Many homeowners choose sod over seed when starting a new lawn. Sod can be laid at more times throughout the year, and it is more forgiving in the beginning stages. Thin sod is sometimes an even more desirable option. Because it is lighter, it's cheaper to ship, and it roots faster than thicker sod. However, thin sod requires more vigilance. It dries out more quickly than thick sod and must be frequently watered until it is established.
Clear the planting site. Remove any weeds, rocks or other debris. If you apply an herbicide to kill any weeds, wait two weeks before laying sod.
Till the soil to a depth of four inches. Then spread one inch of compost over the site. Rototill the soil again. Till at a depth of four inches, at a 90-degree angle to the direction you went the first time.
Rake the soil smooth, and flatten it with a lawn roller.
Fill in any dips or depressions in the soil with a quality commercial topsoil. Even slight depressions are more noticeable when you're working with thin sod. Take care to make sure that the site is even before moving forward.
Lay the sod. Start with the longest, straightest section of the yard. Lay the first row of sod. "Joints" or seams where the ends of two strips meet should be tightly pressed together. The next row should be pressed tightly against the first, but the joints of adjoining rows should not line up. Instead, the sod strips should be staggered like bricks. Irregularly shaped areas should be covered last. Cut sod strips down to size with a sharp knife or hatchet.
Push a lawn roller over the newly laid sod. The weight of the lawn roller will ensure that the sod makes secure contact with the underlying soil.
Water the lawn deeply enough to thoroughly wet the top inch or so of the soil. Continue to keep the soil wet at this depth until the thin sod establishes itself and produces new growth.
Check underneath the sod periodically. Lift up the sod in several sites to make sure that the soil is moist and the roots are establishing themselves.