Whether you love nothing more than spending an afternoon in your garden, or you have recently moved into a new home and you want to spruce up the backyard – sod is going to be your new best friend if you want to elevate the overall appearance of your outdoor living space.
Typically, sod is used as a convenient alternative to having to grow and maintain grass – which means that it’s a great option for those who are looking for a low-maintenance way to keep their backyard in tip-top shape.
Still, despite its benefits, sod can be pretty difficult to lay, and this is where we come in to lend a helping hand.
Just like the way it is important to make sure that we are taking care of our homes on the inside, it’s just as important to make sure that we are taking care of the outside of it, too.
In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at what sod is, what its benefits are, and how you can go ahead and lay it correctly.
So, without further ado, whenever you’re ready – just read on!
What Is Sod?
Sod is basically a type of turf grass that has been specially grown and cultivated specifically for use as landscaping material. It comes in two main forms: one being “semi-permanent” and the other being “temporary”.
Semi-permanent sod is usually laid down over existing soil, while temporary sod is typically placed directly onto topsoil.
The reason why these types exist is that they each offer different advantages and disadvantages. For example, semi-permanent sod will stay in place much better than temporary sod – but it does require some upkeep.
On the flip side, temporary sod requires very little maintenance, but it doesn’t last nearly as long as semi-permanent sod.
The key thing to remember here is that there isn’t really such a thing as a perfect solution when it comes to choosing between the two; it all depends on what you need from your lawn and what you prefer.
Why Should You Use Sod Instead Of Grass?
There are many reasons why you might choose to use sod instead of grass. One of the biggest ones is that it offers a lot lower cost than growing and maintaining real grass.
Another big benefit is that it allows you to create a completely unique design that no one else could ever replicate.
Another benefit of using sod is that it is much easier to install, especially if you don’t have any experience with gardening.
And finally, it also provides a great deal of versatility – meaning that you can easily change things around and alter the layout of your yard according to your needs.
Below, let’s take a closer look at some of the main benefits of laying a sod instead of growing grass or using an alternative material:
1. A Thicker Lawn
First things first, one of the biggest benefits of laying sod is that it is able to make your garden’s lawn appear much thicker than it would otherwise. This is partly due to the fact that it takes up less space than grass, so it creates a more dense appearance overall.
It’s also worth noting that sod is generally made out of materials that are much harder than grass, so it actually makes your lawn feel stronger and sturdier.
2. Less Maintenance
If you’re someone who likes to spend time outdoors relaxing and enjoying yourself, then you’ll probably appreciate the fact that sod doesn’t require as much work as grass does.
When it comes to mowing, trimming, and watering, you won’t find yourself having to do anything except wait for the grass to grow back.
3. More Versatility
If you want to add a new feature to your backyard, then sod is definitely going to be the way to go. With this kind of material, you simply have to lay it down and leave it alone. There’s nothing more to it than that.
4. Far Less Mowing!
One of the most obvious benefits of using sod is that you don’t need to worry about needing to mow your lawn all the time.
Not only will this mean that you won’t need to worry about going to the trouble of maintaining your lawn every month, it also means that your garden will always appear neat and tidy.
This will ensure that your home always appears pristine and in tip-top condition, while also working to boost your home’s curb appeal, too!
When it comes to how long your garden’s sod lasts, it really depends on where you live and how often you tend to water it. But the good news is that most people report that their gardens last anywhere from five to ten years before they start looking tired and worn.
6. Lower Cost
When it comes to the price of installing a garden’s sod, it’s important to note that it is usually cheaper than installing real grass.
In addition, when you factor in all of the other costs associated with maintaining a lawn (such as mowing, fertilizing, and watering), you’ll quickly discover the total amount of money you end up spending over the course of a year is significantly lower.
7. Less Irrigation Required
Another thing that you should know about sod is that it requires far less irrigation than grass does. If you’ve ever tried to keep the grass watered during the summer months, then you’ll understand why this is such a big advantage.
8. Helps To Prevent Soil Erosion
The final reason why sod is better than grass is that it helps to prevent soil erosion.
If you’re not familiar with what soil erosion is, it basically refers to the process by which soil can begin to become damaged from the inside out due to fertilizers and other external factors.
