When you don’t have the time or the inclination to grow your lawn from seeds, laying sod is the answer. It’s a more expensive, but quick solution for those of you who are used to instant gratification.
Follow the step-by-step instructions below and you can have a brand new lawn in no time. Just as a solid foundation is critical for a house, so is taking the time to prepare your soil properly to ensure your new turf will be lush, green and healthy. And this is the first part of installing new sod.
Step 1: Remove the Old Turf
To remove the old turf, you’ll need a sod cutter. For a small area, you can buy a Manual Kick-Type Sod Cutter/Edger. For a whole lawn, you can rent a gas powered sod cutter from your local hardware or equipment rental store.
Step 2: Test the Soil’s pH Level
The best soil environment for new sod is one that’s slightly acidic with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. To find out your soil’s pH level, you can get a Soil Test Kit.
Step 3: Loosen the Soil
Use a rotary tiller to loosen up the soil. Why? Because the soil needs to be well-aerated so air and water can move freely allowing nutrients to reach the plant roots. Loosen about 6-8 inches of the soil and then add a couple of inches of compost on top. If you live in an area with thick clay soil that causes drainage problems, it’s a good idea to spread 2-3″ of sand. This will help with the drainage.
Step 4: Correct the Soil’s pH Level
Based on the test result of your soil’s pH level, you can bring it to the proper level by tilling in either Garden Lime (if pH level is low/soil is too acidic) or Garden Sulfur (if pH level is high/soil is too alkaline).
Step 5: Add Starter Fertilizer
Spread Starter Fertilizer over the soil.
Step 6: Level the Soil Surface
The final step in soil preparation is to make sure your soil surface is level. An otherwise great turf will not look good if it’s not leveled. Use a Steel Garden Rake to level out the surface and fill in the low spots where necessary. Then, you’ll want to dampen the soil with a little bit of water.
Steps 7-11 continued: How to Lay Sod: Step-by-Step Instructions Part 2