How to Lay Sod Successfully

Overview

Sod is quick way to establish a new lawn. Installing sod will take an investment of a few hours, but once you're finished you'll have a nice, green lawn without having to wait for seed to grow in. If you opt to install sod in your yard, be aware that proper care for several weeks is critical for it to become established. If the sod is not watered daily for about two weeks, it will quickly shrivel and die.

Step 1

Till the soil to prepare it for sod installation. Using a rototiller, loosen the top four inches of soil, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Step 2

Remove sticks, rocks and other debris from the area where the sod will be laid.

Step 3

Roll over the lawn with a lawn roller half-filled with water. This will firm up the soil and help the sod become established more easily.

Step 4

Install the first piece of sod along a straight edge provided by a sidewalk or driveway, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. This will better ensure the sod is laid in straight lines.

Step 5

Install subsequent pieces of sod in long rows, abutting the ends of the pieces as close together as possible. Sod should be installed in a pattern similar to how bricks are laid, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. The ends of the pieces should never lie adjacent to one another.

Step 6

Fill in any gaps between pieces and rows with potting soil or dirt so it is even with the top of the sod.

Step 7

Roll over the newly installed sod with a lawn roller half-filled with water. This will push the sod firmly into the soil underneath, helping it become rooted and established.

Step 8

Water the sod within 20 minutes of it being installed, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Sufficient watering is the most important element in establishing a lawn from sod. It should be watered daily for two weeks after it is installed, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. After two weeks, reduce the frequency but increase the duration of waterings for the next one or two weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not apply fertilizer to a new sod for at least four weeks, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. Once the lawn is ready for fertilizer, apply one lb. of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of yard space. Avoid heavy use of your lawn until the sod is well-established. To check if it is firmly rooted, pull up on a corner of sod. If it lifts easily, it has not yet become fully rooted.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Lawn roller half-filled with water
  • Potting soil or dirt

References

  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Installing and Maintaining a Sod Lawn
  • Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • All About Lawns: Planting with Sod
Keywords: sod installation tips, installing sod, laying 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.