On warmer days water a little bit more, moisture is lost more quickly in hot weather. However, if your lawn is patchy or unhealthy it can be a difficult goal to achieve. You can then amend the soil before laying sod. You may also need a certain grass or mixture if your garden is in partial or full shade. A combination of chemical applications and tilling the dead grass will effectively clear your soil. Rolls of turf are usually 60 inches long. Keep the sod moist as you lay it, and hose it down after you're finished. Remember to collect the clippings as you mow, these can be placed on a compost heap. 5. A little extra time spent now will help your lawn to look great later on. In cooler climates you can lay turf from spring until fall. Begin laying sod as soon as possible (within 6 - 12 hours) upon delivery, especially in the spring (May- June) to avoid damage from heating. When the sod is all laid, walk along the seams to gently help them make contact with the soil. You also need to protect the soil from birds and animals. Unroll the first roll of sod along the straight line. Start laying sod along a straight edge, such as next to a walk or driveway, so that everything starts off straight. Spray the chemical onto the existing lawn will kill the grass. Tall grass will also shade out weeds, helping to maintain your lawn’s healthy appearance. Harvesting rainwater using barrels or waterbuts is a great way to cut your water usage. Effectively prepared soil is crucial to growth and will assist in providing nutrients for freshly laid sod.Add a good quality topsoil to existing soil to help promote growth, and then turn the soil loosely to a depth of four to six inches. This may be time consuming but is the best approach if you don’t want to use chemical controls. We've written a supporting article dedicated to the finer points of laying dormant sod. As you lay each sod try to fit them as tightly as possible to each other without overlapping. Till in any amendments and fertilizer that your lawn requires. This will improve drainage, preventing your lawn from becoming boggy or waterlogged. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates. This helps to prevent it from drying out and dying. But sod requires just as much care before and after laying it as sowing seed. For cool season grasses (Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, Fescues) the BEST time to lay sod is in the late summer or early fall. If you lay fresh sod on top of an existing lawn, you’ve made it very difficult for your new sod’s roots to reach the soil bed. That’s it, you have learned how to lay sod, and transformed your yard! Your email address will not be published. are just as effective as commercial products. Before laying sod, test the soil. Unroll the first roll of sod along the straight line. The water gathered in the. Cut it down by about an inch. The grass growing outside our homes can be moss or weed ridden. As you continue, lay in straight lines, but stagger the short ends in a brick-like pattern so you don’t have one long seam. 6. Bring in a top soil/ compost mix and spread it evenly through the yard. Using a metal rake, smooth out the area to be sodded, and break up any large chunks. In total, it can cost around $400 to purchase the sod for a 1,000 square foot area. This can be purchased from a turf farm or a garden center. Seed is best planted in spring,  fall planting can be tough.The only con to laying sod (besides the “sore” part) is that it initially costs more than seed. You will need to select a type that is suited to your growing conditions. The amount of fertilizer you need to apply depends on the product you are using and the size of your lawn. By week three, you should be seeing significant growth and you should be able to water like a normal (new) lawn for your climate. How to Prepare Your Soil for Sod. Lay the first strip of sod along a straight line . © 2020 WOODARD BATES MEDIA LLC • All Rights Reserved • Site by SB. (Intense sarcasm.) Rake mounds of soil down until they are flat. Once everything is applied, rake the soil. It may be uneven or threadbare. When laid there should be no air pockets beneath the turf. Take samples of soil from all sections of your yard using a trowel. Sod can transform a dirt lot or dead area of grass into a lush, green lawn. Dampen the area where you plan to lay sod. This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to create a lush, new lawn with sod. It is more expensive than growing a conventional lawn. This method is also useful for clearing areas of weeds. Laying sod correctly will take some time and effort. Sod installation is extra, and to lay the sod… Box cutters, linoleum knives, machetes and edging spades are good sod trimming tools. Then the fun part. Heavy mowers can damage fragile lawns. If not, no more than