Establishing a new lawn through installing sod is an interesting, enjoyable work that every homeowner can perform by themselves. It doesn’t need any technical knowledge and specialized tools.
The major advantage of establishing the lawn through sods is how quickly you get a beautiful lawn. Sod gives an instant grass cover on the well-prepared soil while leaving the impressive green property all around.
The preparation of soil and choosing the compatible grass sod type as per your area climatic conditions are the two major factors that impact the success of the lawn. Most of the growers are confused about buying the sod because they are not sure where to buy sod.
That’s why, I built this comprehensive guide on establishing lawn by sod that covers all the aspects of preparation of the soil before buying sod, where to buy sod of high quality along with some tips.
In short, the hassle of where I can buy sod will vanish after going through this guide. Make sure to read and follow all steps for getting complete knowledge on laying sod in your yard.
Let’s get started!
- 1 What is sod
- 2 Considerations Before You Buy Sod
- 3 Which grass Sod species is best for you?
- 4 Where to Buy Sod: An Effective Solution
- 5 How to save money on sod purchases?
- 6 Post-delivery working options after buying sod
- 7 How much does it cost to install sod?
- 8 How to lay sod
- 9 Watering the new sod lawn
- 10 Enjoy your new sod lawn
What is sod
Sod is the turf or grass having a small part of the soil beneath the grass, both are held together by the root system or by the thin layer of biodegradable material. Sod is generally used for establishing a lawn in a quick way and it is the most adopting method over grass seeding in the areas where the grass seeds are too expensive or harder to grow.
Considerations Before You Buy Sod
There are some most important things to be taken care of before you buy sod. All of these things or factors described later have a major influence on the success of the lawn and the earlier preparations before going to ask where to buy sod.
You can never establish a lawn before searching the compatible grass type of which you need sod. This section includes similar important factors like soil preparation and sod selection.
Choosing the Best Sod
This step of choosing the sod is a crucial step for getting the smooth growing and well compatible grass in your lawn. There comes two conditions i.e. installing a totally new lawn or putting sod in the older lawn.
If the lawn has already growing grass and you want to fill the blank patches or want to increase the lawn area, make sure to choose the same species of grass and sod. In case you have not found a similar one, buy grass sod that blends well with the existing grass type.
If you have no knowledge of which grass variety or species is well suited to your region, then look into the grass species that are thriving on your neighbor’s lawn. Finding the climatic conditions and the grass type (cool or warm season) narrows down your search and helps you out to get what kind of sod you ought to buy.
In case you still fail to examine the grass species growing in your region, then go to the service provider for lawn establishment, they will assist you. They will examine your lawn and tell you a respective species. Then go the further step of sod buying, that is preparation for sod delivery.
Preparation before Sod Ordering
Following these preparations before ordering the sod helps you a lot in saving the sod after delivery.
Choosing a location for sod delivery
When you order the sod from any provider, it is directly shipped from the sod farm to your address. So, you need to prepare any place where it is unloaded. The place should be arranged near to your installation point.
The provider oftenly confirms the drop-off time before the shipment to make sure that you have everything prepared for installation on the very next day.
You must go through the complete guide on how to lay sod, if you haven’t, don’t worry the whole guide is present in the latter part of this guide. Having complete guidance on sod installation is important as sod needs to be right installed for better results.
Care: Make sure to not keep the sod on pallets for more than two days otherwise its growth percentage will get lower by moisture losses. If you aren’t prepared for sod installation, store the sod in the shady place and keep it moist.
Remove all the rocky material or any stones present in the lawn and till the lawn to the depth of six inches. Use a rototiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches.
After tilling the lawn, add any desired soil amendments into the soil for getting speedy growth and good establishment of roots. Biotone fertilizer is my personal favorite starter fertilizer for establishing the lawns as mycorrhizae in this product help the roots to grow deeper.
Organic matter helps in improving the soil aeration and water retention ability of soil. It does enhance the microbial population in the soil and makes the soil healthier.
