laying sod

How to Lay Sod | Tips & Video Guide

One of the easiest ways to have a luscious, green lawn is to lay sod. In the end, it will look like you spent a lot more than you really did. It’s perfect especially when the hotter weather rolls around, if you are planning to sell your home, or if you simply just want to update the outside of your home and have a more interesting and beautiful backyard.

Sod is also convenient in that it can be installed during any time of the year, including the colder months, if where you live has a milder winter. According to This Old House, lawns that have sod installed are actually resistant to things such as disease, pests, and weeds!

Some people have negative opinions of sod, which is why it is important that you follow all directions carefully when installing sod. Read on to find out what you need in order to lay sod, the instructions for how to lay sod, and finally, how much time it will take and how much it costs.

Before & After Example

If you want the DIY guide- check it out here. The only tools you need are a wheel barrel, shovel, metal rack, sod, water, and a hose.

A Quick Visual Guide

Here’s a quick overview of the process from Pinterest:

How To Lay Sod

The first thing you need to do before doing anything else is test your soil. Sod will thrive the best if the soil in your lawn has a pH of about 6 to 7.5. Gather samples from several places across the lawn with a soil test you obtained from your local extension office and send it in. Wait for the results, which will tell you what the soil is made up of and if any adjustments need to be made to it.

Then, you have to measure the area where you want to lay down the sod. Be sure that you purchase about five percent more than you need just in case you measured incorrectly or something else goes wrong. You can then either go to a sod farm or to your local gardening center in order to purchase the sod. You’re going to be asked several questions about your lawn so that you can receive the proper sod. Make sure that you plan accordingly so you can lay down the sod the same day the company delivers it.

Use a rototiller or whatever else you planned on using to tear up your lawn 6 to 8 inches deep. Till in fertilizer which fits the makeup of your lawn according to the results of the soil test you took. Then, rake the soil so that it’s one inch below your sidewalk or driveway. You should water the soil a day before you plan to lay down the sod so that the roots can sink in well.

Once you receive the sod, start by unrolling it evenly alongside something straight like your driveway. Make sure that you work in pieces, avoid walking on the sod, and avoid any air pockets.

Also make sure that there aren’t any overlaps between layers. If you have any places where the lawn curves, use a lawn edger or carpet knife to cut accordingly. If there are any smaller pieces of sod, lay those in the middle of the lawn. Roll the sod so that it can attach to the soil, and try to avoid walking on it too much for the first three weeks. You’re going to have to water the sod well for the first month, after which it will only need watering one inch per week. If you plan to mow the lawn, make sure it’s done at least ten days after you’ve laid down the sod.

What You Need

The first thing that you are going to need is time. The entire process will take a few weeks. You should plan an entire day dedicated to laying the sod itself.

Then, as far as materials go, you are going to need measuring tape so that you can measure your lawn, a rake, fertilizer, and the sod itself, according to Green Horizons. These are just the basics.

There are other things that you may want to purchase too, as the DIY Network site suggests, such as a rototill, trowel, hose, a lawn edger, and sprinklers. It ultimately depends on how much time you have and what your preferences are.

The 5 Best Sodding Tools

Bestseller No. 2
Yard Butler Sod Plugger Zoysia St. Augustine Fescue Centipede Grass Lawn Turf Plug Cutter Tool SP-33
  • GREAT FOR TRANSPLANTING PLUGS OF ALL TYPES OF TURF GRASSES. Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine and many others so you can choose the best sod to repair your lawn.
  • PICKS UP A 3" X 3" SQUARE PIECE OF SOD OR SOIL - the size of most commercially available grass plugs. Plugs fit tightly into prepared holes, ensuring better growth and survival for your turf.
Bestseller No. 3
KEYFIT Tools SOD Knife Stainless Steel Blade Sod Cutter Trim New sod Around Landscape Edging beds & Sunken, Overgrown Sprinkler Heads Like Hunter PGP Raise Repair Adjust Remove Sprinkler Guard
  • 8" Stainless steel blade with super sharp serrations made for sod & turf 5" handle 13" overall length
  • Perfectly cuts in sprinkler guards, concrete donuts and Sprinkler Buddy
Bestseller No. 4
Truper 30038 Tru Pro Forged Sod Lifter, 9-Inch X 5-Inch Head, 32-Inch Ash Handle
  • 32-inch professional grade premium north american white ash handle
  • White ash handles give optimum ratio of resistance and flexibility
Bestseller No. 5
Billy Goat SC121H Sod Cutter, 118 cc Honda OHV Engine, 12-Inch Cutting Width
  • Ergonomic control levers, controls cut and drive system
  • Rear wheel drive

Cost of Laying Sod and Time Needed

Laying sod is unfortunately not the cheapest thing to do. The end result depends on how much sod you intend to lay down, because sod is priced according to square foot. Angie’s List states that sod can cost anywhere from around 30 to 45 cents per square foot.

And this is of course if you decide to lay sod yourself; hiring someone to do it is more expensive. Then, you are going to need to add in costs for the materials that you need.

You can rent a rototiller, for example, for around 80 dollars to use for the day. The fertilizer will cost somewhere around 20 dollars per bag. The other costs depend on what materials you want to use to prep the lawn.

Sod also requires a lot of time. It’s going to take about two weeks alone just to wait for the results of the soil test. The soil kit needs to be ordered from a local extension office and could cost around 15 to 20 dollars. Make sure that you plan accordingly because the makeup of your soil is going to be the basis for the rest of the process.

When you get the results, if there’s anything else you need to do in order to prepare the soil, make sure you do what is instructed of you by the company.

Then, when it’s time to purchase the sod, plan an entire day to have the sod shipped to you and to install it. Once it’s installed, you’re going to need to water it accordingly for four weeks; water every day during the first week (unless there’s rain), every other day the second week, twice during the third week, and then once the fourth week hits, water about an inch per week.