Learning how to lay sod is not as difficult as you think. In fact, it is an easy way to grow an immediate, lush lawn. When it comes to getting a lush, healthy yard, nothing beats sod for gratification. Certainly, it sets you back a bit much more: concerning $400 to cover a 1,000-square-foot yard (double that installed). But lay it right and in a couple of weeks you’ll obtain a dense, reputable yard that’s naturally resistant to weeds, conditions, and insect problems.
However, the hard part is in the preparation and the completed product is only as good as the prep work. Begin with good dirt. There is no better time to improve your home yard’s ultimate elegance and success than by boosting the soil before any type of growing takes place.
The worth of proper site prep work as well as soil improvement, before any kind of growing occurs, is that it will be easier for the grass roots to penetrate deeply and uniformly. Deep roots will make the lawn a lot more drought immune, a more efficient water and nutrient user and also thicker as new grass plant shoots emerge. A dense lawn will crowd out weeds and better resist bugs and diseases.
The following are basic guidelines on soil preparation for turf to help achieve a lower maintenance, thriving healthy lawn for years to come.
- Clear the site of all rocks, stones or other debris that is larger than 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Rough grade the entire area to eliminate drainage problems by sloping the grade away from building foundations and filling low-lying areas.
- Till the existing soil to a minimum depth of at least 2 inches before adding any topsoil or soil amendments.
- Add topsoil, if necessary, to achieve a total topsoil depth of 4-6 inches.
- Test the soil pH according to the guidelines described at the UMASS Soil testing lab based on its prompt and professional service (http://www.umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest/brochlink1.htm). Adhere to the suggestions regarding lime or gypsum addition to correct pH discrepancies.
- Apply “starter fertilizer” that is high in phosphate (P, or the middle number on a bag of fertilizer), at a rate recommended for the particular product. Typical starter fertilizer recommendations are (N-P-K) of 10-10-10 or 19-19-19. Lightly incorporate this starter fertilizer into the top 2-3 inches of topsoil to avoid root injury.
- Gently tamp or roll the topsoil to settle the surface and create an ideal surface for installing the sod.
Step-By-Step: How To Lay Sod Yourself
Follow the below steps on how to lay sod yourself. Always use fresh cut sod for your project.
Install Your New Sod:
- Begin by unrolling the sod along a straight edge or use a string line.
- Install the new sod in a brickwork fashion staggering the seams. Not to worry about the obvious looking seams as they will disappear within a few weeks once the sod is rooted and established.
- Sod pieces should be fit together snugly, like a jigsaw puzzle with edges fit tight together, but not overlapped, stretched or any edges pushed upwards.
- Pieces should be flat on the ground with no buckled, rippled or overlapped pieces.
- Use a sharp utility, carpet or linoleum knife to cut & trim pieces as needed.
- Avoid walking or kneeling repeatedly on the sod as you are installing and during the watering process.
- Do not water the top soil prior to installing otherwise you will have a needless mess of wet mud.
- The top soil will be soaked during the watering process after installation.
- Installing sod in rainy or very wet conditions: DO NOT use the sod to walk on, if the top soil is wet from rain or it is raining during the install. This causes air pockets & indentations resulting in brown patches and a bumpy lawn. Instead use wide planks or partial pieces of plywood to disperse your weight as you work in wet conditions. Lift and reset planks or plywood as you work.
- If your sod has been installed properly, with care, in any & all weather conditions, it is not necessary to roll the sod after it has been installed.
- It is not necessary to put top soil along the seams or joints in the sod. However, it is necessary to water your new sod! Please do not wait for the rain to do it.
- Please refer to the information that came with your sod order for more ideas and information.
Water Your New Sod:
- Have all your watering equipment on hand and ready when you are installing your sod.
- Begin watering your sod as soon as possible after installing it. Water within at least a 1/2 hour of completing an area.
- Soak the new sod thoroughly. This means right through the grass to the root side and into the top soil below for a depth of at least 5 cm or 2 inches .
- Roll back a piece of sod and check to see if the soil under it is good and moist.
- Do not under water your new sod and don’t try to to make soup out of the new lawn either.
- Sod that has not been watered enough will suffer damage & begin to shrink from lack of water.
- Check to make sure your sprinklers are reaching to all areas of the yard.
- If you are installing a large quantity of sod: Begin watering the sections you have completed installing as soon as possible. Do not wait until you have installed all of the sod.
Traffic On Your New Sod:
- Avoid heavy or concentrated foot & equipment traffic on your new lawn for about 14 days. This allows the sod roots to ‘knit’ into the soil & ensures the surface remains level.
- Limit the foot traffic to moving the sprinklers until the sod is rooted.
- The soil beneath the new sod is being kept wet, so excessive traffic on the lawn will compact the wet soil (a real detriment to growth), and can also create low spots and even holes or tears.
- After the new lawn is fully established it is quite capable of handling foot & lawn equipment traffic.
Your new sod will root & grow as it settles into its new environment and establishes itself.
