Laying 20" by 40" strips of grass sod is a quick way to obtain a thick, beautiful lawn. There are a few steps to ensure success of your new sod lawn. Order enough sod to compensate for shrinkage. Measure your plot and add an additional 5 percent so you have plenty of sod to cover the area.
Plan to lay sod in the early fall.
Have your land prepared before delivery of the sod so you can install it immediately.
Do a soil test, or take a soil sample to your local agriculture extension for a soil analysis.
Remove any existing grass by chemical treatment, and then cutting dead thatch. Read any chemical labels carefully to check for dormant time before laying new sod over treated soil. Mix the chemicals according to the directions into a sprayer for easier application. Spray post-emergent herbicides on the grass and thoroughly soak the blades. Once the grass and other plant materials are dead, use a sod cutter to cut a thin layer from the ground to remove dead vegetation, but not the healthy soil beneath it.
Apply a layer of lime or sulfur as recommended by your soil test results pH level. Spread a couple of inches of compost or peat moss on top of the lime, or sulfur. Rototill the soil to a 6 inch depth in both directions, until it is well mixed. The resulting ground should be loose, thick, and spongy.
Rake the tilled soil. Remove any rocks or debris for a smooth surface. Incorporate a gentle grade away from buildings toward a drainage area so water runs off away from your home or outbuildings.
Lay the sod in staggered rows so the top line of each piece is lined up with the middle of the piece on the adjoining row to prevent buckling.