How to Install Sod on Your Lawn


Few things can change the look of a house more than the landscaping. When new homes are built, about 10 percent of the total cost goes into the landscaping. The easiest way to change the look of a home is to fix or redo the landscaping. Generally, as part of that process, the lawn is redone as well. The fastest way to get a green lawn, short of paint, is to install sod. The process of installing sod is one anyone can follow.

Step 1

Mark out the area to be covered in sod with the marking paint. Doing this first will make measuring easier. Sketch the yard on the grid paper. For this example, the yard will be a simple square.

Step 2

Measure the sides of the yard with the tape measure and transfer the measurements to the drawing of the yard.

Step 3

Calculate the area of the yard. Multiply the length of the yard by the width. For this example, the yard is 40 feet long on each side. So the total square footage for the yard is 1,600 square feet. Multiply this number by 1.1 for the square footage plus 10 percent for the total amount to order. For this, the total to order is 1,760 square feet.

Step 4

Spread a starter fertilizer over the area before laying the sod. This will help promote root growth of the sod so it will take faster.

Step 5

Lay the sod in one corner of the yard. Roll the sod out to full length. When adding more pieces of sod, keep the seams tight. Also, stagger the seams half the length of a piece to help hide them.

Step 6

Lay the sod in rows until the area is covered. Use the edging shovel to cut the sod pieces so they fit the area.

Step 7

Water the new sod for 20 minutes after the installation is complete. This will help the fertilizer soak into the sod and ground, and help fight the chance of the sod drying out before the roots can grow. Keep the sod moist, but not soaked until the roots grow in; this can take from one to three weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure the sod does not dry out for the first week, if it does dry out, it will die. Try to limit the use of the lawn for the first two weeks to prevent damage to the sod. Pet waste can kill new sod.

Things You'll Need

  • Ground-marking paint
  • 300-foot tape measure
  • Grid paper
  • Edging shovel
  • Walk-behind spreader
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Yard sprinkler


  • Mark Rinzer, CGSAA Certified Superintendent; Baltimore, MD

Who Can Help

  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program GreenShare: Installing a Sod Lawn
Keywords: sod, lawn, install sod