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How To Plant A Lawn From Sod

Updated on March 3, 2012

Whether you wish to plant a new lawn, or just repair an existing one, sod is an excellent choice. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than it would be to just plant from seed. However, the benefits of planting sod as opposed to seed will overshadow the cost. Sod provides an instantly beautiful lawn, giving you immediate gratification. Sod has already developed a healthy root system which will allow you to save money and time on the additives and treatments required for seedlings to develop. And the dense roots embedded within the soil of the sod create a thick barrier, making it very difficult for weeds to penetrate. This will allow for a fuller and healthier lawn, which will require much less maintenance than one started from seed.

  1. Prepare the soil. Remove all debris including weeds, rocks, leaves, and any existing grass. Using a rake; loosen the top 1/2 inch of soil, and rake until it is smooth and level. Spread a starter fertilizer over the newly loosened soil.
  2. Buy healthy sod. Your sod should have a uniform greenness with the grass being approximately two inches long. The underside should have an inch of dark, moist soil which houses dense roots.
  3. Lay the first row of sod. Be sure your first row follows a straight line, as this will eliminate unnecessary cutting later, which may result in added labor and waste of product. The ideal place to start would be along a straight bordering edge such as a fence line or sidewalk. Otherwise, I recommend using two stakes with a string tied taut between. This will give you a good guide line. Each strip of sod in this row should abut the previous, but be careful not to overlap. Pat each piece of sod down firmly as you lay it, paying special attention to the edges. This will allow for proper root contact with the soil.
  4. Stagger subsequent rows. The end of a strip of sod in one row should fall in the center of a strip in a neighboring row ( similar to the pattern used for mortar joints on a brick wall).
  5. Water your new lawn properly! Give the lawn a deep watering once a day for the first three weeks, and once every other day the following three weeks.

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    • Duce Arendell profile image

      Duce Arendell 

      7 years ago

      I'm planning to lay new sod im my lawn this spring, and your instructions seem pretty straigt forward. I tried filling in bare spots with grass seed last year, but it didn't work out too well. At first the patches were great, but soon the grass began to die, and the spots were once again bare. I'll print out these instructions and reference them when I get started on the project. Hopefully I'll finally have a nice healthy looking lawn that looks as good as the neighbors!

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