Lay The Groundwork Meaning

(idiomatic) To create a foundation; to provide the basics or fundamentals.

Example:   The introductory mathematics courses will lay the groundwork for all your subsequent engineering studies.
2014, Ian Black, "Courts kept busy as Jordan works to crush support for Isis", The Guardian, 27 November 2014:
  Arrests and prosecutions intensified after Isis captured Mosul in June, but the groundwork had been laid by an earlier amendment to Jordan’s anti-terrorism law. It is estimated that 2,000 Jordanians have fought and 250 of them have died in Syria – making them the third largest Arab contingent in Isis after Saudi Arabians and Tunisians.