One of the most dramatic ways to renew a lawn is by laying sod. Like most dramatic changes, however, this one involves considerable expense. Accurate measurement is important to prevent either coming up short or leaving piles of excess sod at the curb to rot. Knowing yard dimensions is only the first step in determining the square yards of sod needed to complete your handsome new lawn.
Using your paper and pencil, sketch out a map of your yard. It does not need to be drawn to scale but it needs to include both the areas to be sodded and the areas not to be sodded. Some people like to start with the full dimensions of their property and subtract the dimensions of the house, the driveway, the garage and any other structures. Others prefer to draw the house, then create the yard to be sodded around it. Either method works.
Measure areas to be sodded in square feet and fractions of square feet. (Remember to use decimal fractions or feet-and-inches consistently; a strip that measures three feet six inches wide can also be described as being 3.5 feet wide.) Measuring will be easier if you divide your yard into sectors: front yard, left side yard, right side yard by driveway or back yard. Curving walls or driveways make this a bit more difficult. You may find it easier to measure the area to be covered if you use stakes and string to draw a measurable square around a curving area.
Record measurements on your map as you go from area to area. Drawing a darker pencil line around a measured area--or pencil-shading it--will keep you from overlapping measurements.
Add your all of your areas together and convert your square feet measurements to square yards once you have a total, by dividing by 9 (3 feet x 3 feet = 1 square yard). Round up fractions.
Contact your sod supplier if you want a clearer picture of exactly how sod will be delivered. Some self-contractors may find it easier to figure out the coverage provided by a roll 50 feet long and 18 inches wide than grappling with larger general numbers. If your supplier works in a different size--1-foot-by-3-foot mats, for example--you may find that helpful to know.