DIY Sod Installation & Care

Sod is grass that is grown at a company and transported to your home once it reaches maturity. This allows you to install grass without worrying about seeding and being unable to use your lawn. One aspect of sod that people tend to worry about is the cost. If you have looked into buying sod, but you can't afford the installation cost, you can buy it and install it yourself. Here is a 'do it yourself' on installing sod on your lawn.

Prepare the soil

First, you need to make sure that all of the soil is clear on any debris. Remove any small rocks, trash, or anything else that may be in the soil. Do several walkthroughs to make sure you get it all. A week before you install your sod, spray the soil with weed killer to ensure no weeds will sprout up under the sod once it's planted.

Spread compost throughout the soil. This will allow the sod to germinate and grow properly. After composting, till the soil about four to six inches deep. After tilling, settle the soil by watering thoroughly. Finally, immediately before installing your sod, apply lawn fertilizer to your soil.

Install sprinkler system

If you want to have a sprinkler system in your yard, install it before you install your sod. Benefits of using a sprinkler system include:

  • Saving time by not watering by hand
  • Sprinkler systems use less water than a hose
  • Your lawn will have even amounts of water
  • Your lawn can be watered while you aren't home

Installing sod

Install your sod just like brickwork. You want to lay a row and stagger every row. To keep rows straight, start your installation on the edge of your driveway, sidewalk, or fence line. To stagger the rows, you will use half of a sod slab for the first piece in every other row. You want the edges of your sod to fit tightly together without overlapping. If your yard is a steep incline, you'll need wooden stakes to anchor your slabs in place.

If you have obstacles such as trees or flowerbeds in your yard, you will need to cut your sod to fit tightly around them. New sod can dry out quickly, as soon as you're done installing turn on your sprinkler system or set out sprinklers to water thoroughly. The sod should be spongy once it's adequately watered.

Caring for new sod

Your new sod needs to germinate so it can essentially become part of your lawn. You need to water vigorously for the first two weeks. Your sod should stay wet up to six inches deep. To do this, you need to water about five times per day. If you install in the summer, you may need to water more so your sod never dries out. If it does dry out it can shrink and even die.

On your third week, you can reduce the watering to 1-3 times every other day and 1-2 times every other day on week 4. After the first month, your sod can go a few days without receiving water. Every 2-3 days, water your lawn 2-3 times per day. The best time to water is morning, evening, and night. This is because that's when less evaporation occurs and your lawn can absorb the water adequately.

Mowing new sod

You can mow your sod after the first two weeks. You don't need to mow until your sod is about 3 ½ inches high. The first couple of times you mow make sure you don't cut shorter than two inches. While you mow, make sure you don't pull up or damage any of the slabs.