Sod Installation Guides

If installing a new lawn seems a bit overwhelming at first, that's only natural. Here are 10 tips that will take you from start to finish.

1. Proper soil preparation

The soil is the foundation for any new lawn. If the soil is poor, the grass will struggle to develop a deep root system and will continue to need more water. Existing soil needs to be rototilled 4 to 6 inches deep. Installing new sod on hard packed ground is like trying to grow grass on your driveway. Although possible, it is not entirely practical.

2. Add organic matter

Add 3 to 4 cu/yds of organic matter per 1,000 sq ft of area to be sodded and rototill into the soil. Incorporating organic matter into the soil will improve its water holding capacity and add vital nutrients. Proper soil prep is the most important factor in establishing a new lawn.

Maybe you are in a new house and have dirt where a lawn should be. Or maybe in an older house where a lawn used to be. What is the best way to establish a new lawn, with seed or with sod? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Advantages of Sod

  • Instant lawn. Sod can take traffic and will be ready for activity in 2 to 3 weeks.
  • When installed Sod is already a mature turf with an established root system.
  • Sod can withstand heavy rains providing superb erosion control.
  • Sod acts as a weed barrier, preventing weed seeds from taking hold.
  • Visual appearance is one of immediate enhancement and appeal.
  • Sod can be installed any time of year that the ground is not frozen and can be worked.
  • Uniformity of coverage is 100%.
  • Risk of installation failure is low.

Certainly there are differences of opinion on the degree of soil preparation prior to the installation of sod. Although these steps may cost you more initially, they will pay dividends in the future. Most authorities do advise:

  • Remove all weeds and debris.
  • Establish a rough grade eliminating low spots.
  • Add soil amendments and rototill 4-6 inches in depth.
  • Smooth, level, and establish the final grade.
  • Sub-grade areas surrounding sidewalks, drives, etc. approximately 1 1/2 inches.