How to Lay Sod in Your Garden? – Ultimate Installation Guide

Everybody loves a perfect green lawn but replicating it in your garden becomes a challenge. From patches in your lawn to weeds infiltrating the area, the quest for perfection is a difficult one.

Getting the perfect lawn is no easy task, but the job can be made easier by using Sod instead of growing grass seeds and waiting for weeks before the grass starts growing.

What exactly is Sod, and how to lay Sod in your garden? That is a question I’ll be answering in this article, so sit back and enjoy it.

What is Sod?

As abstract as the name may sound to some, Sod is simply grass and soil held together by biodegradable materials and the grassroots.

This Sod removes the stress of growing and maintaining a lawn to an extent since the grass has been grown somewhere else. It just needs to be installed correctly for it to continue growing.

Are you wondering where you can make use of sods?

You can use them in your garden, schools, sports stadiums, and many other places.

how to lay sod

Types of Sod

When it comes to grass variety, growing from sods is quite limited as not so many varieties are grown in sods. Nevertheless, you’ll still get a sod variety that’ll suit your garden soil or climatic conditions.

Here are some of the available sod types.

1. Centipede Grass and Covington

Types of Sod

The centipede grass and Covington are coarse grass types with wider blades initially brought in from Asia in 1916. It is common in Florida and surrounding areas, and its low maintenance makes it an attractive sod choice among gardeners.

2. Bella Bluegrass

Is your soil condition not good? Or is your state having a water problem and looking to conserve water? This is the Sod for you. The Bella bluegrass is a member of the bluegrass family, which also includes the Kentucky bluegrass. The Bella bluegrass is, however, only made for Sod. Because it is a dwarf plant, it needs very minimal mowing in lesser frequency than many other varieties.

3. Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass laying

The Bermuda grass is exceptionally tolerant of foot traffic and drought. It includes two other subspecies (celebratory and discovery Bermuda grass). They come in blue-green to darker green hues. One massive advantage of getting the Bermuda grass is that it is adaptable to all climatic conditions.

Advantages of Using Sod Laying

What’s so special about Sod?

  • Using Sod will improve the air and water quality in the area
  • Saves you time as your lawn is ready a few weeks after installation.
  • It is an excellent solution in areas where planting seeds would be difficult.
  • It can prevent flooding and erosion.
  • Sods are also used in green roofs of commercial and residential buildings in some modern construction
  • It can be installed almost anytime you like. Avoid installing during extreme heat.
  • Little or no weed attack.

Disadvantages of Using Sod

While Sod is an attractive option for gardeners looking for a fast result and little effort put in, there are some limitations to using Sod.

  • It is expensive
  • Restricted choice of grass variety since only a few grass varieties are grown in sods.
  • Its short, transplanting window gives you little or no room for error.

These are some of the significant cons of using grass sods.

How to Lay Sod in 5 Easy Steps:

The task of laying Sod by yourself may sound daunting but will become a fun task once you finish reading these easy steps.

How to Lay Sod

Learning how to install your sods will save you time and money, plus it is an exciting project you’ll enjoy.

Before we jump right in, let’s see the tools and materials needed.

Tools and Material needed:

  • Sod
  • Organic matter
  • Hand trowel
  • Rototiller
  • Tape measure
  • Soil test kit

Step 1: Prepare the area.

This is an essential first step that determines how well your Sod will do after installation. This step includes taking a soil test to determine the soil properties and adjust the soil to suit the sod type you’ll be growing.

preparing area for sod

Evaluate your land and choose the best Sod for it. Does it receive full or partial sunlight? Is the land dry or soggy? All these will determine the kind of Sod to install in your garden.

Measure the area, till to a depth of 6 inches, and work in compost material to boost soil fertility. Use a rake to level the area breaking up large soil chunks and filling up low areas.

Step 2: Lay the Sod

After preparing the land, you can then lay the Sod. However, laying the Sod requires techniques to ensure the Sod grows and does not just dry and die out after installation.

First, lay the longest straight edge by unrolling the Sod making sure not to march the Sod in the process. Gently pat the Sod down to remove air pockets between the soil and Sod and make it lap on the soil better. This will increase the speed of root growth.

how to lay sod in garden

After installing the first sod roll, install others in a staggered pattern just as you would lay bricks. Make sure to keep the sod rolls close to each other but without overlapping them.

Keeping the rolls staggered and snuggled up to each other will make it look more appealing and prevent it from drying out.

Use knives to cut off edges and around sprinkler heads.

Step 3: Watering the Sod

Now that the hard part is done, you need to ensure your Sod is adequately taken care of and does not dry out.

The ideal situation is watering as soon as you’ve installed the Sod. Water lightly but consistently. Remember, the aim is to keep the soil moist, not muddy, or saturated. 

You want to water about 1 inch deep into the soil, not the Sod. You can check this by slightly lifting a small portion of the Sod. Using a soil probe to check the water level is, however, a better alternative.

how to install sod in garden

Water the Sod lightly for the first two weeks to encourage root growth, and then begin deeper, less frequent watering.

More: Here’s a comprehensive guide to setting up a sprinkler system for your Sod.

Step 4: Mow the grass.

After about ten days, when your grass is up to 3 inches tall, it is time to mow. 

Since the grass is still young, a walk-behind mower is advised instead of a riding mower as the weight of a riding mower would be too much for your young Sod.

If you do not have a mower, here’s a guide on how to rent a mower near you.

Step 5: Fertilizer application

From about four weeks after laying the Sod, it is essential to apply fertilizer to encourage proper growth. Heavy watering at the beginning washed away some nutrients from the soil that needs to be replenished. Using a starter fertilizer to the grass will help.

Sod Installation and Maintenance Tips

Here are bonus tips to help you get the lawn of your dreams from sods.

sod laying and maintenance

  • Avoid laying smaller sod pieces at the edges; instead, put them at the center as they are less likely to dry out there.
  • Install the Sod as soon as possible after it has been cut as Sod is perishable with a short lifespan after cutting.
  • Make use of a soil probe to check the water level.
  • Sods under the full sun is stronger and more disease resistant.
  • Avoid walking on the lawn for the first three weeks as it is still fragile.


Can you see how easy and fun laying your Sod can be? You can complete all these in one day, and in a few weeks, your lawn would be ready to be enjoyed with family.

What are you waiting for? Jump right in.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

Join the discussion