Designing a landscape seems to be incomplete, unless you include a lawn with green turf grass. Nonetheless, starting a lawn from grass seeds requires a lot of patience and time. That's the reason, why many hobbyists prefer sod for getting a fully functional lawn within less time. Preparing a yard for sod does require specific tools and gardening basics. And remember that lawn grasses require light, well-drained soil, adequate aeration and fertile soil for healthy growth.
Why Sod is Preferred over Grass Seeds?
While starting a lawn from seed, major challenges are sowing grass seeds, inducing them to germinate and transplanting the seedlings in bare patches for ensuring uniform growth. In addition to these, the grass seeds come along with seeds of various weeds, which after sprouting compete with lawn grass for space, water and nutrients. Taking all these into consideration, maintaining a lustrous green lawn from seeds will take several years. An easy, yet expensive way to get green lawn within a short time is laying sod.
How to Prepare a Yard for Sod?
Before you place an order for sod, mark and measure the yard area, where you want to install it. You can calculate the area by multiplying the length and width values. Thus, you get a brief idea on how much sod you will need for covering your lawn. The actual steps for preparing a yard for sod depend on whether you are laying it over a spare yard or an existing old lawn. Basic steps concerning how to prepare soil and site for installing sod are described below.
Go for Soil Testing
While preparing a yard for fescue sod or other types, collect a soil sample and get the testing done in a reliable laboratory. Based on the results, you will come to know about the soil pH, drainage problems (if any), nutrient deficiency, fertility and other factors. According to these and the grass variety, you can decide the amount of organic matter and topsoil to be supplemented in soil prior to installing sod.
Get Rid of Unwanted Plants
Uproot old, unwanted plants completely from the yard. If you have stubborn turf grass like Bermuda, taking professional help will be a wise idea. Or else, a grass killer can be sprayed in correct amounts, preferably one month before laying sod. Follow the manufacturer's directions while applying the grass killer. You may require to spray it twice to get rid of Bermuda grass properly.
Tilling is a basic step in yard preparation for laying sod. To accomplish this task without major hurdles, you can make use of a rototiller (available in rent). Also, this is an excellent alternative to hiring professional serviceman for removing existing vegetation. Rototilling loosens soil to several inches of depth, and brings soil from the deeper layers to the surface.
Soil Amendment Step
As a part of preparing lawn for sodding, add ½ inch organic matter (farmyard compost, peat moss). In case of acidic soil, sprinkle dolomite lime to increase soil pH within the near neutral range. Some people prefer adding 1 inch topsoil in the yard, which is not always necessary. Following this, spread a layer of slow acting, granular lawn fertilizer which is about ½ inch thick.
Level Yard with a Rake
Using a rake, smoothen soil and level it properly. In the process, organic matter and fertilizer are mixed with the soil. If you are planning to install lawn sprinklers, you can install the same in this step. You can remove soil from elevated spots and deposit in low-lying areas. If available, use a lawn roller filled with water to smoothen the yard evenly.
Drench Soil with Water
The last step for preparing yard for sodding is, water the yard thoroughly so that the top 6 inch portion of the soil is saturated. Watering step is usually done one day prior to laying sod. This keeps the soil prepared for sodding and ensures quick rooting of the grasses. Installing sod over dry soil is not recommended, as it impairs root growth later. With this step, you are ready to lay sod in your yard.
Follow them and the chances of newly installed sod getting acclimatized to the soil are higher. You can always get the sodding project done by a professional. But, it is quite expensive and not many people can afford it. After installation of sod, water the lawn on a daily basis for the first few months to promote quick establishment of newly laid grasses.