The fist step is determine which types of grass grow best in your area. Measure the square footage of your planting area to determine how much sod you’ll need for your project. Always prepare garden areas before your purchase plant material, including sod, this will reduce the amount of time the sod sits out. Prepare the soil by first tilling the area which you’re planning to sod. If the area is already lawn and your redoing it, remove any clumps of grass and throw them in the compost pile. Rake the area thoroughly a few times, each time removing stone and debris. Add to the existing soil some compost and till it in. Using a grading rake, grade the area smooth. The final level should be an inch or two lower than grade to accommodate the thickness of the sod.
Purchase fresh sod at a local nursery or garden center, or have it delivered from a local sod farm. Pick up the sod or arrange to have it delivered on the day you are ready to lay it. Inspect the sod carefully to make sure it hasn’t dried out. Reject it if it has dried, curled or cracked edges, or yellowing foliage.
Laying the Sod
Lay the first row of sod in a straight line, the length of the area. To create a straight edge, stretch some twine between two garden stakes. As you unroll and lay the individual sod pieces, be sure they butt up tightly against an edge or each other so there are gaps between them. Don’t, however, overlap the pieces as they need to root into soil. It may be necessary to re-grade the soil as to lay the sod, particularly if the there foot print left in the soil. To avoid lining up seems between rows, the second row should start with a half piece of sod so that the pieces begin to stagger from row to row. Use a utility knife to cut sod to fit around flower garden beds, stepping stones or other garden features.
Once the sod is laid out run a roller over the area to eliminate bumps and air pockets. This also ensures that the sod and soil are in contact with one another. Newly laid out sod should be watered thoroughly to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. The sod should be kept moist until sod roots establish themselves in the soil.
During hot spells it may be necessary to water more than once a day. If you’re laying sod on a hot day, be sure to water the pieces of sod which haven’t been laid. For sloping lawns, keep the sod in place with wooden pegs until the root develop enough to keep in place.