Laying New Sod

Laying New Sod In 5 Easy Steps

At this point, you should have already measured out the area to see how much sod you will need to replace and marked those areas off. 

1 – Final grade the area 

It is important when laying new sod to hand grade the area where the existing turf has been removed to make a nice level area, remember to fill in any holes, remove old stumps, rocks and other site debris left over from construction or uncovered when tilling the area or removing old vegetation with a sod cutter as described in Preparing the Area when laying new sod  Also at this stage the soil level should be 1/2 to 1 inch below grade of sprinklers as well as sidewalks and other hardscapes to ensure a smooth transition between surfaces.  This final hand grading is easily done with a just a rake and a little bit of your time.

2 – Water dried out soil

Water hand graded areas to moisten the area where you will begin laying new sod. Be careful not to over water and create a soggy mess, soil should be moist but firm before proceeding to step 3. This will help your new sod to remian moist and make it easier to get it watered well when all is said and done.

3 – Begin laying sod 

 Start laying your new sod perpendicular to the slope of the ground using a straight edge of a driveway or sidewalk etc. as a starting point.

  • Create a “brick pattern” when laying your sod. Stagger the starting point on each consecutive row of sod by cutting a piece in half and laying the first piece of the second row with a half sod piece. This will ensure that you never have two rows where the edges of the sod line up. Laying sod this way helps prevent water from running through the edges of the sod out and away from the sods root zone, this is especially important on areas where the slope is greater than 5 percent.
  • Prevent gaps when laying new sod with a few easy tips…

1- Keep the sod edges together as tightly as possible without overlapping them. Sod pieces may shrink a little if allowed to dry out after installation.

2- Watering in sod frequently as you go will help keep the sun from drying out the sod you have already laid. Especially important to do if you have larger surface areas to cover and it is sunny and hot or windy outside, both things that will cause the grass blades to loose moisture at a higher rate.

Ensuring that you lay the edges of each piece of sod as close as possible to its surrounding sod pieces, in addition to watering well, will help prevent large gaps from developing between sod that may need to be filled with topsoil at a later date.

  • Take care to cut sod pieces in around sprinklers and edges of flower beds as you lay the sod. Leaving the cut in to the end of the project is fine if you take care to mark the areas with flags or ground paint so you don’t forget it later and end up with a buried sprinkler or termite treatment cap etc.

4 – If you purchase rolled sod…

 Pack down the root system on lighter and thinner sod varieties like Bermuda or Bahaia that you purchased in a large 4 or 5 ft wide strip. You will need to ensure that the new sod base has made firm contact with the soil underneath and no trapped air pockets exist.

I have seed this done several ways by different landscape firms. You can rent a water roller from a do it yourself rental place or just lay out a large piece of plywood and stomp on it to make sure everything is nice and tight underneath the board area.

Remember not all sod is created equal, sod cut into squares and heavier based sods such as St. Augustine grass do not experience many issues with air pocket problems and a simple examination of the finished sod may only show a few spots in need of tamping down.  

5 – Water your new sod!

Water your newly laid sod deeply to a depth of 6-8 inches. Our Florida heat can cause newly laid sod to dry out quickly and often it is necessary to water twice a day for the first few days to prevent your sod from drying out and “cracking” where the base of the sod dries out and shrinks up causing those trenches we talked about in step 3.)

Watering daily in North Florida is essential to getting your new lawn off to a great start. Follow these simple rules to help you get started Watering Your New Sod Lawn.

 Congratulations on your new sod lawn! 

Laying new sod yourself you managed to save a few bucks

and have one less trip to the gym!