How to Install Sod for a Perfect Lawn

Grass is an established layer of grass that is dug up with roots and some soil still attached. Grass farms harvest it in long strips and roll it up, with the soil facing out. You should always buy grass that can be harvested and delivered the same day you will install it in your garden. Learn how to place grass in your garden to get a green lawn quickly.

Turf installation is a gardening project that you can do yourself. Putting grass on grass is also much faster than growing one from grass seed. Then it's time to buy your lawn. Depending on where you live, you can order it at a garden center or directly at a grass farm.

It will usually be a mix of two or three lawns, chosen for their optimal color, texture, and flavor (be sure to let your supplier know if your garden is in partial or full shade). Ideally, the grass should be delivered within 24 hours after mowing and placed on the same day. Measure your garden carefully so that you can order the right amount, with a little more (about 5 percent) to account for cuts in curves. Sod comes from turf farm field operations specifically designed to grow healthy, weed-free grass for homeowners and farmers.

When you call your local grass farm and ask for grass, grass growers cut it out of the ground into thick sheets that include underlying roots and soil. Then, they deliver it directly to your home. Local garden centers are convenient and typically offer the most common varieties in your area, but buying directly from a turf farm can give you more options and experience in types of grass. Chances are, wherever you live, there's a grass farm relatively close by that grows the best types of grass for your climate.

Because of this, professional turf installation services recommend that you buy 5% more grass than you expect to need for the project. If you have a 15,000 square foot lawn, you'll need extra hands to clean the area in a timely manner before the grass dries out. Grass (also known as turf) is mature, pre-cultivated grass that has been cultivated for 10 to 24 months under ideal growing conditions. Existing grass will decay underneath the grass and will heat up during the process, killing the grass roots.

Call your local lawn farm or garden center a few days in advance to check that they have your type of grass. Laying grass requires planning and preparation at least a month in advance, and if you are going to cover all the grass, it will most likely be a project that will last all day or several days. Keep the grass moist by watering it daily in the morning (or several times a day during dry periods) for the first 10 to 14 days after installation, until the grass has taken root. With the grass placed next to the curve, take a couple of dots along an edge and put them together so that the grass follows the contours of the bed.

Buy 5% to 10% more grass than you think your lawn needs to take into account the small pieces of grass that you will cut from the edges and corners and cannot be used in other areas. Stagger each new row of grass and repeat the process, using a sharp knife to cut grass around edges, curves and obstacles, such as sprinkler heads. Fortunately, there are several online turf calculation apps that can help you determine how much grass you'll need to purchase. Once the new grass is fully installed, pick up the grass roller again and twist it gently over the grass to ensure an even, smooth surface (without bumps or air pockets) and strong contact between the grass and the ground.

Even so, you'll need to keep in mind that there are other costs associated with installing sod that you can do yourself, besides buying the sod itself.

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