The presence of a well maintained lawn evokes a sense of welcome and invitation when looking at the front of a home. According to a 2000 survey of Realtors, cited in an article in the Rocky Mountain News, new sod can produce a 400% return on investment when a house is sold. This makes installing sod a good investment for the homeowner. You too can improve the value of your home by installing a little sod.
Remove existing grass or landscaping and loosen the top 3 to 4 inches of topsoil to the area where you will be installing the new sod. Use a shovel and rake.
Send a sample of your soil to your local county extension office and have it tested for organic content, pH and other characteristics. Your local garden center can recommend improvement amendments which you should add to your soil when you till.
Till in a good starter fertilizer that is high in phosphorous. Keep in mind that your sod will come with its own soil and that your base soil should be 1 and 1/2-inches below your hardscape (sidewalks) to allow for the height of the sod.
Lay your sod at the furthest distance from your traffic path or sidewalk first. You should not walk over fresh sod once you press it into place. Sod should be laid in an overlapping brick pattern. The exposed edges of the sod should touch but not crowd each other. Each sod section should be in good contact with the topsoil underneath. Press each piece into place firmly to make sure there are no air pockets.
Cut curved sections using a heavy duty gardening knife. A hose laid along curved beds will provide a good visual guide during cutting. Complete your sod so that you finish against your walking pathway.
Water in your sod with a garden hose and sprinkler. Saturate the sod and the underlying topsoil to about 6 to 8 inches to provide a good opportunity for your sod to root. Do not walk on your sod for at least a week. Keep the sod watered. At about 2 weeks you should notice root growth. Apply regular lawn fertilizer in one month and go to a regular 1-inch watering schedule.