Grass plugs are pieces of sod that are only 2- to 3-inch squares and are planted in your lawn with space in between. They are a less expensive way to plant grass than sod, but still have a quicker establishment period than seed or sprigs, usually within two years. You purchase plugs from a nursery or landscaping company. As an alternative, you can purchase sod and cut it with a spade or utility knife into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
Take a sample of your soil to a county extension office for pH level and soil quality. They will recommend treatment, if necessary, such as adding lime to raise pH or sulfur to lower it. They may also suggest you add a specific fertilizer or organic matter to help improve your soil for growing your specific grass. This step is optional, but will help your lawn grow more successfully.
Till the top 4 to 6 inches of soil and, if applicable, evenly mix in the treatment, such as fertilizer, recommended by your county extension office. At this time, try to even out your lawn as much as possible. If you didn't take your soil to be tested, mix in a starter lawn fertilizer to the top 1 inch of soil at a rate recommended on the label.
Plan where to plant your plugs. You will need to space out your plugs 6 to 12 inches apart. The closer together you plant the plugs, the more quickly the grass will fill in. Also, plant the plugs in a diagonal pattern. For example, for 6-inch spacings, plant the plugs every other row at the 0, 6 and 12 (and so forth) inch spots. For the rows in between, plant them at the 3, 9 and15 (and so forth) inch spots.
Dig trenches or holes to install your plugs. You can either dig trenches that are the same depth as your plugs (usually about 2 to 3 inches deep) or take a bulb planter or plugger, insert it into the ground, push the handles together and turn. Then lift up and you have a spot to plant your plugs. You can also dig holes with a trowel, which may be more labor intensive.
Insert the plugs into the holes and tamp down the soil around the plug. You can step around the plugs also so they make good contact with the soil. If applicable, also fill the rest of the trenches with soil. Then water the entire lawn with 1 to 2 inches of water.