Important tip: If you already have any grass on your lawn, cut them using the lowest mowing setting on your lawnmower.
Well, rake the soil after adding any soil amendment into the soil. It helps out the smooth distribution of supporting material over the surface and do necessary grading for proper drainage.
Best time to buy and Lay Sod
The best time to buy sod and lay sod in the early spring and early fall. The temperatures during these days favor the better establishment of roots of sod before the onset of heatwaves. The success of sod growing lawn majorly depends on timely watering the lawn.
Which grass Sod species is best for you?
Choosing the best sod species for your lawn totally depends on the climatic conditions and the soil status of your lawn.
These are some considerations to follow before purchasing sod:
- How much sunlight reaches the lawn area
- What’s your region’s climate? Warm or Cool?
- Do you have a planned irrigation system for lawns?
- Foot traffic through the lawn
- Soil type, fertility, status
Keep all of these considerations in mind and ask the sod farmers the best sod species as per your observations of the climatic and conditions of your lawn.
Some grass species grow best in the shade while the others grow in sun and some in both.
Some grasses have the ability to bear the heavy foot traffic while some could harm by little traffic.
If the soil of the lawn area is clayey then there are more chances of disease attacks so you need to look for grass that is more disease resistant and grows well in wet soils. While the drought-tolerant grasses grow well in sandy soils.
Considering the above mentioned five points in every grass sod species will help you to narrow down your search for the best sod for your lawn.
Where to Buy Sod: An Effective Solution
The most hassling situation for a person to establish a lawn by sod is to know where to buy sod. You will have a lot of options to buy the sod:
- Buy the sod online
- From a box store
- From a local nursery
- Directly from a sod farm
All of these options are available to you for buying the sod but which option is best for buying sod?
The answer to this query is answered here.
You can buy the sod from any garden centers or the box stores present near to you. But they have grass sod in minimal quantities. Make sure that the sod pallet is stored in a cool shady place otherwise take a hard pass if the pallets are baking in the direct sunlight.
If you don’t get the desired amount from these centres, then look for local sod farms and buy from them directly. Hopefully, they have the option of delivery at your doorstep.
Pre-delivery preparations after ordering sod
After ordering the sod from any store, online, or farm, the very next part is the arrangement of the place to unload the sod pallets on delivery. Make sure to arrange the place to deliver the delivery at the doorstep.
If you have already growing grass then make a place for sod storing near the lawn. And in case if you don’t have any grass on your property then it will be great freedom for you to choose the grass sod species and the place for unloading.
But make sure that the grass sod you are ordering is compatible with the climate of your region.
How to save money on sod purchases?
These are two options to save money on sod purchases that will help to cut off the cost for sod installation per square foot.
Picking the sod yourself
If you have any vehicle large enough or attaching a cart with it, to transport the sod from the store or farm to your home, you can save delivery fee by picking the sod pallets on your vehicle.
Online ordering the sod
Buy the sod online helps you to save a lot of money that costs in the form of wandering from store to store, farm to farm. You just need to look for the best growing grass species in your region and order the sod of similar species online.
All of the sod farms are almost available online that can cut, load, and deliver the sod quickly to your home and the freshly cut sod will be fresh and high quality.
While online ordering the sod, you can easily compare the prices of various farms and ask the professionals too on the website.
The best practice is to go for the online ordering the sod from any popular sod farm and negotiate the pricing with them. It will save you a lot of time and money.
Post-delivery working options after buying sod
After buying the sod and delivered at your locations, the next step is to decide the installation of sod on your lawn. You can save money by installing the sod by yourself.
Sod installation is the laying of sod on the well-prepared soil in your lawn in a well-practised manner. Sod is laid such that no spaces are left between the sods and are laid in a compact manner. Sod installation leaves two options for you i.e. install the sod by yourself or ask for a professional from sod growers/lawn maintenance companies.
