Preparing for Sod Grass Installation
Installing your own sod grass lawn is not that hard, but does need a bit of planning and some sweat equity on your part. Here are some steps to consider
Layout your yard
Sketch out a plan taking into account any permanent objects (rocks, utilities etc), mulch, flower beds, trees, hardscapes, and fences.
Think ahead! It is important to think about how you can access sod areas easily. You may want to leave a fence panel out and gates open. Paths through beds and rock areas can be completed and filled in after sod is installed.
Clear areas to be sodded of rock, concrete, and debris. Spray with a weed killer to kill any undesirable weeds or grasses and let sit 1 week. Repeat if necessary, then remove weeds by mowing, raking or scraping. Fill in any major depressions and rough grade for desired drainage. See our soil preparation section for more information.
Install Sprinkler System
It may be an added upfront cost, but over time will be well worth it. A properly designed sprinkler system will save water, time, and money in the long run and add value to your home, not to mention help you maintain a beautiful green lawn.Here are the benefits of a Sprinkler System:
- Apply water in a uniform, efficient manner
- Set timing and the system takes care of the rest
- Water in multi cycles to prevent run-off and encourage deep rooting.
- Water when you are away.
Fine grade the lawn area after sprinkler system is installed with a landscape rake. Break up clods of dirt into less than 3/4”, and remove any large rocks. Soil should be 1” below patios, sidewalks, driveways and edging. The final fine graded area should be smooth and clump-free. Sod will follow the contour of the ground and it is very difficult to adjust grade after the sod is installed.
- Apply Starter fertilizer to the bare ground before installing sod.
- Install the first line of sod slabs following a sidewalk, fence or edging to keep rows straight and minimize cutting. Cut the first slab of the next line in half so you can stagger the rows like brickwork. If you are installing sod on a hill, start at the bottom. This makes it easier to pull the sod into place and get a tight fit. If the hill is steep, anchor the sod in place with wooden stakes.
- Pull slabs tightly together making sure ends and edges are butted together tightly. Open joints let air get to the roots along the edges causing them to dry out and wilt. Also, DO NOT OVERLAP as the same results will occur. Use a knife to cut the sod to fit where you do not need a full piece. Fill in any small voids with pieces cut to fit the area. If you are working in very hot weather, as soon as you have finished an area large enough to water, set a sprinkler and let it run while you are installing the next area. All sodded areas must be adequately watered as soon as possible.
- Rolling the yard is not necessary but will help the soil to sod contact. It will also smooth out minor imperfections of the grade if rolled when the ground below the sod is a little squishy and sod has been watered. Roll with the longest seams.