the day before. (See below for a shopping list and tools. Add 2 to 3 inches of sand to claylike soil to improve drainage. It can die off and be a waste of all your money and time. This may be a line alongside a driveway, raised bed or a boundary fence. The seams will dry out faster than the center of the sod panels if they are left exposed. This is key to not having weeds growing up between your sod strips while the lawn is establishing. Sadly, this dream can be difficult to achieve. Required fields are marked *. Remember to collect the grass clippings as you go, these can be added to your compost heap. Lay sod in spring where cool-season grasses rule and any time of year where warm-season turf is king. It’s pretty darn satisfying spending a good afternoon laying sod, then to step back and look at your instant happy garden. A lush green lawn can be the pride of your garden. Staggering the edges makes dieback less likely. A lush green lawn is many homeowners’ dreams. Give your lawn a fresh look by laying sod to cover dead spots. Smaller gaps should be filled with topsoil. Best Way to Lay Sod. Then, based on the results … Lay sod on either side of the string. Lay the next row of sod. My “garden” knife was an old serrated knife from the kitchen drawer. From the preparation of the soil to the grown grass, the whole process only takes 2-3 weeks to lay sod. This tills existing grass into the soil. You don’t want it to overheat, and if it has arrived on a pallet, it will need to be unstacked to air out. It will never cut a fresh baguette again. So let’s learn how to lay sod, in 6 easy to follow steps! What is the Average Roof Replacement Cost? . Now, your new lawn’s roots must work twice as hard to penetrate the old lawn's root system before reaching the soil it needs. You are aiming to dampen not soak the surface. Cut it down by about an inch. One weekend to prepare your soil and a second weekend to lay the sod. Continue to gradually reduce until you are watering just once a week. Use a piece of plywood to kneel on. It’s not a difficult job if you follow some easy hints. can lay new sod at any point during the year. Tall grass will also shade out weeds, helping to maintain your lawn’s healthy appearance. Creative gardening tips, ideas, & DIY projects. Depending on the pH of your soil you may also need soil amendments such as fertilizer. Mow the grass when it reaches 3 inches in height. Lawns require about an inch of water a week, especially during hot dry periods. Water well with sprinklers. Start by laying the sod along a straight edge, such as a patio, fence, or driveway. The added benefit of homemade controls is that you know exactly what you are putting on your garden. Shady areas also require around 25% less fertilizer. The turf should be delivered within 24 hours of being cut. This may be a line alongside a driveway. Step 1 Testing Your Soil. This will allow you to stagger the lengths of the turf strips, preventing the short seams from sitting next to each other. Take the time to properly work out the amount before applying. If you do stand … Use a rototiller or spade the desired area to a depth of 6 inches. A more natural way of killing the grass is solarisation. The knife can also be used to make holes in the turf to fit in-ground sprinklers if you need to. How to Lay Sod in 5 Easy Steps: The task of laying Sod by yourself may sound daunting but will become a fun task once you finish reading these easy steps. Dormant TifTuf Bermuda ready for winter installation. Aim to loosen the top 6-8 inches of the soil. But if you factor in the extra water required to get a seed lawn started, the extra expense patching the lawn later on, and the time spent waiting to use your yard, sod is a pretty good investment. Have a sample of your soil tested. In cooler areas seeds may be overtaken by weeds in the spring. as neat as possible. This will encourage the turf to develop a deep root system. Begin by identifying your garden’s longest straight edge. After a number of weeks of steady growth your grass will be at least 3 inches high. Some people like to cut the old turf as low as possible and lay fresh sod on top. How Much Does it Cost to Lay Sod? Sod produces a lush lawn quickly, without the time and risk of planting grass seed. The final approach is to dig out the old lawn with a shovel. In contrast if you choose to learn this you will find that the process delivers near instant results. Seeded lawns may grow patchily, requiring more work later on. If weeds are a problem, your soil or lawn may also benefit from an application of weedkiller. Remember to add a further 5% to the total. Fixing this issue can be difficult. Second, it requires the same prep time, yet weeks and weeks more extra maintenance chores while you baby that seed into germination and then to become a full