If you currently have a barren wasteland for a yard, perhaps the quickest and best way for you to change that would be to begin laying sod. While it may seem like a difficult task at first but it is actually pretty easy to accomplish. All you need to do to begin laying sod is to follow these simple instructions, and you will soon have a fresh laid lawn that is the envy of your neighbors. Best of all, you will have saved some money by doing the work yourself.
- Fertilizer (pre-turf)
- Garden rake
- Lawn roller
- Garden fork
- Garden spade
- Prepare the yard. You will need to prepare the yard to help encourage the growth of strong, deep roots for the grass. Do this by tilling the yard so that the soil is nice and loose to a depth of about six inches, and add some good quality topsoil to the mix as you are doing this to further promote growth. While you can do this work with a fork or a spade, the best possible tool will be to use a rototiller since you can not only be sure of a consistent depth, but it can also save you a lot of time. As you are tilling the ground, keep an eye out for any debris that doesn't belong there and remove it. Some examples of this would be things like sticks, rocks, dirt clods, and weeds.
- Compact the ground. Lightly compact the soil of your yard to help ensure a better growing environment for your new lawn. While you can do this by walking up and down in both directions, you can do a quicker and more even job by using a lawn roller. Make sure that you repeat the process at a 90 degree angle to what you first used.
- Till, water, and fertilize the soil. Take a garden rake and lightly drag a rake over the compacted soil. This will provide an extremely fine till for your soil, which will help to promote growth, and help ensure that your ground is as level as possible. Heavily water the soil a minimum of 36 hours before you lay the sod. This will help provide enough moisture for the new roots to utilize. Immediately before you begin laying the sod, apply a generous amount of pre-turf fertilizer to your yard.
- Lay sod. Find a straight edge of your yard, and use it as a guide to begin laying your sod. Continue laying the sod along this first row, until it is complete. Once completed, double-check to make sure that the pieces of sod are touching each other, but that they are not overlapping. Start your second row by using a half piece of sod, and then laying down the rest of the sod in the same manner as your first row. This will create a "brick" pattern provides a better chance for your sod to grow to its fullest potential. After finishing the second row, check again as you did with the first row before you go onto your third row. When starting your third row, make sure that you start with a full piece of sod, so that you continue the brick pattern. Repeat this process for your entire yard.
- Tamp the edges. While holding a rake vertically, push down firmly on all the joining edges of the sod. This is called tamping the edges. Do not use a roller, or stretch the sod during this process. If you find any gaps, instead of trying to stretch the sod, fill them in with some topsoil.
- Water. Immediately after you have finished laying the sod (including taping the edges) water your new lawn heavily. Continue to water for the next week, being sure that you water in the morning or the evening. Do not water during the hottest part of the day, since the water can actually help to burn the lawn during those times.
- Trim the lawn. Do not cut your lawn until at least a week after you have laid the sod. For the first cutting, be sure that you do not remove more than 1/3 of the total length. Once you have begun to cut the lawn, you can also begin to feed the lawn as well. Wait till the fourth or fifth cut to begin cutting as you normally would.