If I were to install sod, how do I go about it? I get this question often by many do-it-yourself types. Sod installation is a landscaping project that many people can do themselves. You'll need to start preparing a few weeks before you're ready to lay the new sod, as you will need to get your yard prepped and have fresh rolls, or pallets of sod on hand the day of installation. Be sure to plan the project for a day when the weather forecast will be clear, because rain can surely delay your efforts.
Measure Your Ground
Before beginning, measurements of the ground should be done so you know how much sod to order for the project. Landscaping is normally measured in square footage and the easiest was to calculate the space is to walk the area. The average human step is approximately three feet. So, pace the perimeter and multiply the number of steps by three to determine the length and width. Multiply those two numbers to find the square footage.
Prepare the Soil
New sod cannot be placed over existing grass or other plants, so to prepare your lawn, kill all the weeds and stray plant life. You can do this by watering your yard and spraying a herbicide over the planned plot. Vinegar is an all-natural, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional herbicides. Then, lay compost on top of the lawn and let it sit for a few weeks to fully suppress the soil. Once the existing plant life dies, till and rake the ground to loosen the terrain and unearth any buried rocks. Lay fresh topsoil if needed and fertilize the ground so it has the nutrients it's gonna need and ready to receive the new sod. Test the new ground using a soil test kit to make sure the pH and minerals levels are ideal. These normally come color coded and have a chart for easy reading.
Start along a straight edge in your yard like the driveway, patio or fence and unroll the first row of sod. Rake the soil as you lay the sod to clear any bumps that will be under the surface of the sod. After you’ve laid the first row, smooth out any areas that have wrinkled or bunched up. Then, carefully pat the sod into the ground with a shovel to remove any air pockets and encourage the sod to take root. Finish unrolling or placing the new sod one row at a time until you've completed. You can use a knife to cut pieces as needed to make sure they are laid flush with each other. Don't forget to pat each newly laid row into the ground to remove the air pockets and make sure you've cut out an opening for your sprinklers.
If your lawn is on the larger side, use a roller to smooth out the new sod after everything is laid neatly. This will help your sod to take root in the soil your prepped beforehand. Your new sod should be watered as soon as possible after installing. Then water it daily for about a week, preferably in the morning, and avoid walking on it as much as possible. After the first week, you can start watering it every other day, then twice a week when the sod takes root. Once your grass has grown to approximately three inches, it's time for a mowing. We recommend using a push mower because the new patches of grass will still be fragile. Finally, fertilize the lawn after you mow it to add nutrients back into the soil.