How to Lay Sod Down

Overview

If you're in need of a lush lawn in a hurry, sod may be the right choice for you. Although it is more expensive than grass seed, you'll have a nice-looking lawn in a matter of hours. Sod is not without drawbacks, though. Without proper watering for weeks after installation, your sod can easily dry out and die. If you opt to install sod, you can lay it at any time of the year when the ground is not frozen. Late spring and early summer can be ideal, though, because the grass becomes well rooted more quickly, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension.

Step 1

Roll the lawn area with a lawn roller half filled with water to flatten the soil surface.

Step 2

Water the area where the sod will be laid the night before you plan to install the sod. Soil should be slightly moist when the sod is laid to help it make good contact and take root.

Step 3

Lay the first piece of sod along a straight edge, such as a building or sidewalk.

Step 4

Lay subsequent pieces of sod so the ends abut each other as closely as possible. Sod should be laid similar to how bricks are laid. The rows of sod should be staggered so the ends of the pieces are not next to each other. The rows should be as close together as possible to prevent the sod from drying out.

Step 5

Fill in any gaps between pieces or rows of sod with topsoil or dirt. This creates a level surface and also helps the sod retain moisture.

Step 6

Roll over the sod with a lawn roller half filled with water. This will push the sod into the soil underneath, helping it take root and establish itself.

Step 7

Water the sod immediately after it is laid. Proper watering is essential for sod to become established. Because it can dry out quickly, new sod needs to be watered frequently for several weeks after it is planted. The first watering should be enough to moisten the soil to a depth of six inches, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. For the next 10 days, water the sod thoroughly at midday. Once the sod is established, you can gradually decrease the frequency and duration of waterings over the next several weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn roller
  • Topsoil or dirt

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns
  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • Univesity of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Installing a Sod Lawn
  • All About Lawns: Planting with Sod
Keywords: laying sod, installing sod, planting sod

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.