Learn how to lay your own sod and save valuable time and money! It's a lot easier than you think, just spend 5 minutes reviewing these 7 steps of how to successfully lay your own sod.
What's included in the video?
- How to select the right grass for your yard and your climate;
- Tips in prepping your lawn;
- An overview of best practices for laying sod;
- Tips on how to maintain your yard after installation.
After you watch the above video, check out part two of this video series on the Details of Installing Sod for a more in-depth view on how to lay rolls of sod.
STEP 1: Select the Right Type of Sod
Visit our Turfgrass Selector to select the right type of grass for you and your site.
STEP 2: Measure Area
Make a sketch of your lot and measure the area you wish to sod. Calculate the square feet of product needed by multiplying length times the width of the area measured. Deduct a reasonable amount for buildings, paved drives, and walks.
length x width = square feet of product needed
For assistance with odd lawn shapes, use our Lawn Area Calculator.
STEP 3: Prepare Soil
Prepare the site by grading so that the soil slopes away from foundations and buildings, thus avoiding drainage problems.
If renovating an existing lawn, destroy the current vegetation.
Using native soil only: Till to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, smooth the soil, remove rocks, roots, clods, and vegetation.
Using Soil3 humus compost: Soil3 should be mixed with the top layer of existing soil. Just raking the Soil3 into the existing top soil is usually sufficient. Smooth the soil, remove rocks, roots, clods, and vegetation. Our experience shows that no preplanting fertilizer is necessary when using Soil3. Apply and rake in dolomitic lime based on soil test results and/or according to the formulas below. More Soil3 info at www.soil3.com and under Laying New Sod with Soil3.
Water heavily to see if water puddles in any low spots, and if it does, add soil and/or regrade to eliminate low spots. Keep soil surface 1/2 inch below walks and drives. Tilled soil will settle some.
Apply and rake in fertilizer and dolomitic lime based on soil test results and/or according to the formulas below.
Centipede per 1,000 ft2: 10 lbs. Super-Sod’s “Starter & Centiped Formulation 5-10-30 + Iron”
All others per 1,000 ft2: 15 lbs. Super-Sod’s “Total Lawn Food 16-4-8 + Iron” + 50 lbs. dolomitic lime
STEP 4: Schedule Delivery
Schedule your sod to be delivered after the site is prepared and you are ready to install. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial to a strong beginning for your lawn. To avoid running short consider ordering slightly more sod than your measurements require.
STEP 5: Install Sod
Water to dampen the bare soil and start laying sod immediately after delivery.
In hot weather, protect unlaid sod by placing in the shade.
Begin installing sod along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly. Stretch lightly. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, etc.
On slopes, place sod across (perpendicular) to the slope, not horizontally with the slope.
After installing the turf, roll the entire area to improve sod/soil contact and to remove air pockets.
If installing dormant sod, consult our guide on How to Lay Dormant Sod.
STEP 6: Water Frequently
Begin watering your lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Sod is a living plant that requires soil contact and moisture to survive.
Water daily, or more often, keeping sod moist until it is firmly rooted (about 2 weeks). Lift a piece of sod here and there to ascertain that you are watering enough to wet the original soil below the sod.
After the rooting-in period, less frequent and deeper watering should begin. Water to supplement rainfall shortages only. Avoid fixed timer irrigation settings. Lawns best perform when they receive approximately 1 inch of water per week. If one or more inches of rainfall occur in a week, additional irrigation is not necessary. (Example: if 1/2 inch of rain occurs within a growing week, apply 1/2 inch by irrigation.) Do not waste water by over watering; avoid run-off. (How and When to Water)
Weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods.
Water areas on mounds and berms and near buildings more often, where reflected heat dries the turf.
STEP 7: Mow
Begin mowing as soon as your sod has rooted to the extent that mowing does not displace it. It is important that mowing not be delayed too long. Cut high the first time, but gradually and deliberately lower the cut-height.
Insects seek out lush, tender grass and can quickly multiply or migrate into a new lawn with devastating consequences. Regulations do not permit sod growers to use long-lasting insecticides and we do not attempt to eradicate all insects simply to control the population. All sod is probably shipped with some insects and their larvae or eggs. It is therefore imperative that you watch closely for insect damage and immediately apply an insecticide if needed. Sevin is among the safer insecticides and usually controls the most rapid population builders such as armyworms and sod webworms. We cannot be responsible for insect damage to your new lawn.