Install the sod yourself
Sod installation is a labour-intensive work that includes the much work of picking sod in form of parts and then laying them on the soil surface. But it does not require any technical knowledge and you can save a lot of money by doing the installation by yourself.
You just need to do a little research on the whole process of sod installation that is also explained in the latter part of this guide.
Hiring professional for sod installation
If you don’t have time or don’t like to install sod, then hire a professional from any sod farm or lawn maintenance company. Hiring professionals and labour will be a little costly but do the work in a better way.
How much does it cost to install sod?
Whether you are establishing a new lawn, renewing the old weedy lawn, or facing the barren backyard, sod installation can be way easy for you with little working. If you hire a professional from any private company for sod installation then the sod installation cost becomes a little higher per square foot.
The expected price to pay for installing sod is almost 40 cents per square foot that you install yourself. It comes to 400$ for a lawn of 1000 square feet.
How to lay sod
These are some easy to follow steps for laying sod on your lawn. You can install sod by yourself by following these tips and steps.
1. Measure the lawn area and buy sod accordingly
Measure the lawn area on which you are going to install the sod. Landscaping is measured in square feet and the best way to calculate area is by measuring the length and width of the lawn.
After calculating the length and width, multiply the figures and obtain the value of the area in square feet. Then order the sod according to square feet value.
The sod is sold in the form of strips and slabs. The common size of strip is 16*24 inches that work for home lawns.
2. Soil preparation
Soil preparation is the first step in sod installation. You cannot lay new sod over the existing growth. So you will need to kill the old weeds or growths.
Water the lawn and spray the herbicides on the yard. After that, lay compost over the lawn.
After adding organic matter, rake the yard to loosen the soil. Measure the soil pH and minerals levels through a pH meter.
Level the ground surface with a leveler and prepare for the laying of sod.
3. Sod laying
Start laying the sod along the straight edge of the yard and follow along the edge to keep it in line.
After laying the first row, smooth the surface beneath the first row with a shovel to remove the air pockets for encouraging root establishment.
Keep laying the sod one by one in rows and make sure that sod is laid flush with one another.
Continue patting the new-laid sod on the ground to ensure removal of any air pockets.
4. Fill in spaces
After laying down the sod on the whole surface, check for any curved spaces that are compacted with sod, have spaces between.
Cut down the smaller pieces of sod with a knife and lay down the smaller ros of sod in these curved places. Lay down the sod by cutting smaller pieces all over the surface and patting it completely. Make sure to lay along the flower beds, driveways, and walkways also.
5. Press the sod
Use a roller for pressing the sod to get the smooth surface and removing any spaces between sod and soil. It helps the sod to take root into the soil.
Newly laid sod should be watered as early as possible. The perfect time for installing sod is early morning and water the lawn just after installation.
Water the lawn daily for the first week and avoid foot traffic.
After the first week, move to water the lawn every other day and then twice a week.
When you see that the grass has grown to three inches, it’s time for trimming.
Make sure to fertilize the lawn as well to add fresh nutrients to the soil.
Watering the new sod lawn
Watering the lawn is the crucial step for establishing the new lawn as well as keeping the old lawn healthy and lush green. Water plays a major role in keeping the grass fresh and lush green. Make sure to timely water the lawn.
After installing sod, make sure to water the lawn daily for a few weeks for better root establishment.
You can follow Roger Cook’s watering recommendations for a new sod lawn as:
- 3x daily the first week
- 2x daily the second week
- 1x daily the third week
After three weeks go for the normal watering routine.
Enjoy your new sod lawn
Hopefully, you have complete knowledge of buying the sod, where to buy sod, and how to lay the sod by yourself. Following the steps directed in the guide helps you a lot in establishing a beautiful lawn in 2-3 days.
Usman is an aspiring writer and Agronomist from Pakistan. He certified with Masters in Planting and growth behaviour. His research on vegetable growth and fertilizer supply is published in many research papers.