5 Tips For Hillside Sod Installation

Posted on: 28 June 2021

A grass-covered hillside is an attractive option for landscaping a slope, but it can be challenging to get the grass to take without washing away. The following tips can help you successfully install sod on a slope.

1. Create Deep Soil

Nutrient loss from the soil is more severe on slopes because water drainage can wash it away. One way to combat that is to work nutrients deep into the soil. This may mean tilling in the organic matter, topsoil, and starter fertilizers used for sod preparation to a depth of 8 to 10 inches instead of the standard 6 inches. You may also need to fertilize a slope more frequently once the sod establishes.

2. Arrange Horizontally

When laying sod strips on a slope, lay them horizontally as opposed to vertically. This means the sod strips are perpendicular to the direction of the slope. This method of installation prevents the sod from sliding down the slope before it can properly root in place. If the edges of each strip are tightly fitted together, horizontal installation will be much more stable.

3. Stagger Carefully

Sod joints should always be staggered so no two adjacent rows have joints side by side. This is even more important when installing on a slope. If joints line up, they create an easy drainage trough for water flowing down the slope. Over time, this trough widens and the sod is killed by the flow of water. Always stagger the joints, cutting sod strips to shorter lengths if necessary to maintain the staggering.

4. Roll Thoroughly

Any sod that isn't in full contact with the soil beneath it may take longer to root. On a slope, that extra time may result in the sod being washed out during wet weather as water flows down the slope. Use a lawn roller after installation to fully compress the sod so all parts of the root system are in full contact with a soil below. Lawn rollers are often available for rent at hardware stores.

5. Anchor in Place

Once installed and rolled, the sod needs to be anchored to further prevent it from washing out before the roots establish. U-shaped garden staples work well. Place one in each corner of a sod strip. You may want to tie flagging strips to each staple so you can easily find them for easy removal once the sod root system established. 

Contact a sod installation service if you need more assistance.