Buying pre-grown grass, known as sod, as opposed to sowing grass seeds, to lay in your yard can be a great shortcut to having a gorgeous lawn, but there are some steps you’ll need to take and some things you’ll need to know before laying your grass. There are some things you’ll need to know before you even purchase it.
Here are the top ten things you need to know
- Test Your Soil. You may have seen someone’s yard that recently had grass laid on it, and spotted one or more rectangular areas of brown, dead grass. In extreme cases, you may see an entire yard dead or dying. This was most likely caused by failing to prepare the soil for the sod properly or choosing the wrong sod for your soil. A simple pH test of your soil will tell you what, if any, adjustments you’ll need to make to your soil. You’ll need to do this early; these tests can take two weeks or more to return results, and then you’ll need the time to make any modifications to your soil that are required.
- Find Out How Much You Need. It can be dismaying to finish laying your new grass, only to realize that you paid for far more sod than you needed because you used your “best guess.” Just as you may measure spaces when planting seeds and seedlings, you’ll need to measure your space precisely, then order roughly five percent more sod than your measurements show that you need. This is to give you some extra to fit around curved areas and other spaces that aren’t in a straight line.
- Know Your Land. When you go to order your grass, a quality supplier will have questions for you. These aren’t asked to show off or to inconvenience you in any way. In fact, without the answers to these questions, the person selling you your sod won’t know exactly what kind of grass you need. A sod supplier will want to know how much sunlight your grass will be getting, what kind of activity the grass will see day-to-day, the hardiness zone of your land, and several other things. Consider how you might mow your grass on a slope if your land is steep. While you’re at it, you might look at which lawn mower is best for you. For example, you may go for a reel mower, a corded mower, or something entirely different. Armed with this information, the supplier can give you the exact types of grasses that will do the best job of giving you the lawn you want.
- Figure Out Where You’ll Buy Your Grass. Speaking of suppliers, do your best to find a reputable one. Check with garden centers and nurseries in your area or go straight to the source if there are any sod farms nearby. Once they have the answers they need from you, you’ll be ready to order your grass.
- Schedule Your Delivery Properly. When your grass is delivered to your property, it should be there less than 24 hours after it has been cut from the ground, and once it’s there, you’ll want to plant it the same day. Make sure the delivery is scheduled for a time when you can lay it on your lawn the same day as it’s delivered.
- Prepare Your Soil Ahead of Time. The time to lay your new sod isn’t the only thing that needs to be scheduled, because you’ll need to have your soil ready to accept the grass on delivery day. If there were any issues in the soil test that need addressing, such as adding lime or fertilizer to change the pH of your soil, that would need to be done in advance. Also, you’ll want to lay your new sod onto ground that you’ve tilled down six to eight inches. You’ll also want to mix organic matter into your soil, which will help your new grass gain a foothold more easily.
- Rake It All. Once your land is tilled, adjusted, and prepared, there’s one more step to take before delivery day. Rake your property until it’s level, which not only gives your sod a nice bed of dirt to be laid upon, the raking also loosens the soil. This will allow your new grass to take root with fewer problems.
- Grab the Hose. At least 24 hours before your grass is delivered, your newly-raked and prepared soil should be watered thoroughly. Sod needs moist soil to root in, so anywhere from one to two days before delivery, break out the hose and water it well. Make sure you can easily reach where you need to water. You want to keep everything neat in your yard so consider a garden hose reel to help you manage your hose.
- Gather Your Tools. To properly lay your new grass, you’ll need a few things. A carpet cutter does a good job of slicing sod when you need to fit it around oddly-shaped areas, as will an edger. Make sure you have both on hand if possible. Also, you’ll need to spread potting soil or topsoil over the seams where pieces of sod touch; a push broom is ideal for this job. A lawn roller is basically a hand-driven steamroller; this is used to make sure the sod is seated as close to the soil as possible.
- Plan to Keep Away. There should be very limited traffic on your new grass for at least three weeks after it’s laid on your soil. This break gives the grass time to root properly, which can be affected by foot traffic of all types. Pets and children need to be kept away from your new lawn for at least 21 days, which may mean some adjustments to your normal lifestyle that you should plan for in advance.