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Do-It-Yourself Sod Installation


There's nothing quite like a beautiful lawn to spruce up your outdoor living area. Installing sod allows you to enjoy a lawn of instant beauty and maturity. When planted properly and adequately watered, sodgrass will root in and establish itself within a week or so.

In the South, sod can be installed year round, however the most popular months for installation are March through September.

Below are instructions for installing a beautiful lawn using turfgrass sod.

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STEP 1 - Measuring & Ordering

Measure the area of your planned lawn. Grab a pencil and a sheet of paper. Start by measuring the length of the lawn area and write this figure down. Then measure the width of the lawn area and write this figure down. Multiply these two figures and you will have the total square footage of the lawn area. If you have multiple areas repeat the instructions above for each area and then add the square footage of each area together to determine total square feet.

If your lawn area is 100' long by 50' wide your equation would look like this: 100' x 50' = 5,000 square feet.


Measuring a Circular Lawn Area:

Multiply the length of the radius by itself. (The radius of a circle is the point from the center of the circle to the outside edge of the circle.) After multiplying the radius of a circle by itself then multiply this figure by 3.14. If the length of the radius of a circular area is 10 feet the equation to determine total square footage of the circle would look like this:

10' x 10' = 100', then 100' x 3.14 = 314 total sq ft

Make sure and schedule your order for delivery of the turf after preparatory work is completed and you are ready to install. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial to a strong beginning for your lawn.


STEP 2 - Remove Old Turf And Weeds If Necessary

Begin by spraying any and all existing weeds and grasses in the area to be sodded with a systemic weed killer such as Round-up or Hi Yield Killzall. Allow minimum of 10-14 days for good kill. If there are desirable plants nearby the lawn area be careful not let the spray hit them.


STEP 3 - Adding Ammendments And Grading

Before adding amendments to the soil, fix any existing grade problems. Although grading often requires help from a landscaping contractor with heavy equipment, minor problems can be fixed by the ambitious do-it-yourselfer. Small versions of earth-moving equipment are often available for rent.

If you have an underground sprinkler system, be sure to flag the sprinkler heads so you won't damage them during preparation and installation.

The first rule of grading is that the ground should slope away from your house in all directions so that it drops at least 2 or 3 inches for every ten feet. Sometimes this is not possible to achieve, so just make sure that the grade slopes away from your house.

The finished grade should also end up matching the level of existing fixtures, such as permanent walks and patios. Grade so that the level is one inch lower than fixtures. If you will be adding an inch of amendments, the grade should be about two inches lower than your fixtures such as your driveway and walkways. Your goal is to have the finished grade - after the sod has been planted and amendments added - even with the level of your fixtures.

When grading first focus on any problem areas; low and high spots. Make adjustments by scraping away high areas and filling in low areas. If you need to add topsoil, buy a screened topsoil that's free of debris, such as roots or stones.

After grading problems have been fixed, soil ammendments can be applied. If your soil is heavy clay, or poor quality, ammend with an inch layer of screened topsoil, sand and/or organic mixture/compost. For best results, rototill the ammendments in to a depth of 3 to 6 inches and then rake to smooth. When raking to smooth, rocks smaller than a quarter can be left but be sure to remove any large rocks, roots or other debris. Make sure that your finish grade is about an inch below the level of existing surfaces such as drives and walkways.

Before installing your sod, It's helpful to roll the prepared soil to provide a firmer base on which to work and to foster adequate soil structure. Rollers are available at your local tool and equipment rental store. Fill a lawn roller about 1/3 full of water for this job, and roll the soil until your footprints are no deeper than 1/2 inch.

Before installing sod you will want to broadcast fertilizer and pelletized lime (Centipede and St. Augustine do not require lime). The right way to proceed is to add recommended fertilizer according to the results of a soil test. To have your soil tested, send your samples to the local Cooperative Extension Service. If you choose not to do a soil test, our recommendations would be to apply a good lawn starter fertilizer at the rate recommended on the bag, and 50-100 pounds of pelletized lime per 1,000 square feet of lawn area.


STEP 3 - Order Your Sod

Now that you have finished grading the lawn area it's time to order the sod. Sod can be ordered in squares and sometimes rolls and typically comes 500 square feet to the pallet. When ordering, make sure to ask how many square feet will come to the pallet. Knowing this may help to determine where pallets will be placed for ease of installation.

If you have yet to choose a type of grass for your new lawn go to:

Choosing The Right Grass

If you live in the state of Georgia, or surrounding areas in bordering states, give us a call and we'll be happy to give you a quote: 770-573-4420


STEP 3 - Turf Installation

Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive!

Begin by installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. This first line is important, as it will help you establish the entire lawn correctly. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion as shown in the diagram below.

Use a sharp knife, machete or hatchet to trim around sprinkler heads, sidewalks, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turf pieces across the slope, instead of up or down the slope.

If installing on an especially rainy or wet day, sometimes it helps to use some strips of plywood to help you from sinking into the new soil area. As you lay an area, place some runner strips of plywood down to get to the next area.

After installing the turf, roll the entire area to reduce air pockets.

Try to install all of the sod the day it is delivered. If you have sod left over, remove it from the pallet and place in a shady spot if possible, water it lightly, and use it the next day.


STEP 4 - Watering

Give your new lawn 1 inch of water within 1/2 hour of installation. Water once daily, or more often (especially on hot and windy days), keeping turf moist until it is firmly rooted and knitted together(about 7 to 14 weeks). Once the sod has knit, it should be watered enough over the first few months to maintain a healthy growing condition. After established, weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods.

Water areas near buildings more often where reflected heat dries the turf.

Caution: During the first three weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This includes keeping your larger dogs off of the area. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with soil and insures that the turf will remain smooth.


With proper care, your new lawn will remain a great asset, providing beauty, a clean playing surface, and an improved environment.

Approximately 7 to 10 days from time of installation mow with a sharp mower. The first mow should not be attempted until sod is firmly rooted and secure in place. Generally, remove no more than 1/3 of the grass height at a mowing. Keep your mower blade sharp.

For more lawn maintenance guidelines go to: Lawn Maintenance

If you have any questions, need assistance or would like to receive a quote call one of our sales reresentatives at 770-573-4420


SOD DIRECT offers these grasses in sod form:
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