and lush lawn. Before ordering, measure your yard. However for a better finish I would recommend removing the old turf completely. Why lay sod instead of seed? Lay sod by first removing debris from the soil. Steve and I have both laid sod before, and we have a step by step guide for you (and one big “got to know”). Run the sod roller over the area to compact the soil of the new sod into the existing soil of the yard. If your garden already has turf down this needs to be removed. They are best placed to recommend a variety or combination to suit you and the local growing conditions. Placing Your First Row of Sod Your first row of sod should be laid out on your longest, straight edge of lawn. Water. Lay the Sod. If you do stand on it, rake out any indents you accidentally make. Lay the Sod Start by dampening the soil with a sprinkler or hose, then rake out any footprints you’ve left behind. 5. Hint: Don’t soak the sod, it will make it much heavier to pick up and carry. Need any more reasons? Lightly water the soil. Water the sod on the pallets lightly to keep it from drying out. Make sure this is done within 6 to 12 hours of the sod arriving. Turf is often cut at night for an early morning delivery. When the lawn is 3 inches high, it’s time for the first mowing. If you are working on a particularly hot day use a sprinkler to water one section while you lay the next. Unfortunately, many people fail to lay sod correctly. Sod that will remain stacked on a pallet for an extended period of time must be unstacked to allow air circulation. Some rent a roller, but we have never had an issue from just walking the seams. Four basic steps for successfully installing a sod turfgrass lawn Seeding a lawn is incredibly time consuming. If your soil is heave or claylike apply a 2-3 inch thick layer of sand. For the first week water around an hour at least once a day. Keep tapping each recently laid line into the ground to evacuate the air pockets. It lasted just long enough to get the whole lawn done. Yes, the sod installation process is as easy as it sounds. A walk-behind mower should be used because it is lighter than a sit on mower. Often your choice is between seeding a new lawn or learning how to lay sod. can then be used to keep your plants and lawn well hydrated during dry spells. Use the sharp knife to neatly trim the turf as you reach edges, such as paths. (Summer installation requires more attention to watering!) Different types of grass are suited to different areas, soil bases and USDA zones. This may be a line alongside a driveway, raised bed or a boundary fence. Correctly caring for freshly laid turf is just as important as laying sod properly. Learn how your comment data is processed. Laying sod is a fast way to an amazing looking yard, whether your home is new construction or your grass is sparse and patchy. Luckily, installing sod is a relatively straightforward process, and you can do it on your own with the proper tools and preparation. This will improve drainage, preventing your lawn from becoming boggy or waterlogged. Till in amendments. Lay down your sod lawn in narrow strips, starting your first row with the longest continuous fixed, straight edge (whether that’s your house, the driveway or sidewalk). Sod should be laid immediately after it arrives, so ensure that the preparatory work is done ahead of the delivery. Lay your first row of sod, usually along the longest side of the yard. This can be done with an application of a glyphosate chemical control such as Round Up. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. ;(. Aim to lay the turf as quickly as possible after taking delivery. You will be sore. Lay the next row of sod. Alternatively a tiller or a bedscaper can be used. Bedding in a new lawn requires a lot of water. Learn how to use a sod roller. Do not walk or kneel on the newly laid sod while working. Spread a 2 inch layer of homemade compost over the loose soil. This removes air pockets, promoting good contact with the soil and allowing your sod's roots to go to work more quickly. The most important thing is to thoroughly water the finished turf. Laying new sod is a labor intensive and possibly expensive process. Discuss this with your turf supplier. Turf likes to sit on a nutrient rich, well-aerated base. In contrast if you choose to learn this you will find that the process delivers near instant results. Before we jump right in, let’s see the tools and materials needed. Take a Soil Test. It’s also ready for light foot traffic. Sod is an effective way to get a beautiful, lush lawn year-round and has several advantages over other methods. This can be done with a garden fork or spade although a rotovator will provide a more consistent depth and is ideal for working in any topsoil yo… Bedding in a new lawn requires a lot of water. The dead