Enjoy your new lawn!
How To Lay Sod Over Existing Lawn
Many homeowners like to ask this question “How to lay sod over existing lawn?” Although installing new sod requires less care and maintenance procedures than seeding, the prep work required for laying it directly over grass is almost the same, as it must come in contact with freshly turned soil to take root.
Many homeowners like to ask this question “How to lay turf over existing grass?” Although installing new sod requires less care as well as maintenance procedures than seeding, the prep work required for laying it directly over yard is practically the same, as it needs to come in contact with freshly turned soil to settle.
The primary concern gardeners normally have about laying sod directly over the lawn is whether the brand-new grass has time to settle in the primary soil layer within a few short weeks. Given that turf provides a couple of nutrients to expanding lawn, the turf has to settle within the initial week or more to gain access to the nutrients that keep it active. Expert landscapers consistently lay sod over grass but often hesitate in circumstances where the current layer of grass is already flush with pathways, driveways and also various other borders since the other turf increases the new lawn higher than the ground degree.
Another way to lay sod over yard is by killing the existing grass initially. Commercial herbicides can do this task. However, this procedure requires tilling the soil after the yard dies. Furthermore, it is advised to examine the soil to identify whether additional nutrients should be included.
Step-By-Step: Laying Sod Over Weeds
Laying sod over weeds, or even on soil that has the weeds plowed under, is asking for trouble. Weed seeds will survive underground and sprout through your newly laid turf, spoiling that entire swath of green you’re trying to develop. Free your soil of weeds as well as weed seeds before laying sod, and you’ll have far better results in the coming seasons. You’ll increase the curb appeal of your residence while reducing weeding chores.
Things You Will Need
- Clear builders-grade plastic
- Rocks or bricks
- Water the plot of land to force any seeds in the ground to sprout. Allow them to grow for a week to make sure as many sprout as possible.
- Mow the lot with a lawn mower set at 1 inch. This will remove the majority of the plant material above ground. Use a mower with a bag or rake and remove the mown plant debris.
- Dig down 6 inches over the entire plot of land and turn over the soil. Remove any large rocks or roots you find and break up large clumps of dirt. Smooth the soil with the shovel to make it roughly level.
- Water the soil to moisten it, but don’t add so much that the ground is saturated. Add water until it soaks in to a depth of 1 inch.
- Cover the ground with sheets of builders-grade clear plastic. Bury the edges of the plastic in the ground or hold them down with bricks, rocks, cinder blocks or other heavy debris. Overlap the edges of the plastic by about 3 inches to make sure the entire plot is covered.
- Leave the plastic in place for four to six weeks. The heat from the sun will create a greenhouse effect underneath the plastic, heating the soil enough to bake and kill any weed seeds that exist underground. Remove the plastic after six weeks and lay the sod.
Tip: This project works best in the hottest months of summer (June, July and August). It will work during cooler months of the year but may take up to 10 weeks to do the job.
Sod Grass Prices
Sod grass prices will depend on a variety of elements including:
- the sort of lawn you are buying;
- the area and resource you are buying it from;
- how much lawn you require;
- the location where you are laying it;
- whether you are intending to do it yourself or have it properly mounted.
Your location is surprisingly among the greatest factors in figuring out the cost. Sod costs much more to deliver further distances and some types are not grown for long delivery times. Hydroponic sod could do better during shipment, yet may also be much more pricey.
How Much Does Sod Cost?
Prices for sod can vary from 8 to 30 cents each square foot, which brings the overall of a 2,000 square foot task to $160 to $600. Delivery charges can vary from cost-free (included in the sod price) to more than half the total cost of the turf. There is usually a minimum amount for delivery. Other expenses that will certainly need to be included in this job will consist of:
- any tools that you do not own or could not obtain (rake, rototiller, grass roller),
- natural material to do with,
- seeds (for spot seeding after the sod yard is entirely set up),
- labor if you wind up employing a close friend or more to aid you.
It is possible to buy your own sod and have another person install it. This might affect any guarantees the installer might supply, so make sure to discuss it. It is beneficial to you, nonetheless, since you have direct control over exactly what sort of sod and exactly what quality will be set up.
Your yard might have an unusual or complex layout. If you’re getting the grass but are going to have an expert install it, the specialist will usually be the one to do the measuring. They will include a little added to account for difficulties, around 5% to 10%.
Numerous landscapers will charge you a rate per square foot that consists of both installations and sod. The biggest benefit of employing an expert is the end result. An expert group can conceal seams, make the ground properly level, work with severe slopes and manage things like curvy yard boundaries and also irregularly-shaped grass.
Is DIY Less Expensive?
You could decide that laying turf is easy enough that you will save cash by doing it yourself. But keep in mind that to do an excellent work of laying sod you must have a rototiller and a lawn roller to help prepare the soil and lay the turf uniformly and also emphatically. If you need to rent this device, you might have saved money or broken even by hiring a pro. On top of that, if you do not know how to use the tools, you might regret that you made a decision to do it on your own after all.