Sod allows homeowners to create an instant green lawn. However, you must lay the sod correctly to avoid seams and gaps between the pieces. Before you start installing the sod, prepare the site. If you fail to properly prepare the site, you could have problems with the sod roots establishing in the soil.
Remove rocks and debris in the soil. Remove enough soil to accommodate the depth of the sod pieces. If you are laying the sod along a sidewalk, patio or driveway, remove dirt to a level about 1 inch below the height of the hard surface.
Use a tiller on the entire area to loosen hard, compacted soil. After tilling the soil, use a hard rake to level the ground. Add topsoil if needed to even out low spots. Lightly moisten the soil, but do not make the ground wet and soggy.
Lay the first piece of sod next to a flat surface, such as a patio or sidewalk. Push the piece of sod up tight to edge of the sidewalk so there are no gaps; do not stretch the sod as you position it. Butt the end of the second roll tight against the first piece of sod so there is no gap or sign of a seam. Continue laying the first row. Use a utility knife to cut around sprinkler head or other obstacles.
Install the second row of sod, alternating the seams in a brickwork fashion so the seams in each row don't align. Butt the sides of the sod to the side of the sod in the first row so there are no seams or gaps, again being careful to avoid stretching the sod. Continue laying the second row of sod, butting the sides and ends tight against the other pieces.
Continue laying the sod across the remainder of the site, alternating the location of the seams in each row.
Fill a drum roller with water and push it back and forth over the grass to flatten the sod and remove any air pockets between the soil and the roots. If you skip this step, some roots may not grow into the soil, causing the grass to turn brown and die.
Water the sod within 30 minutes of installing it. Irrigate the sod once in the morning and once in later afternoon during the first and second week with 1 inch of water per day. Place an empty vegetable can in the middle of the area where the sprinkler is running. When the can has an inch of water in it, that area of the lawn has enough water. Move the sprinkler to the next section.
Lift a corner of a piece of sod gently during the third week to test whether the roots are established. If the sod doesn't lift up, water the grass once a day every two to three days. If the sod lifts up slightly, continue watering daily for one more week and then recheck the roots.