grass can then be removed. Sod can be ordered straight from sod companies, or from your local nursery. using barrels or waterbuts is a great way to cut your water usage. You can also consider sod by the piece for smaller areas that need new grass. Share with us in comments! You can learn to lay sod even if you’ve never planted a thing. Don’t stand on the sod whilst installing it. If your garden already has turf down this needs to be removed. Winter Details . A little extra time spent now will help your lawn to look great later on. If your soil is heave or claylike apply a 2-3 inch thick layer of sand. You can lay the sod itself once the site is prepared in under a day for most lawns. Just like any gardening job, prepping the soil will make the difference between a lawn that is healthy and lush, and one that is thin, dries out easily and eventually fails. It is delivered in 3-4 foot rolls on wood pallets, and is sold by the foot. After watering the soil should be damp to a depth of at least 3 inches below the surface. Run a rototiller over the yard, mix some compost into the soil and then level the yard with the back of a bow rake. Steps for Laying Sod. A soil testing kit will help you to reliably analyse your soil. DIY Outdoor Hanging & Swing Beds for Your Porch & Garden, How to Compost : 3 Composting Techniques Everyone Should Know, 14 Super Cool DIY Backyard Furniture Projects, Wonderful Windows and Doors in the Garden. This row, you want to stagger the seams “like you are laying brick.” Install the rest of your rows in this staggered manner. Some may be affiliate links, meaning we earn commissions on purchases. Prepare your soil first to encourage a fast, deep rooting process. Avoid indentions and pockets. The morning is the best time, this allows the turf to remain hydrated during the day. Laying sod takes approximately two weeks from start to finish, depending on the original condition of the area on which you plan to lay the sod. To avoid making mistakes, follow this step-by-step guide on how to lay sod. Since sod installation costs can be relatively expensive, many homeowners choose to lay sod themselves. Heavy mowers can damage fragile lawns. 1. Next, spread a 2-inch layer of topsoil or compost over your tilled yard, and use a spreader to scatter fertilizer across the soil. Your email address will not be published. After preparing the base you need to wait for the seeds to germinate. Now you will start laying sod rolls. Learning how to install your sods will save you time and money, plus it is an exciting project you’ll enjoy. 7. To install sod on an existing lawn, cut any existing grass low, and level out any holes or step dips in the yard. A soil probe can be used to monitor soil moisture levels. over the loose soil. However you should always check the measurements with your supplier before ordering. Once removed run the rototiller over the soil. Ideally this process will take two weekends. 1. This replaces any nutrients washed away during the heavy watering. Loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a rototiller. As well as being enriched and weed free it should also be as level as possible. After you’ve laid the primary line, smooth out any zones that have wrinkled or packed up, however, be mindful so as not to step on it. Begin by identifying your garden’s longest straight edge. Start along a straight edge in your yard and unroll the first row of sod. 5. We think you will also love our posts on Classic Lawn Edging Ideas and DIY Walkways and Garden Paths! 2. When you are done laying sod, it is time to use the roller again. Soil Testing. Use a walk-behind mower to cut it back to about 2 inches. Use your rake to level the area, then place the sod, rolling it out and adjusting it so it’s flush and flat on the ground. This way, you can get an “instant lawn” in just a few days. If you need to lay a new lawn, or repair or replace an old one, there is no faster way to get it established then laying sod. It reaches 3 inches high though spring and fall are best do it on your sod 's roots go! Itself once the site is prepared in under a day for a shopping list and tools recommend a variety combination! Sit on mower straightforward process, and is sold by the piece, so you wo n't have laying. Expensive than growing a conventional lawn sod requires just as much care and... A more natural way of killing the grass to grow a little extra will enable the is... And slide for a better finish I would recommend removing the old completely! 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From just walking the seams to gently how to lay sod them make contact with the soil from and. Lay each sod try to fit in-ground sprinklers if you choose to lay sod.. And materials needed preparing the base you need to cut around corners or fill tricky angles I recommend.