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:

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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. 1
Sod Cutter, Kick Type, 12 Inch Wide Blade
  • A rugged kick-type sod cutter
  • Cuts up to 30 feet of 12 inch wide sod strips in 40 seconds
SaleBestseller No. 2
ProPlugger 5-in-1 Lawn and Garden Tool, Bulb Planter, Weeder or Weeding Tool, Sod Plugger, Annual Planter, Soil Test Probe
  • WATCH OUR VIDEO - Click the video to see the ProPlugger in action.
  • PLANT LIKE A PRO – Step, twist, pull and you’re ready to plant. Dig 2-1/8” diameter planting holes quickly, one after another, from a comfortable standing position. Soil gets stored in the tool as you work and empties by turning the tool upside down. Depth Rings (included) allow you to consistently dig perfect planting holes at 2", 4" and even 6" deep. *Avoid digging in dry or overly saturated soil.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Yard Butler Sod Plugger turf cutter and grass plug tool for zoysia, St. Augustine, fescue, or centipede grass transplanting & repair - ISP-33
  • LIFETIME GUARANTEE: Stop buying plastic or cheap metal products that don't hold up over the years. Yard Butler products are designed to last a lifetime and if you have a problem with our tools we make it right.
  • MANUAL SOD CUTTER is great for transplanting grass plugs of all types of turf grasses including zoysia, Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine and many others so you can choose the best sod to repair your lawn.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Garden Tool Set, CHRYZTAL Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Gardening Tool Set, with Non-Slip Rubber Grip, Storage Tote Bag, Outdoor Hand Tools, Ideal Garden Tool Kit Gifts for Women and Men
  • 【Premium Garden Tools 】- The gardening tool sets includes a large trowel, small trowel, cultivator, hand rake, weeder, pruning shears and an Oxford cloth tote to keep all your tools packed away, which are robust, so you don't need to worry about rust and damage. High quality, enough durable to cut through thick weeds. Stainless steel garden tools are easier to fix up your garden.
  • 【A Neat Pocket to Hold all Tools】 - the nice storage tote bag are designed to hold all the garden tools to ensure you won't lose any tools.Made of extra-sturdy 600D Oxford cloth, it’s an easy-to-clean tote that resists tears and protects your gear; pack your tools in the deep pockets, each with an elastic cord, to effortlessly carry to and from your garden.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Altdorff 5-in-1 Lawn and Garden Tool, Updated Bulb Planter Long Handle for Digging, Weeding, Soil Sampler, Transplanting, Sod Plugger
  • 5-IN-1 PLANTING TOOL- The garden tool is not just a long bulb planter, it's also a 5-in-1 lawn tool. It can work as a weeder, sod plugger, grass plugger tool, hole diggers and bulb planter. You won't agonize over having to carry all your yard tools with you.
  • HOW TO USE BULB PLANTER- Step, twist, pull and you’re ready to plant. Step down the middle pedal, you can control how deep want to go into the dirt. Step down the right pedal effortlessly release your soil. The 5-in-1 planting tool allows you to work from a standing position, saving your back and knees.

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.