Well, due to the fact that sod is made out of materials that aren’t as susceptible to being eroded, it can help to stop this from happening.
This is also especially true simply due to the fact that when sod is installed, it is already full-matured which means that you will not need to worry about having to go to the trouble of using fertilizers (or additional chemicals).
9. Looks Great!
When it comes to landscape design, sod is a fantastic choice because it looks amazing. When you choose to install sod, you’ll notice that it takes on a natural, organic feel to it, which adds a lot of character to any area.
Plus, since it tends to blend in with the environment around it, it creates a sense of unity throughout your entire yard.
10. Easy To Care for
Another benefit of installing sod is that it’s incredibly easy to maintain. All you have to do is water it regularly, and then wait until it dries out before mowing or trimming it. This is far easier than trying to take care of traditional grass, which requires constant attention.
Another advantage of using sod is that you get a durable surface that lasts years upon years. Since it’s made up of living plants, it won’t ever die off, meaning that you don’t have to worry about replacing it every year.
Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting a new lawn option is whether or not it’s eco-friendly.
If you’ve ever looked into installing solar panels on your roof, you know that they aren’t cheap, so if you want to save money, you can always opt for something like sod.
Not only does this help reduce your carbon footprint, but it also helps protect our planet by reducing the amount of waste we produce.
Sod is also great because it works well no matter where you live. Whether you’re looking to add an outdoor space to your home or you simply want to give your backyard a makeover, sod is the way to go.
It’s versatile enough to work anywhere, and it offers a wide variety of styles and colors to match your tastes.
Last, but certainly not least, sod is cost-effective. While it may seem expensive at first glance, you’ll soon realize that it’s actually quite affordable. In fact, you can expect to pay less than $100 per square foot to install it!
That means that you could easily cover the cost of several other options, including concrete pavers, brick walkways, and even retaining walls.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Laying Sod?
While there are many advantages to choosing to lay sod over other types of surfaces, there are still some disadvantages too. Here are just a few reasons why people might consider going with another type of material instead.
The main disadvantage of laying sod is that it takes a long time to complete. Depending on how big your project is, you could be waiting months to see results. However, once you start seeing them, you’ll quickly understand why it’s worth the wait.
Another downside of laying sod is that you’ll likely end up spending more money than you would have spent on other materials. For example, if you were planning on installing concrete paver stones, you’d probably spend between $50 and $75 per square foot.
On top of that, you’d need to hire someone to install them, which will cost you extra as well.
3. Requires Special Tools
Laying sod isn’t exactly easy, especially if you haven’t done it before. You’ll need to use special tools to dig trenches and spread the soil, which makes it difficult to do yourself.
4. Difficult To Maintain
One of the biggest drawbacks of laying sod is that maintaining it can be extremely difficult. Because it’s made up of plants, it requires regular watering, fertilizing, and mowing.
This can be hard to manage, especially if you’re trying to maintain multiple areas of grass all at the same time.
5. Can Be Daunting
If you don’t have much experience working with sod, then you should definitely think twice about whether or not you want to install it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
Even though it’s relatively simple to install, there’s still plenty to learn. Plus, if you’re inexperienced, you could mess up the job and end up having to redo it.
6. Doesn’t Last Forever
Finally, while sod lasts longer than other options, it doesn’t last forever. After a certain number of years, it starts to look old and worn out. If you plan on using this surface in a high-traffic area, such as near driveways or sidewalks, it won’t hold up very well.
7. Requires Lots Of Water!
Because sod needs lots of water to thrive, you’ll need to keep it watered regularly. This means that you’ll need to invest in a sprinkler system or buy a hose to spray it down occasionally.
8. Can Take a Long Time to Root
Last but certainly not least. The final main disadvantage of installing a sod that you should be aware of is that it can take a long time to root.
This is dependent upon a variety of different factors (including the weather where you live and the time of the year) so be sure to make sure you do proper research prior to installing, to make sure that the sod will be able to thrive in the conditions where you live.
What Are The Different Types Of Sod?
Sod comes in two basic types: Fescue and Bermudagrass. These are both low-maintenance lawns that require minimal upkeep.
