How to Build a Sod Driveway

A driveway can be built for free out of dirt and sod with a few hand tools. This driveway was built by hand in under 3 days.


  1. 1
    Decide where you want the driveway to be, and how wide, and at what slope.
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    Remove the sod with a spading fork from where the driveway will go. A spading fork is like a mini-pitchfork. Lunge at the rootball just beneath the sod and pry it out.
    • Put the sod in piles to conserve moisture and water it daily. This will keep it alive.
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    Find a source of dirt for your driveway. In my situation I used the area to the left of my barn so that the land would slope down and away from the building.
  4. 4
    Run masonry lines from the high end of your proposed driveway down to the ground. The lines will give you a guide to create a smooth uniform slope across the surface.
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    Begin digging, and transferring dirt in a wheelbarrow over to the driveway area. Dig with the pick, not the shovel - the shovel is used only for moving loose dirt up into the wheelbarrow.
    • Wheel the dirt over to the site, dump it, and tamp it down. Each load must be tamped to make the driveway solid. Remove sod as you go, so it's under the least stress.
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    Keep moving dirt over to the driveway and tamping. Get the surface even with the masonry lines and you will end up with a smooth solid ramp. Make sure to round over the edges of the driveway - a vertical edge would only be kept in place if you used retaining walls.
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    Cover the dirt with sod. This is the fun part. Water daily until the sod takes root. It will look like a shaggy toupee for a while, but eventually it will settle in and thrive. The sod both keeps the dirt below from eroding, and builds the driveway up a few inches to counter subsidence.
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    Keep watering until the sod has stabilized to the point that you need to start mowing. Ultimately the driveway will come to look like it has always been there, a natural contour in the land:

Things You'll Need

  • Spading Fork
  • Pick/Mattock
  • Half-length snub-nosed Transfer Shovel
  • Tamper
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Masonry Line

Article Info

Categories: Paths and Paving | Sustainable Living