Laying Sod

DIY: How to Lay Your Own Sod and Keep it Alive

Ever wanted to lay your own sod but thought it was too hard or not worth the time? Well, I'm here to tell you that it's actually really easy and will save you a ton of money. It'll also give you more control over what kind of grass you want in your yard. Let me show you how with these simple step-by-step instructions!

How to Lay Sod Over Existing Lawn

Guess what?! Laying sod down over your existing lawn is not a shortcut as one might think. By laying fresh sod over an existing lawn you could actually kill your sod and make it twice as hard for you. When sod gets laid over the existing grass, the grass will eventually die and decompose, except those pesky weeds! Weeds are extremely resilient, and will more than likely work its way through your brand new sod. So make sure you get rid of all the weeds before laying any new sod! The best way to get what it needs is for the sod to be laid flush against the soil. This allows its roots - which will sprout and grow through time - to establish themselves properly, as well as absorb nutrients from deep within our most fertile soils.

How to Install Sod

How Much Does it Cost to Lay Sod

If you are doing it yourself (which we hope you do!) you should expect to pay at least 40 cents a square foot. Which roughly comes out to $400 for a 1,000 square foot lawn. If you are unable to do it yourself you can expect to pay around $2,600-$7,000 for a one-fifth acre lawn. 

How to Prepare to Lay Sod

An important thing to remember before you start your project is that each roll or square of sod is a living plant that requires soil contact and moisture to survive. These helpful steps will help you with your own sod laying journey. 

  1. Take a soil test - In order to know what helps with a perfect growing environment, you’ll need to start with a healthy soil. Most turf grasses thrive in well-aerated soil. 
  2. Measure the area - It’s important to get correct measurements on the area you want to lay sod. If measured incorrectly you could end up with too much sod or not have enough. 
  3. Putting organic matter into the soil - By putting organic matter into the soil, it will help improve the soil aeration and water retention and enhance the microbial population in your soil. You would need to use a rototiller to loosen the soil, about 6-8 inches deep. Remember to remove all the debris you till up, including rocks, and sticks.
  4. Rake soil level - By raking the soil, it evens out the surface and also creates loose soil particles. Soil needs to be moist when you lay your sod down. You need to make sure you water it well 24-48 hours before installation. 
    how to install sod
  5. Unroll your turf - Starting from a straight edge, such as your patio, fence line or flower bed. Lay whole pieces of turf at once and don't walk on it while you lay the sod in place to avoid any footprints being made into soil. Once laid pat down which will help eliminate air pockets between the two layers so there isn’t an awkward bumpy surface left behind!

Laying sod in rolls

 Using a cheap carpet knife, cut the next piece of sod in half and lay it against the first. Staggering like courses on bricks will make your lawn look more polished than ever!

  1. Tighten the seams - Align the edges of the sod together, making sure there are no gaps between them. Push your thumbs along these seams to make it fit snugly against each other so that you know they are pushed up tight without any air pockets or bare soil showing in-between.
    Laying sod
  2. Leftover small pieces - To ensure that your grass is completely covered, use small pieces of the turf to fill in along all edges. This will allow for better coverage and less chances of drying out or shrinking once it has grown.
  3. Around the curves - To get curving sections just right, lay out the curve with a hose and use a lawn edger to slice neatly along it. Grab your carpet knife when you need to cut openings in sod around irrigation heads, trees or other obstacles.
  4. Fill in the seams - Brush the topsoil or potting soil across all seams using a strong push broom. Be careful to not push up any loose turf edges. 
  5. Time to roll your sod down - Use a lawn roller to push sod firmly against soil beneath. A tight connection between the roots and soil is key for quick rooting into the ground. Traffic should be limited on newly laid sod, including children and pets, during its first three weeks of establishment as this can make it difficult to root properly in place.
  6. Watering your sod- To encourage a lush, healthy lawn, be sure to water it deeply and less frequently. Water your sod thoroughly for the first week or until rain arrives. Reduce watering from daily to every other day after that time period has passed. Starting in about two weeks' time, only irrigate twice per week with one inch of rainfall each session so grass can get enough moisture without being flooded too often which could cause roots not to settle deep into soil properly over long-term use. 

    Laying sod
  7. Your first mow - Mow your new lawn for the first time when it is roughly three inches tall and at least ten days have passed since laying sod. Use a walk-behind mower instead of a heavier riding one, and install a grass catcher to bag clippings. At this point in its life cycle the lawn is too immature to let any more lay on top of it so add them either to some compost piles or use as mulch around shrubs or vegetables by all means make sure that you change out blades if they are dull because otherwise tear up newly rooted grass will be inevitable.

  8. Fertilizer - Apply a starter fertilizer to grass after about four weeks’ growth. Covington’s Micronutrients will help do wonders for your new lawn! Your new lawn needs some time to recover after getting installed. For the first few weeks, try not doing anything too strenuous in your yard so that it can get back into shape and form a strong foundation for you!

How Late is too Late to Lay Sod

We know that in mid-October is the time you can’t plant grass seed anymore for the year, but what about sod? The answer? Absolutely! You can lay sod any time the ground is not frozen or temperatures are not above 90 degrees.

How to Remove Old Grass and Lay New Sod


Things You Now Know!

After reading this blog post, you should have a better understanding of how to lay sod and the costs associated with it. However, if you are still unsure or would like more information on other lawn care topics not covered in this article, please feel free to contact our team for help!