How to Measure and Install Sod

Measuring and Installing a Basic Sod Job

Talk about instant gratification. There's no faster way to have instant lawn than laying some sod. Seeding is generally cheaper than laying sod, but it takes much longer. Hydroseeding speeds up the grass growing process but with sod, you can go from dirt to yard in literally less than a day. You get "instant grass", and what can be better than that? To get a high quality lawn, laying sod requires a few steps of preparation. Here's some tips you can follow to cultivate a beautiful lawn almost instantly:

Measure the area you are going to sod to determine the amount of sod you need

You can use my handy sod calculator here.

How much area does a pallet of sod cover? We get sod in two forms. In rectangle pieces that or in mini rolls (which I prefer). The mini rolls are better for bigger jobs and larger areas.
You might want the smaller pieces if you are working in a tight area.

Each pallet will cover 450 square feet, which is equal to 50 square yards. You want to do your best to lay the sod the same day it's delivered. If you can't, store it in a shady place and moisten the sod pieces with a hose.

Pick the right type of grass for your growing zone and property.

For instance, some zoysia won't grow very well in a cold, shady area. I know that it may be a beautiful looking grass, but it if won't grow, what good will it do you?

Here's another article I've written to tell you a bit more about the different types of sod.

Next, level the soil to ensure that the sod will be laid out evenly.We use a power rake followed by some hand raking for touch up to remove any small rocks or debris.

Keep in mind sod is 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick so you want to establish a rough grade 1 to 1 1/2 inches below sidewalks.

In all honesty, to do the job the way I like it to be done, I like to apply 1 1/2 to 2 inches of compost (landscape mix) on the area to be sodded. Most homeowners don't want to pay for this.

I usually start out laying the sod along a straight area such as a walkway or driveway.
When laying out the sod pieces, make sure that the ends meet up tightly without overlapping them. Stagger the ends of adjacent rows of sod so that the edges of each piece doesn't line up.
Think of it as making a brickwork pattern with the sod pieces.

After you're done laying the sod on your lawn, use a water roller to press the sod firmly against the soil. To me this is an important step I see a lot of guys not doing.
To me it makes a better looking lawn.

Last but certainly not least, to make sure your new lawn doesn't die!

I would start watering your new lawn within 30 minutes of installation.
Soak the grass thoroughly. Sod pieces should be really soaked with this watering.
Think of the sod as a sponge that can't hold any more water. After this initial irrigation, water the grass once a day for the next two weeks.
After the grass has established and rooted, give your lawn one deep irrigation each week.
If you are experiencing extreme heat and drought, you may want to water a little more.
If it's raining a good bit, you can slack off. Use some common sense here.

What about fertilizing?

Don't apply any fertilizer to your new grass until it has rooted and established. If you put fertilizer on it too early, you take the chance of burning up your new lawn.

When can I mow the new lawn?

Wait until the grass is fully established and has a well established root system before mowing it for the first time. This will usually takes about 2-3 weeks.

Here's my tips and tricks for pricing a sod job.

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