Laying Sod: 6 Important Dos and Don’ts


Beautifully landscaping your home is a wise investment of your time and money. In fact, spending just 5% of the value of your home to do landscaping can reap up to a 150% return on your investment. Landscaping to improve your home’s curb appeal can also increase its resale value by as much as 14%

According to SFGate, when you’re planning to lay sod for a new lawn or simply want to make your lawn look better, there are guidelines to follow to ensure a great result. Here are six important dos and don’ts.

1. DO Take Accurate Measurements.

Buying sod is more costly than using seed to fill your lawn in, so you’ll want to buy only as much as you’ll need to cover the area in question. It’s also important to make sure you buy the correct type of sod for your specific needs.

2. DO Prepare Your Soil.

Make sure all your prep work is done before your sod arrives, because sod needs to be laid immediately after its delivered.

To prepare your topsoil, till the desired area to a six-inch depth and remove all rocks, wood, and roots from the tilled soil. Then, use a rake to level the area. The tilled area should be an inch below your driveway, sidewalks, and sprinklers. Once that’s done, press your soil level using a lawn roller, filling in any lower areas and rolling again.

The topsoil should be irrigated before you lay the sod. You’ll also want to apply an herbicide 10 to 14 days prior to sod installation to get rid of any weeds. To pre-fertilize the soil, use one pound of 6-20-20 fertilizer per 100 square feet of prepared soil area.

3. DO a Proper Installation.

Start by laying the sod along a straight area like a driveway or sidewalk. Lay the edges of the pieces of sod tightly against each other, without overlapping them or leaving spaces between the pieces. Stagger the rows of sod, as if you were laying brick. To fit the sod around corners, trees, or other objects, use a sharp knife.

Once installation is complete, water your entire lawn to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Water the newly installed sod for 10 days (three times a day for 15 minutes). This will help to establish the roots. You should also avoid watering the sod at night.

4. DON’T Let the Sod Dry Out.

Whether the sod is waiting for installation, is already laid down, or is fully installed, it’s crucial to always keep it moist. Sod dries out and dies very quickly, and you don’t want that to happen before its root system becomes established. If you notice water pooling on the sod, reduce your watering.

5. DON’T Mow Right Away.

Once you’ve kept the sod moist and have allowed the root system to develop for 10 days, then you can safely mow your brand new lawn. To make sure that you don’t remove more than one-third of the blades of grass, set your mower height accordingly. To keep any clippings off the sod, use a grass catcher rather than a lawn rake, which would pull up the loose sod.

6. DON’T Step on the Grass!

Keep off the area you’ve sodded for three weeks so it can establish itself properly. That includes making sure that children and pets (large dogs especially) stay off the lawn. Your patience will be rewarded with lovely, level turf.

You can accentuate your beautiful new lawn by adding crushed shell for driveways, bagged mulch (either inorganic or organic type) around flowers, trees and shrubs. Crushed seashells are also wonderful landscaping touches. A one-inch layer of small rocks can aid in controlling weeds, and nutrient-rich topsoil will also help your garden flourish.

By following these important dos and don’ts, you’ll do a great job of laying sod for your lawn. Adding final touches of high-quality topsoil and landscaping accents will leave you with the beautifully landscaped home you’ve dreamed of.