The Easiest Ways to Remove Sod From Your Lawn by Hand

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose or sprinkler

  • Screwdriver

  • Edger tool

  • Spade

Removing sod by hand is a laborious task.

If you want to build an extension onto a house, a garden shed, a driveway or a path the first step is typically to remove the existing sod from the lawn. There are two ways to remove sod from a lawn. One way is by renting a sod cutter from a tool supply company. For the homeowner with only a small area of sod to remove, this is overkill. He can accomplish the same task with nothing more than basic tools found around the house.


Step 1

Water the entire lawn with a garden hose or sprinkler two to three days before you plan to remove the sod. Make sure the soil is wet to a 3- or 4-inch depth by digging down into it with screwdriver to test it. The water loosens the soil and makes digging much easier.

Step 2

Walk to the edge of your installation area and measure over 12 inches. Insert an edger tool into the ground parallel to the longest side of the installation area. Step on the top of the metal base with your foot to cut down into the sod.

Step 3

Remove the edger, place it directly beside the first location and repeat the process. Continue this technique all the way to the end of the installation area to cut the sod into 12-inch-wide strips.


Step 4

Walk back to within 1 to 2 feet of the starting location, and cut the long sod strip widthwise with the edger, which creates short strips that are easier to remove than long ones.

Step 5

Place the blade of the spade at the location of one of the cut lines and push it under the sod. Lean back gently on the spade handle to pry the sod's roots up from the ground.

Step 6

Grasp the sod with your hands and pick it up. Place the sod in a new location or set it off to the side out of the way.

Step 7

Continue cutting and removing sod until all of it is removed.



Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.