Planting sod provides instant gratification, and it can be done year-round in Texas, although spring and fall are the best time. When purchasing sod, consider how much sun the area will receive and how much water you want to provide. Turfgrass specialists at Texas A&M University suggest St. Augustine grass for shady areas and buffalo grass for folks who don't want to do a lot of watering.
Measure the area in which you will be installing the sod. Turf specialists with Texas A&M University suggest drawing a diagram of the area, including the dimensions of sidewalks, planting beds and driveways, and taking it with you when you go to purchase sod. The specialists at the nursery should be able to help you to accurately calculate the amount of sod you need.
Order a soil test from your county Texas A&M Cooperative Extension office. As of 2010, the price for a routine soil analysis is $10, and the results will help you determine which soil amendments, if any, you need to purchase.
Spray the planting area with nonselective herbicide, such as Roundup Pro or Finale. Allow the herbicide to sit for two weeks, then rake the area to remove the dead plant material and rocks or roots in the soil. The planting area needs to be completely free of any vegetation and debris.
Rototill the planting area to 6 inches in depth, add soil amendments in the amount specified by the soil test results and til. those in to a depth of 6 inches.
Roll the soil with the lawn roller so that it is flat and even, with no hills or depressions. It should be at least 1 inch lower than the sidewalk.
Choose an area in which to begin installation. This can be a driveway, sidewalk or even a length of string stretched between two points. Lay the first line of sod along this area. Stagger the subsequent pieces of sod in the adjacent rows in a bricklike pattern. Push the sod pieces together tightly, because they may shrink after installation. Cut the sod to fit around corners and other landscape features. Pour sand into any gaps between strips.
Roll the newly installed sod with the lawn roller. Saturate the sod with water to a depth of 4 inches immediately after planting. Water daily for the first two weeks after installation. If it is particularly hot and dry in your region, you may need to water more frequently.
Mow the lawn for the first time three weeks to one month after planting.
Fertilize the new sod lawn one month after installation using the fertilizer recommended by the soil analysis. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package. Do not fertilize during the hottest days of the summer, because you may burn the new turf.