Whether you are planting an entirely new lawn or simply replacing sections of dead grass with new, knowing how to properly lay sod yourself can save you money. Most gravel and turf retailers sell sod to individuals, so being a do-it-yourself landscaper has never been so easy or affordable.
Prepare the ground to receive the sod by removing all weeds and stones and adding a starter fertilizer. Use a rake or shovel to clear the area and make it smooth. Level off the ground approximately an inch lower than where you want the top of the grass. This will make the newly sodded area level with existing grass and/or walkways.
Sod is purchased in pallets, and it will be stacked or rolled with the bottom side on the outside. Each piece of sod is usually 1- or 2-feet wide, and you can buy it in lengths from 4 to 10 feet long. To ensure the sod is of good quality, look for grass that is at least 2 inches long and consistent in color throughout the pallet. The roots should be thick, and the soil should be moist and dark.
Laying the Sod
According to The Lawn Advisor, when you are ready to plant the sod, begin by laying out the first two rows in straight lines that butt up against one another. Stagger the next row (and subsequent rows) so that its end is in the middle of a piece on the previous row. Gaps created between the pieces of sod should be filled in with loose soil.
Use a heavy-duty knife to cut sod to fit in irregular spaces. When laying sod on an incline, lay it perpendicular to the slope to prevent it from sliding down when it is watered. If you are especially concerned about losing sod down a sloped area, attach it to the ground with stakes.
When all of the sod is in place, pat or roll it down into the ground to prevent air pockets from forming underneath. Stand on a board or other support so that you do not stand on your newly planted sod.
Care and Maintenance
Regular watering is essential to keeping your new sod alive. The Lawn Advisor encourages owners of newly sodded lawns to "Water [them] everyday for the first three weeks. Then every other day for the next three weeks." The main reason newly sodded lawns die out is not enough water, so especially pay attention to the edges of the pieces of sod as they usually dry out first.
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