Easy Steps to a Trouble-Free Sod Installation in Houston, Texas

pallet for sod installation Houston

Sod installation is an incredible option for a fast and smooth result. If you choose seeds, then you will need to wait weeks or months for seeds to germinate and establish roots.

There are many tips for laying sod, but almost none of them cover all tricks and answer immediate questions. Our expert Sod Installation team has written this article to help you understand how to lay sod yourself.

We cover everything for a trouble-free sod installation.

When is the Best Timing for Sod Installation in Houston?

Before you jump into instruction, your success with sod installation will also depend on the time you choose. Get a professional opinion about timing from a local expert. Are you laying sod in the fall? Great! You can lay sod anytime during the growing season. