Sod is prepared sections of soil that have a turfgrass already established on them. Preparing a lawn with sod is like laying down a carpet; as soon as it is done, your lawn is transformed. Sod quickly attaches itself to the underlying soil, works well in sloping areas that are high erosion, where seed generally will not take hold, and is possible to lay anytime in the growing season. Although expensive to buy, a homeowner can lay his own sod to save a little money.
Test the lawn pH with a home pH testing kit following the instructions on the label. Sod is best established with a pH between 6 and 7. Contact your local extension service about fertilizer specifics for your lawn pH.
Apply a nonselective herbicide containing glyphosate to kill weeds and any other grass in the lawn, according to Colorado State University Extension. Let the spray dry and water the lawn for 10 days to encourage any new weeds to develop, then apply the herbicide again. Allow the lawn enough time to absorb and dissipate the herbicide according to the instructions on the label before establishing sod.
Apply fertilizer amendments to the topsoil according to your pH results, then till the dirt to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, advises the University of Arkansas. This prepares the soil for the sod. Rake the topsoil so that it is smooth and ready for the sod, and apply moisture to the soil 24 hours before the sod delivery.
Lay the first piece of sod along a straight edge, laying the next piece to its side along a straight line. Stagger each row of sod, like brickwork to ensure the best coverage. Cut any pieces of sod using a sharp knife if it does not fit. Fill in the cracks between the sod pieces with soil to prevent drying out and disease, says the University of Minnesota.
Iron out irregularities in the sod such as bumps by using a yard roller filled halfway with water.
Fertilize the sod by applying one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet four weeks after laying the sod, recommends the University of Arkansas.