By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Before You Begin
Measure the length and width of the area to sod and multiply them together to get the number of square feet in the new lawn. Ask the landscape service or sod farm what the dimensions the sod is sold in so you can determine how many rolls are needed. They'll help you if you know the dimensions of the new lawn.
Sod is extremely heavy so plan to have it delivered to your house. To prevent the sod from drying out, schedule the delivery the day of or the day before you plan to lay it. This is especially important if the weather is hot. In any case keep the sod covered and well watered if left standing in the sun.
Step 1 : Prepare the site
Remove any old lawn, rocks and weeds so the ground is level. Then use a rake to grade the surface so it's smooth and about 1/2- to1-inch below the surrounding walkway or driveway. Water the soil and then apply fertilizer to the prepared area according to instructions with either a broadcast or drop seed/fertilizer spreader.
Step 2 : Lay the sod
Begin laying the sod along a straight surface like a walkway so you can work from a straight edge. Arrange the individual pieces of sod end to end butting their ends together so the seam is nearly invisible. As you work, stagger the seams together for a uniform lawn so the seams aren't obvious. Gently press the ends together and cut with a knife and spade to piece them together.
Step 3 : Roll the sod
When all the sod is in place, use a lawn (drum) roller to press it firmly to the soil beneath it. The goal is to insure a uniform contact of the sod with the soil.
Step 4 : Water with a sprinkler
Soak the sod with a lawn sprinkler making sure to completely saturate the sod. To prevent the new sod from drying out, maintain a daily routine of watering for at least two weeks; this will vary depending on how much it rains.
Step 5 : Protect the sod
Avoid walking on the new sod until it has firmly established roots in its new soil. Protect the new sod with a barrier of string and sticks to prevent anyone walking on the new sod.
Illlustrations courtesy of Marathon Sod
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