Preparing Your Yard For New Sod

Having a lush, green lawn is the aspiration of many homeowners. Unfortunately, the options available to you when it comes to achieving this goal are relatively limited. Sod offers a convenient means of creating the thick carpet of grass you're after, but it requires a bit of preparation in order to ensure success. By familiarizing yourself with the necessary accommodations your new sod will need, you'll have all the information you need to be able to install and cultivate it into a lawn you'll love.

Out With the Old

It's easy to believe that sod can be installed like carpet and simply rolled out on top of your existing grass. Unfortunately, grass roots require direct contact with the soil so that they can draw up moisture and nutrients. This means that your first step will need to be removing your old lawn using a sod-cutter. These can be rented from most home and garden centers, though rates will vary.

Once the old sod is removed, you'll want to spend some time looking over the dirt left behind to see if there is any detritus left behind. Old lawns accumulate all manner of small objects, from toys to coins and even the occasional piece of jewelry. Clear all this away and make sure the ground is moistened once you're done to make sure it's ready for what is to come.

In With the New

Even with bare dirt left behind, you still have work to do before you can lay your sod and begin tending it. Chances are that when your old lawn was removed, you also took a considerable portion of the topsoil along with it, so make sure you replace it. Most garden centers sell topsoil in 3 cubic foot bags, but you can save money by having it delivered in a truck load. You'll need to invest some time and labor in spreading this evenly over your yard, but it can cut your costs considerably.

Once you've laid a new layer of topsoil down, you can start installing your sod. Make sure it's lined up as evenly as possible, so as to avoid bare patches or gaps between sections. It may take several weeks before it fully takes root in your yard, so make sure to water it regularly, but be careful to avoid over-watering. Too much water will cause run-off, and will erode the topsoil you just spent so much time and money on.

Buying and installing sod is more expensive than laying down your own seed, but it's also more convenient and much faster. For most homeowners, this alone is worth the added expense. Experts like those at the California Sod Center can help you further.