Sod is instant grass, but unless you follow some basic tips on putting down sod, your instant grass will quickly turn brown. And since sod is so expensive, it just makes sense to put down sod the right way.
Prepare the Soil
First, prepare your soil properly. If you're re-sodding an existing lawn, this means killing off any weeds or old, undesirable grass. If you use herbicide, you'll need to let it work for a couple weeks, so plan accordingly. Once the old lawn and weeds are brown and dead, you'll need to make room for your new sod by scraping up the old. If you're laying sod on a brand new lot or patch of ground without any old sod, you're in luck. You can proceed to step 2: tilling the soil.
Till it Properly
You need to ensure that the soil is properly tilled before laying new sod. The soil must be broken up into pea or marble-sized pieces. At this stage, you might want to get the soil tested, especially if you've had problems growing grass in the past or the soil is part of new construction. You can buy a soil-testing kit at a home and garden center or take your sample to your county extension office. The results may tell you that you need additives in your soil.
Feed and Water the Sod
Regardless, you should plan on laying down a fertilizer made specifically for sod. Then, you can lay your sod. Lay your first strips along straight lines (driveway, sidewalk, patio). Be sure to stagger the strips of sod as you lay them, and stake strips that sit on hillsides. Also, on hillsides, you should lay the sod perpendicular to the slope. Once your sod is down, use a roller to ensure that the roots make good contact with the soil and then water thoroughly. Then, water well once a day for a couple of weeks or until the roots are established. You should be able to walk on your sod by then and mow a short time later.