How to Install Sod

Sod Installation

Install Sod Like Brickwork Staggering Each Row

  • Apply Green Valley Turf Co. 20-20-10 + Iron fertilizer to the bare ground before installing sod.
  • Install the first line of sod slabs following a sidewalk, fence or edging to keep rows straight and minimize cutting. Cut the first slab of the next line in half so you can stagger the rows like brickwork. If you are installing sod on a hill, start at the bottom. This makes it easier to pull the sod into place and get a tight fit. If the hill is steep, anchor the sod in place with wooden stakes.
  • Pull slabs tightly together making sure ends and edges are butted together tightly. Open joints let air get to the roots along the edges causing them to dry out and wilt. Also, DO NOT OVERLAP as the same results will occur. Use a knife to cut the sod around various obstacles such as beds and sidewalks. Fill in any small voids with pieces cut to fit the area. If you are working in hot weather, as soon as you have finished an area large enough to water, set a sprinkler and let it run while you are installing the next area. All sodded areas must be adequately watered as soon as possible. The dry climate of the front range can dry out new sod quickly.
  • Rolling the yard is not necessary but will help the soil to sod contact. It will also smooth out minor imperfections of the grade if rolled when the ground below the sod is a little squishy and sod has been watered. Roll with the longest seams. This can be repeated a week or two later for ultra-smooth turf areas.

Install sod like a brick pattern staggers seams

How to Install Sod

How to Install Sod Video

New Sod Watering

The key to establishing new sod is to keep it properly watered for the first month. Immediately after installing sod, water thoroughly making it spongy to the step. The new sod should be kept thoroughly wet to a depth of 4" to 6" and watered 3 to 5 times a day during the first 7 to 14 days depending on the season. Lift a corner of the sod to determine the depth of moisture. In the first week, it is very important to keep the new sod damp. During this time stay off the sod so it can take root and you do not sink in and leave depressions from your footsteps. During hot weather, sprinklers should run several times a day so the new sod never dries out. If allowed to dry out the sod will shrink, brown and can die. The roots of your new sod will penetrate the soil faster and root down sooner if properly watered. At the end of week 2, dry up the yard enough so you can mow.

The following 2 weeks are used to transition from frequent daily watering to fewer watering cycles per day and increase the number of days between watering. During week 3, start reducing watering to 1-3 times per day and skip a day between watering if new sod is not drying out. By week 4, water 1-2 times every other day. After week 4, your new yard should be ready to go 2-3 days between watering. Water your lawn in the evening, night and early morning when less evaporation occurs. To reduce run-off on hills and promote deep root growth, reduce watering times in half. One hour later, run the irrigation cycle again and apply the rest of the water. This allows the water to soak into heavy soils.

First Mowing After Sodding

Your new lawn should be mowed at the end of week 2. If your new lawn reaches over 3 1/2”, mow off a third of the length even if it has not been two weeks. Do not cut shorter than 2" for the first few times mowing. Exercise caution the first time you mow so you do not damage or pull up the sod.

Before Sodding, Plan Your Yard

Make a landscape plan taking into consideration rock, mulch, flower beds, trees, hardscapes, and fences. Plan your work so you can access sod areas easily, leaving fence panels out and gates open. Paths through beds and rock areas can be completed and filled in after sod is installed. Our forklifts need 8’ access for placing pallets of sod in your yard.

Soil Preparation

Clear areas to be sodded of rock, concrete, and debris. Spray with RoundUp® or a glyphosate product to kill any undesirable weeds or grasses and let sit 1 week. Repeat if necessary, then remove weeds by mowing, raking or scraping. Fill in any major depressions and rough grade for the desired drainage.

  • Spread 3 to 6 yards of compost per 1,000 square feet of yard.
  • If possible, rip or dig area 7” to 10” deep to break up the ground.
  • Till area 4” to 6” deep.
  • Roll, wheel pack, or water area to firm up tilled ground. Rain and snowfall will naturally settle tilled ground.
  • Good soil prep can help your yard use 20% to 40% less water.

Install Sprinkler System

A properly designed sprinkler system will conserve water, save time and money in the long run and add value to your home. Here are the benefits:

  • Apply water in a uniform, efficient manner
  • Water in the late evening, night and early morning when there is less evaporation and the water can soak in.
  • Water in multiple cycles to prevent run-off and encourage deep rooting.
  • Water when you are not at home.

Fine Grade

Fine grade the lawn area after the sprinkler system is installed with a landscape rake. Break up clods to less than 3/4”, and remove any large rocks. Soil should be 1” below patios, sidewalks, driveways and edging. The fine graded area should be smooth and clump-free. Sod will follow the contour of the ground and it is very difficult to adjust grade after the sod is installed.