How to Install a Near Perfect Sod Job. Part one

21 steps to a perfect sod job

For Part Two of this article, Click here

Laying sod properly is almost an art form. Some people merely throw the sod at the ground and stomp on it but like any other job worth doing, time, care, and patience pay off.  When my client purchased the house, this bed had been planted with a collection of perennial vines and had become weed-eaten and completely unmanageable. We decided that a clean installation of Zoysia sod would be the answer.

So we chopped everything down with a weed eater, raked it clean, and sprayed with a weed killer. We watched the area for a few months to make sure all of the weeds and vines had been eradicated. Finally, the site was ready.

The first step in preparing for a sod job is to remove all unwanted vegetation

The site has been cleared of any vegetation that would compete with the sod

One of my favorite tools is my “paint gun.” I used it to very carefully mark the sod borders, sprinkler heads, and anything else I didn’t want to mess up. After marking the borders, we measured for the sod and ordered it.

Sod borders marked for the job

I love using my paint gun to mark areas of consideration in a landscaping job

We must be sure to find and mark all sprinkler heads.  It is much easier than to repair them later.

Sprinkler heads are easily damaged. Be careful

Mark anything that may be broken or damaged by a tiller or other equipment

We run a tiller over the area lightly, cutting down no more than 2-3 inches. The tiller is run in a manner that will pulverize the top of the soil.

Use the tiller to lightly pulverize the top 2-3 inches of the soil

Use the tiller to lightly pulverize the top 2-3 inches of the soil

When finished with the tiller, a yard rake is used to smooth out any hills and valleys. This is the first raking.

using a rake to prepare for a sod installation

The rake is one of the most important tools on the job.

After getting the tilled area reasonably smooth, we run a water filled roller over the site. The roller will show high and low spots which may then be raked over and then rolled again. Time and care spent on this job will pay off in the finished job. I try to get the area as smooth as the top of a pool table.

Using a water filled roller to prepare a site for sod

A water filled sod roller is run over the soil to pack it as well as to show high and low spots.

It is important to raise and adjust any sprinkler heads. The top of the head should be 3/4 of an inch above the finished soil surface. Pack the soil firmly when finished

Adjust sprinklers to the correct height before laying sod

Adjust sprinklers to the correct height before laying sod

I had measured the area to be sodded and came up with a little over 1200 square feet. I like to purchase Zoysia sod cut in sections of about one by two feet. These are delivered on pallets which hold 450 square feet of grass. So I needed three pallets. I can always find something to do with the left overs.  The guy from the sod farm is always nice about placing the pallets as close to the actual work site as possible.

sod delivery on site

The sod delivery man uses a ‘spider’ to place the pallets of sod for convenience.

Now it’s time to start putting the sod on the ground. Unless you’re a masochist this is at least a two man job.

hauling sod pieces in a wheelbarrow

I like to have one person hauling, one on his knees laying and fitting, and one more (me) taking care of the details.

I’ll be back with part two next week. The job turns out really nice.

For Part Two of this article, Click here

Thanks for visiting John The Plant Man.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?


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  1. Trackback: How to Install a Near Perfect Sod Job– Part Two | Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.

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