Installing your own lawn sod is a great project for those with a do-it-yourself mentality. Whether you're looking to breathe life into a recently acquired property or simply upgrade your yard, laying down your own lawn sod can produce positive results if done properly. Unfortunately, this process entails much more than simply plopping the sod down on the earth and letting the rest take care of itself. For your new lawn sod to be effective in the long term, preparation and continual maintenance are key elements to this project's success.
For this project, you will need to select the type of sod you would like to install. For areas that will receive mostly direct sunlight, Kentucky Bluegrass will be your best bet. Use Tall Fescues sod if the area you're working on is moderately shaded, and use Fine Fescues if the area is heavily shaded. Now that you've chosen the type of grass you'd like to install, you'll need to break up the soil with a metal rake. This will allow the sod to take root much quicker and last much longer. You should also check the area and remove any excess debris, stones, and sticks.
If your soil is overly sandy or hard, you should add organic matter to it before installing lawn sod. You can purchase organic compost at your local home improvement store. Spread a thin layer of the compost over the area you would like to sod and use a metal rake to mix the compost into the soil. Also consider adding a layer of fresh topsoil to promote better sod growth. However, you should be aware that topsoil can be expensive and you will need to add roughly four to six inches of topsoil across your property to produce optimum results.
Now you are ready to begin installing your lawn sod. As long as the ground is not frozen, you should be able install new lawn sod; however, you should avoid laying sod down in hot and humid conditions such as mid-summer. Measure your sod pieces to make sure they are more than one inch thick. Do not purchase unhealthy or weak sod. To avoid drying out the sod, try to plant it within 24 hours after delivery. Also plan to water your soil with a hose before installing the lawn sod. Doing so will increase the sod's chances of survival and promote more seamless integration with the soil.
Place the sod squares closely next to one another so the seams are hidden. Stagger your seams by using full, half and one-third starter sod pieces for each row. For instance, cutting your sod piece in half and using it start a row would stagger the seams if your previous row started with a full sod piece. Once all the sod pieces have been installed, hose the area with water and continue to hose it once every three days for the following two weeks.