Weekend Project: How To Install Sod

When choosing a sod type, take into consideration the maintenance required for each grass variety.  Consider the amount of time you plan to dedicate to the upkeep of your lawn.  Be cognizant of site specifications such as shade and traffic.


Measure the length multiplied by the width of the area.  This will give you the square footage you need to place an order. (Click here to use the Yard Measurement Tool.)  We suggest adding roughly five percent extra (over the measured area), so you will have enough sod to cut and fit around the curves.


The best way to provide the perfect growing environment for turf is to test your soil.  Take a soil sample six inches deep from several places around the area you will be sodding.  Mix the soil, and place it into a soil testing bag available at any of our six farm outlet locations.  Your sample should contain about one quart of soil.  The soil report will tell you what your fertility requirements are and how to amend any deficient nutrients.  Please allow two weeks for soil test results.  Any fertilizer, lime or organic matter to be applied should be worked into the soil and can be lightly packed with a roller.  Sandy, infertile soil may need be added to the top soil.


Use a rototiller to loosen soil to a depth of about six inches. Remove any debris, rocks or dead grass. Slope the site away from your foundation.  Rake soil level, making sure it is at least one inch below the grade of sprinkler heads or paved areas, like sidewalks, patios or driveways.  Be sure to water your soil 24 to 48 hours before installation.  Your soil needs to be moist when you lay your sod.


Plan to install your sod the day it is delivered.  Start laying turf along the longest straight edge, such as a patio, fence, flower bed or driveway.  Work with whole pieces, laying them one at a time, end to end.  Continue along in a staggered, brick-like pattern.  The sod should be laid tightly together but not over-lapped.  Be sure to avoid walking on the sod as you lay it.  When installation is complete, the entire lawn should be watered and packed with a roller to ensure ground contact and flatten any air pockets.


Water your newly installed sod to a depth of about one inch within 30 minutes of installation.  Your new sod should be watered regularly for the next 2 to 4 weeks.  You do not want to saturate your new lawn.  Water should not puddle.  After the first week, taper off on watering to encourage grass roots to sink deeper into soil. A deeply-rooted lawn is one of the secrets to growing a lush, healthy lawn resistant to drought and other stresses.  Traffic and use of your lawn should be restricted for a minimum of one month.

Most healthy lawns require about 1″ of water per week.  Generally, mornings are an excellent time to water your lawn.  Use infrequent applications to penetrate deep into the ground.


Some grass varieties require more work than others but in order to thrive in a particular environment all types require maintenance.  Although there is no specific formula that covers, in detail, every type of grass care, there are several general rules that can be applied to all lawns:

1.  Grass height varies for each turf-type.   Do not remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade during one cutting and always use a sharp blade.  Not only does a dull mower blade lesson the appearance of your yard, it is unhealthy for the turf.

2.  All lawns require fertilizers and other chemical applications to maintain optimum health.  Slow-release fertilizers, such as Lebanon Turf products, last longer and decrease the risk of seriously injuring your lawn.  Lebanon produces the most effective, longest-lasting fertilizers on the market for all turf applications.

3.  Most major problems such as disease, weed encroachment and drought damage can be avoided by routinely checking your lawn for preliminary signs of trouble and educating yourself on your type of grass.

4.  Broadleaf weeds can be eliminated by mowing on a regular basis and keeping your turf healthy.  Grassy weeds such as common bermuda, nutsedges and crabgrass may require physical removal by hand or the use of a prescribed herbicide.