They also provide good traction and drainage. Alongside these two most common types of sod, there are various alternatives that aren’t as popular including Kentucky bluegrass, Augustine, zoysia, and centipede.
Let’s take a closer look at the various types of sod below:
This type of grass has been used for many years due to its durability and ease of installation. It grows slowly and provides excellent coverage. It’s ideal for large projects because it’s easy to cut without leaving any bare spots.
Bermuda grass is one of the most popular choices among homeowners. It’s fast-growing, easy to maintain, and highly resilient. It also looks great when installed properly. However, it does require some training to get right.
A centipede is an alternative option for those who prefer a more natural-looking lawn. It’s a mix of fescue and bermuda grasses. It’s considered to be a “natural” grass because it uses less fertilizer and herbicides than traditional varieties.
Kentucky Bluegrass is another alternative that’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s known for being drought resistant and easy to grow. It’s also very hardy and can withstand extreme temperatures.
Zoysia is a hybrid grass that combines the best qualities of both fescue and bergamot grasses. It‘s a great choice for people who want a lush green lawn but don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining it.
Augustin grass is a perennial grass that’s native to Australia. It’s extremely durable and can handle heavy foot traffic. It’s often recommended for sports fields and playgrounds.
What Type Should I Choose?
When choosing between different types of sod, you have to consider what your specific requirements are. For example, if you’re planning on having children over the summer months, then you may want to choose a softer type of turf such as bermuda grass.
If you’re looking for something that stands up well to wear and tear, then a firmer type of turfs like fescue or centipede would be better suited.
In terms of aesthetics, you’ll need to decide whether you want a natural-looking lawn or something that looks more formal. You could go for something in between by using a mixture of different types of grass.
If you have pets, then you’ll need to think about how much they might damage the lawn. A softer type of turf will be easier to mow around, while a firmer type of grass is likely to stand up better to scratches and bites from animals.
The Importance Of Proper Installation
There are three main factors that determine how successful your new lawn will be: soil composition, irrigation, and proper installation.
Before we talk you through how to correctly lay your sod, let’s first take into account the following factors, as they will help to ensure that you are able to enjoy professionally-laid sod – time and time again. Let’s take a look:
You should always start off with healthy soil before installing sod. Make sure that the soil is free of weeds and pests. If there are any problems, you’ll need to treat them first before laying down the sod.
Irrigating your lawn correctly is essential to getting a good result. Watering too little will cause the grass to wilt and die while watering too much will leave the ground soggy and prone to disease.
Before laying down the sod, make sure that you use the correct equipment. You’ll need a tiller, which will cut the grass into small pieces so that the blades can absorb water more efficiently. You’ll also need a roller, which will smooth out the surface of the lawn after cutting.
Finally, you’ll need a spader, which will help spread the seeds evenly across the area.
Once all these steps have been completed, you’ll need to wait until the grass has germinated before applying fertilizers or pesticides. This will ensure that the grass gets enough nutrients to thrive.
In addition, once the grass has grown strong, you’ll need to apply fertilizer to encourage growth. Fertilizer helps keep your lawn lush and green throughout the year.
After this stage, you’ll need to water your lawn regularly. This will prevent the grass from drying out during the hot summers. Finally, you’ll need to mow your lawn at least once a week. Mowing keeps the grass short and prevents it from growing too tall.
How To Lay Sod
Now that you know everything you need to know about laying sod, here’s a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to do it.
Step 1: Dig Out Your Soil
You’ll need to dig out the soil in order to create a flat base. It’s important that you remove all stones and roots because otherwise, they may cause damage to your lawn. Once you’ve dug out the soil, you’ll need to add some compost to improve its quality.
Step 2: Mix The Compost With Sand And Gravel
Next, mix together the compost with sand and gravel. This will give your lawn a firm base upon which to grow.
Step 3: Spread The Seeds
Spread the seeds onto the prepared bed. Remember to sow them in rows rather than directly on top of each other. Sowing in rows ensures that the seeds don’t touch one another, preventing competition for sunlight and nutrients.
Step 4: Roll The Grass
Roll the grass over using a roller. This will flatten the surface and allow the seeds to settle into the soil. As soon as the grass is rolled, sprinkle some fertilizer on top of it.
