Sod Installation Guide
Step 1 - Measuring and Ordering
Measure the area to be sodded. Take the width and times it by the length, in feet, this will give you the square feet needed to do the job. Take into account any mounds, hills, or valleys in the area to be sodded, they will increase the amount of sod needed due to the fact that it is not a flat surface.
When ordering your sod ask for a delivery date so that you can lay the sod as soon as you receive it. Make sure that all other prep work is done and that your irrigation system is working properly. Sod needs water within 30 minutes of being installed.
We cut our sod after receiving your order, usually the same day it is delivered, so you can be assured of the finest quality.
Step 2 - Soil Preparation
Take some time and prepare the soil right. First loosen the soil to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches, a garden rototiller works great.
Next rake and smooth the soil. Rake out any large rocks and other unwanted materials. Smooth and slope the soil away from buildings, driveways, etc. to eliminate drainage problems. Smooth the soil keeping a constant grade while filling in any holes. Keep the grade about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below driveways and sidewalks. Roll the area with a lawn roller. This will firm up the soil and reveal any low spots.
Water the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. This will provide a moist base for your sod while firming up the soil even more. Fill in any low spots after watering.
Step 3 - Installation of Sod
Installing sod is not rocket science. Just remember, it is a living plant that needs immediate attention for perfect results.
Install sod just as soon as you can after it is delivered. Sod should be laid out within 12 hours of delivery to achieve maximum results. Begin installing along a straight line, such as a driveway, sidewalk or the side of a building. Stagger joints in a brick like fashion pulling the edges together. Do not overlap or leave gaps, butt up as close as possible.
Hook up a sprinkler to a hose and water just as soon as you have laid enough sod for the sprinkler to cover. This will cool the sod and keep it moist. This is especially important on hot summer days.
Step 4 - Watering
Watering is the most critical step when trying to establish (root down) your new lawn.
Start watering your new lawn within 30 minutes of installation. You want to give it about 1 inch of water. Keep watering at least 2 to 4 times a day keeping the sod moist. The length of time to water will depend on how hot it is. If it is the middle of summer and the days are hot, then give your new lawn some extra water in the afternoon to cool it.
An easy way to tell if you are applying the right amount of water is to pull a piece of the sod back and check the moisture content. The sod and soil should be moist. If you take a hand full of soil and squeeze it, it should stick together. If excess water squeezes out, you are watering to much. If the soil does not stick together then you need more water. Another trick is to just look at your lawn, If it looks dry then it probably is. If it looks nice and moist, your watering schedule is probably right on track.
Keep watering on this schedule until the sod has rooted down. If you can't pull the sod up then it is rooted down. After it is rooted your sod should take less water. Water deeper (6 to 8 inches) and less frequently.
Step 5 - Beginning Maintenance
Until your sod is rooted avoid heavy use of your lawn. This will keep the sod smooth and allow roots to fully develop.
Your sod comes from soil that has been monitored and given the right nutrients for perfect growing conditions. So, in order to keep your sod green give it a shot of fertilizer as soon as possible. Use a triple 16 (16-16-16) to start with. (Check out our water and fertilizer section on other fertilizer steps to take throughout the year.)
Mow for the first time after the sod has rooted down. Mow often keeping the blades on your mower sharp. Set the mower to cut about 1/3 of the grass height.
With proper care your new sod will increase the value of your home while helping the environment and remain a great asset for years to come.