How to Lay Sod - The Right Way!

Make sure the green side faces up!  And, there are a few more steps if you want to ensure a nice looking lawn.

Prepare the Ground

Make sure that there is no grass, rocks, or other debris in the yard where you want to lay the sod.  What you want is a blank canvas - clean, even, ready to be covered.  It is also recommended, depending on your budget, to use a rototiller on the dirt.  This is because you want to loosen up the top 5-8 inches of soil before putting any sod on top of it.

Depending on how far you want to go, you can also lay down some compost and or fertilizer on top of the soil.  Around two inches or so of each should do the trick.  Then, make sure to till that into the soil before moving on.

Next, make sure to level the soil.  You do not want to have a bumpy, wavy, or otherwise uneven surface.  This is aesthetically unpleasing but is also very bad for drainage; you want to make sure that water will drain away evenly and not pool anywhere.  You can use a rake to quickly even out the soil.

Lay Down the Sod

First, make sure the green side is facing up :).  Start laying the sod as soon as you can after it is delivered to reduce the time it has to dry.  Find a long and straight edge of your yard and start to lay the sod there.  Make sure not to walk on the sod when you are laying it down.  Try to smooth out any ripples or waves in the sod and try to smooth out any air pockets so that the sod will lay flat on top of the soil.

When you are laying down the sod, make sure to stagger the edges in the rows so that they don't all line up, like bricks in a building.  There should be no gaps between the sod, but try not to stretch it too much to fit since it will shrink a bit once it has dried.

Water the sod.  Then, water it again.  Remember that sod is living and you want to make sure that it has what it needs to survive in your yard.  So, after around 30 minutes or so, you should be watering the sod that you have already laid down.


When you get to an edge in your yard, cut the sod to fit.  Do not rip or tear it by hand.  Just use a long knife and gently cut the sod to fit.  This is especially important if you have any curves in your lawn.  You need to lay the edge of the sod over the curve and use the knife to gently cut the sod to fit the curve as perfectly as possible.  This will help to ensure a more even covering of sod and increase the likelihood that the sod will live.


On slopes you want to lay the sod across the slop and not over it.  If the sod starts to slide down the slope, use small wooden pegs - some form of biodegradable peg - to anchor the sod into the ground.  Make sure to push the pegs far enough into the ground so that no one will trip over them and so the lawn mower will not hit them.


Your sod needs lots of water.  The basic rule of thumb is to keep it moist until it roots.  This usually means watering the lawn 1 or more times a day for the first two weeks or so.  Remember that the sod is a living thing and that it is overly vulnerable until it sets its roots.

Mow Your New Lawn

Mow your new lawn after it starts to get too long.  In other words, do not just mow it right after it arrives.  You want to make sure that it has at least started to place its roots.  The first few times you mow the lawn, do not cut it too short; start higher than normal and, over time, gradually cut the grass lower to the desired height.  Be very careful not to jerk the mower around on the new sod because you do not want to pull up or displace the sod.  Be gentle while your sod is setting roots and starting out.

Enjoy Your New Lawn

Now that you've got a new lawn, sit back, enjoy it, and make sure the neighbor's dog doesn't abuse it.

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