Step 5: Cut The Grass Into Small Pieces
Use a tiller to cut the grass into smaller pieces. This will increase the amount of surface area available for absorption.
Step 6: Spade The Ground
Next, you are going to want to spade the ground. To do this correctly, you should spade the ground to break up clumps of dirt. This will help the grass get a better hold on the soil.
Step 7: Apply A Seed Cover
Apply a seed cover to protect the seeds from birds and animals. If you’re planting annuals, you should plant them now. However, if you’re planting perennials, wait until spring when temperatures are warmer.
Step 8: Water!
Watering is essential for healthy plants. Make sure that you water your lawn thoroughly every day. Don’t let the soil dry out between applications. Wait until rainfall occurs before watering again.
As a side note, please keep in mind that the instructions we have shared with you above are general guidelines for how to install standard sod.
For the very best results, we strongly recommend that you make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sod you have purchased. That way, you will help to make sure that you do not incorrectly install the sod and end up having to re-do it.
How To Care For Your Sod After Laying It
Once you’ve laid your sod, you’ll want to take care of it properly. Here are some tips to help you do so.
Step 1: Keep It Moist
Keep your lawn moist at all times. When it dries out, it can become weak and susceptible to disease. You can use sprinklers or drip irrigation systems to ensure that your lawn stays well hydrated.
Step 2: Protect From Animals
Keep your lawn free of weeds and animals. Weeds compete with the grass for light and moisture, while animals like rabbits and deer eat the grass.
Step 3: Mow Regularly
Mowing regularly helps to prevent the growth of weeds and keeps your lawn looking neat and tidy. Be careful though, mowing too often can actually harm your lawn.
Step 4: Fertilize
Fertilizing your lawn once a month will help to promote strong root development. In addition, fertilizing will also help to boost overall health and appearance.
For the best results, we recommend that you make sure to use a fertilizer that has been specifically designed for sod as opposed to grass.
This is because sod is slightly different from traditionally grown grass, which means that standard grass fertilizer might not be appropriate for use with your sod.
Step 5: Make Sure The Roots Are Healthy
Make sure that the roots of your new sod are healthy and thriving. Look for signs such as yellowing leaves, wilting stems, and brown patches. These are all symptoms of poor root health, which means that your grass may be struggling to grow.
As you are going to be laying your sod instead of traditionally growing it, it means that the roots are going to require some time to grow into the ground that you have placed the sod on top of.
If this happens, don’t worry. Simply apply more fertilizer and continue to water your lawn regularly.
Step 6: Avoid Pests And Diseases
Pest infestation and diseases can cause your lawn to look unhealthy and damaged. The most common pests include aphids, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, flies, and snails. If you see any of these pests, contact your local pest control service immediately.
To avoid diseases, try to stay away from areas where there are lots of standing water. Also, if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as discoloration, cracking, or mold, then call your local pest control service right away.
Step 7: Water Well
Watering your lawn regularly will help to promote good root development. However, it’s important to remember that over watering can lead to problems such as rot and fungus. So, always pay attention to how much water your lawn needs.
Step 8: Use A Mulch Layer
A mulch layer adds nutrients to the soil and helps to keep weeds down. It also acts as a barrier against rainwater runoff, helping to reduce erosion.
As we have already briefly touched upon above, a layer of mulch around your lawn will not only help to increase the overall aesthetic of your backyard, but will also help to keep your sod healthy and well-kept. To recap the above, here are some benefits of mulch:
- It prevents weeds from taking hold in your yard.
- It provides nutrients to the soil.
- It reduces soil erosion.
- It improves soil drainage.
- It protects the soil from heat buildup during summer months.
- It increases air circulation.
- It makes your lawn appear healthier.
- Mulch is easy to install and inexpensive. You can purchase mulch at home improvement stores, garden centers, and nurseries.
Step 9: Apply Weed And Pest Control
Here’s another great tip that you might not have thought of. Weed control products are available in both organic and non-organic forms. While they’re both effective, organic weed control products tend to work better than their conventional counterparts.
As your sod gets accustomed to the environment and begins to root, it is going to be susceptible to various weeds.
