How to Lay Sod
How to Lay Sod Easily this Spring
Every homeowner knows growing grass from seed takes months and months of time, constant, ongoing care. Rather than spending months of time, energy, and money hoping for a beautiful green lawn, lay down some sod. Here’s how to lay sod down easily this spring, follow these steps and achieve a beautiful green landscape.
A newly sodded lawn typically only takes a little over an hour to install, depending on the size of your yard, and about three weeks for it to be ready to use. Sod not only makes your homes landscape look lush and green, but it can even boost your home’s value by 15% – 20%. Sod also requires less water than your average lawn, and can be installed throughout the year as long as the ground isn’t completely frozen. While many homeowners believe laying sod is a complicated, messy project, it can be a very simple DIY job that saves you tons of time and money.
Prepare Your Soil
Good soil is key to having a successful sod project, take the time to pick a soil that will optimize your landscapes growth, and other benefits including:
- Denser sod
- More uniform sod
- A more forgiving lawn that can withstand wear and tear from children and pets
- Less reliance on water and chemicals
- Less necessary maintenance
Sod works best with well-aerated soil that is rich in nutrients and has a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Sod also prefers prefers sandy loam, loamy sand and loam soil, it doesn’t grow as well on clay soils. If your soil does have a higher percentage of clay, you can add sand when aerating to create a mixture that’s loose enough for the sod to establish its root structure.
Prepare Your Area
About two months prior to laying the sod, you should start preparing your site. Check the area and clear it of any rocks, stumps, or debris like building materials. If possible, grade the area so that it slopes away from buildings to prevent flooding near the foundations. Top the area with 2 to 4 inches of topsoil before working 4 to 6 inches of composted organic matter into the soil and leveling it off with a rake.
Apply a starter fertilizer that is high in phosphorus and work it into the top 4 inches of the soil. Finish by walking over the area on your heels going from one direction and working right angles in the opposite direction. You should also use a lawn roller that is filled 1/3 of the way full with water to settle the areas surface. Water the planting area thoroughly to add moisture and help the soil settle.
Scheduling Your Delivery
Grab some measuring tape and measure out the area you plan to sod, sketch your lawn dimensions on a piece of paper and note the length, width on your paper sketch so you can refer back to it later when ordering the sod. Add an extra 5% to the actual measurement of your yard to give yourself some leeway if you have to cut some areas that aren’t straight.
Depending on where you live you’ll have to order it without seeing the sod in person, or if you live close enough to a place that sells sod, like your local garden center you have the option of inspecting the sod before you buy. You want sod that is free of weeds and disease, let the company you order through know about the sun levels of your yard. You’ll want fresh sod for the best results, ideally you should have your delivery within 24 hours of the sod being cut, if you can, lay the sod down the same day. Because of the time sensitive nature of this project, you need to have the area fully prepped and ready to go when you receive delivery.
How to Lay Sod Step by Step
- Moisten the soil in the prepared area right before you begin laying the sod. Start by finding the straightest edge and unrolling the sod to create the first row. Press the ends and edges of the pieces together as you lay the rows so that you eliminate gaps and overlaps without stretching. Cut and trim corners as necessary.
Tip: If the weather is hot on the day of your project, stack the unlaid sod in a shady area and cover it with moist burlap to prevent it from drying out while you work or until it’s cool enough in the day to begin the installation process.
- Continue laying the whole pieces one at a time, positioning them end to end against the edge of the previous row and staggering the joints similarly to how a brick wall is arranged. Avoid walking on the turf while you work, and smooth any wrinkles as you go. As you lay each piece, pat it gently into place to get rid of any air pockets.
- Avoid arranging small pieces of sod at the edges of the new lawn, where there’s a greater chance that they’ll dry out. Lay them in the middle of the area before scattering sandy loam into the joints to fill in any gaps.
- Begin watering your new lawn within 30 minutes of laying it. Water it well by saturating at least an inch of soil below the sod.
- Water every day for the first week to keep it moist while it becomes established. Starting in the second week, water every other day to encourage deep rooting. By the third week, water twice a week. Beginning in the fourth week, make sure the sod receives one inch of water every week by rainfall or supplemental irrigation.
- Once the sod grows 3 inches high and at least 10 days have passed, you can begin mowing the grass. Use a walk-behind mower with a bag to catch the clippings.
- Fertilize the grass with a starter fertilizer after it’s been growing for four weeks.
We hope you found this guide on how to lay sod helpful! Start your spring right and create a lush, green landscape for you, your family, and friends to enjoy! Remember if you have trouble at any point, don’t get discouraged, you can call for help! If you find yourself doing a major landscape makeover and have a ton of yard waste debris, call us at Waste Solutions 123 for the perfect size yard waste dumpster!