Beautifying your home with a sod lawn doesn’t have to break the bank. Get started with the following tips from homeowners.
Step 1: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Follow the old carpenter’s creed and measure your lawn twice to ensure accuracy. Sod comes in rolls that typically cover 20×25 feet of yard space. Check with your garden center for exact measurements and plan to have the sod delivered the same day you want to install it.
Step 2: Remove Grass
Removing dead grass will take a while, but the more you’re able to clear, the better. Cut whatever you can’t remove as low as possible. Remove rocks, twigs, and other debris to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate. Next, wet the lawn and aerate it so that your sod can become deeply rooted. The easiest way to do this is to rent a soil aerator. Home Depot offers basic aerator rentals (ideal for small to medium sized lawns) for less than $100 per day.
Step 3: Prepare The Soil
Aerating the lawn will most likely present more work, so don’t stop preparing just yet. Remove any newly discovered soil plugs, weeds, or rocks throughout the yard. Your goal is to clear the space entirely of things that would inhibit the growth of new sod—otherwise your hard work will have been in vain. Drainage problems? Fix them. Heaps of dirt? Level them. Be sure to mark the precise location of sprinkler heads and underground utilities for easy access once sod has been installed. Lastly, fertilize the yard with a heavier concentration of phosphorous and wet the earth one final time.
Step 4: Install Sod
Lay your new squares of sod as closely as you can get them without overlapping. Prevent gaps by working slowly and squeezing two pieces together with your hands before laying the third. Start from the straightest point in the yard (e.g. along the fence) and work your way inward. Stagger each roll of sod as you would if you were laying bricks. Using a sod cutter or sharp knife, cut the sod accordingly once you begin to fill in oddly-shaped areas and the space around sprinkler heads. Avoid air pockets by working slowly and patting the sod down as you go without stepping on it.
Step 5: Maintain
A thorough watering is the best way to complete your sod installation. Water once per day—mornings are preferable due to less heat and evaporation. Be aware that night watering can encourage fungal disease since the lawn won’t have a chance to dry out in the sun. Taper your schedule to every other day after the first week and eventually twice per week. Keep off the new lawn for at least one week which might mean taking the kids to the park and keeping the family dog indoors.
When it comes time to mow, aim for a 1/3 of the lawn’s current height. For example, if your grass has grown three inches, mow it down to two. Avoid the weight of a riding lawnmower as the grass will be susceptible to damage. Opt instead for a traditional walking mower with a sharp blade. Bag your trimmings.
Laying your own sod is certainly a good way to work your muscles and learn a new skill. And as with any successful DIY project, the feeling of accomplishment carries its own set of rewards.
If you choose not to DIY, we offer professional install when you purchase our sod in Phoenix, Tucson and surrounding areas.