This is something that you’re going to want to try and avoid at all costs, as weeds can have a tendency to not only spread like wildfire, but take away essential nutrients from the soil that would have otherwise been absorbed by your sod’s roots.
The same goes for common pests that can often infest garden beds. Ideally, you’re going to want to make sure that your sod contains neither.
So, what should you do? There are two types of weed control products that you can use. First, there are herbicides, which kill off unwanted plants. Second, there are pesticides, which kill off unwanted insects.
Both options are available for purchase online or at your local gardening center, and we recommend that you keep both kinds of products in your gardening toolbox to make sure that you’re always going to be able to nip any signs of weed growth or pest infiltrations immediately.
Step 10: Avoid Overwatering Your Sod
If you’ve ever noticed that your grass looks really dry after a few days of heavy rainfall, then you know just how important it is to avoid overwatering your lawn. If you do happen to get caught up in this practice, then you’ll end up with several issues, including the following:
- Your grass will become weak and brittle.
- You may find yourself having to mow more frequently.
- The grass may begin to die out.
- The grass may even start to turn brown.
- Overly wet grass can lead to an increased risk of disease and mold.
This is why it’s so important to water your lawn properly. In order to do this, you need to understand when to water your lawn. For starters, you should water your lawn every 7 to 14 days.
Additionally, you should water your grass about half an inch deep. Also, if you notice that your lawn has begun to look dry, then you should wait until the next day before watering again.
Finally, you should never let your grass go completely dry. Instead, you should water your turf whenever the ground feels slightly damp.
Step 11: Maintain Proper Soil pH Levels
Finally, we come to one of our most important tips. We mentioned earlier that your soil needs to be acidic. However, we didn’t explain exactly why this was the case. Well, here’s where things get interesting.
When it comes to maintaining proper soil pH levels, you actually have three choices. First, you can add lime to the soil. Second, you can add sulfur to the soil. Third, you can simply maintain the pH level of your soil naturally.
Let’s talk about each of these options in greater detail.
First, you can add limestone to the soil. Limestone is a type of rock that is composed of calcium carbonate. It’s also known as “calcium” when it comes to the chemical compound.
Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, and it makes up approximately 15% of the earth’s crust. That means that there’s plenty of calcium around for us to mine.
In fact, calcium is used in many different industries. For instance, it’s commonly found in toothpaste, detergents, and antacids.
Additionally, it’s also used in the production of glass, cement, and concrete. And finally, it’s also used to produce fertilizer. In other words, calcium is pretty much everywhere!
So, what does all of this mean for your garden? Well, it means that you can easily incorporate limestone into your soil by adding some to your compost pile. This way, you’ll be able to create a healthy environment for your grass.
Furthermore, you can use limestone to help increase the acidity of the soil. As a result, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time that you need to fertilize your lawn.
Second, you can add sulfur. Sulfur is another mineral that is very common on Earth. It’s made up of sodium sulfide, which is a chemical compound. Sodium sulfide is similar to sodium chloride (salt).
You might recognize sodium sulfide because it’s often added to saltwater aquariums. But did you know that it’s also used in agriculture?
For example, it’s commonly used to treat certain types of plants. Specifically, it helps them grow better and faster. Plus, it can also help prevent diseases from spreading.
In addition to this, it also helps with the growth of fruits and vegetables. In short, sulfur is a great nutrient for your garden.
Finally, you can simply maintain your soil pH level naturally. This means that you don’t necessarily need to add anything to your soil. Instead, you can simply keep track of the pH level of your water supply.
Regardless of how you choose to maintain your sod’s pH levels, make sure that you regularly check that your sod’s pH levels are optimally maintained. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your sod and having to replace it with new sod!
Hopefully, you’ve learned everything that you needed to know about laying sod. If so, then congratulations! Now, you’re ready to start planting your sod.
So, go ahead and follow the instructions that we provided above. Then, sit back and enjoy watching your yard transform before your eyes.
Remember, though, that you should always take care of your sod. Make sure that you give it enough sunlight. Also, make sure that you don’t over-water it. These two things will ensure that your sod remains strong and vibrant for years to come.
Before you click off, why don’t you save this page? That way, you will be able to come back and refresh your knowledge on how to correctly lay sod.
Thanks for reading!