4) Level The Dirt

Use a rake to level the sand and loosen compacted spots on the soil surface. Ensure you break and dispose of all dirt clumps.

5) Slightly Moisten The Surface.

Use a garden hose fitted with a sprinkler to wet the surface of the death prepped for sodding, beginning from one corner on your turf.

6) Lay The Sod

Spread out the grass, beginning at the outside edges, and work your way to the center. If your turf needs a small piece of turf, use a cutter to cut the portion required instead of ripping it.

Press the sod layers gently and firmly to create a uniform look and an excellent soil-to-soil contact.

Also read: Plastic net in Sod

7) Water The Lawn

Water the fresh grass until the water seeps into the underlying soil and through the roots. To check for moisture on the dirt beneath your grass, lift the edge of a section of the turf.

8) Roll Your Turf

Roll the fresh sod with a lawn roller to aid root transplantation and eliminate air pockets.

Can You Lay Sod On Soil Mixed With Sand?

You can lay sod on soil mixed with sand, but preferably sandy loam which contains mostly sand and little silt and clay. However, to answer this exhaustively, we have to look at a few scenarios.

a) Planting sod on sand after removing patio slabs

You can lay sod on a compacted, sand-covered area that once accommodated a patio, pavers, or stone slabs, albeit it will have poorly established roots.

It implies you will have to till the soil and mix it with organic materials to strengthen its structure and nutrient content.

Alternatively, you can buy rich topsoil and add at least a 6-inch layer to the existing soil before sod installation.

b) Planting sod on clay soil mixed with sand

You can plant sod on clay soil mixed with sand after amending the soil’s structure. Whether dry or wet, clay soil crams down readily, which can be a nuisance during sodding.

Consequently, many people make the error of enhancing soil structure and drainage with sandy soil alone.

Also read: How to Grow Grass in Clay Soil

This approach often fails because of the disparity in particle sizes- sand alone would clog the minute spaces within the clay, expelling the air essential for root development and soil life.

c) Planting sod on sand used to level the soil

Grassing such a lawn is possible but strenuous. It demands tons of compost, manure, peat, or powdered fertilizer. You can opt for artificial turf to save yourself from massive work.

What is the best sod for sandy soil?

The best sod for sand soils include Bermuda grass, zoysia, tall fescue, bentgrass, and bahiagrass.  These grasses form deep roots that enable them absorb water and nutrients effectively in quick-draining sandy soils.

What can I put over sand?

Mulch, compost, peat moss, seaweed (liquid or solid), alfalfa are some the organic matter you can put over sand.


From the article, we have established that you can plant sod on the sand. However, implement changes in the soil’s structure to improve its water retention capabilities and boost nutrient levels.


  1. Utah State University: Gardening in Sandy Soils
  2. Science Direct: Sandy Soil

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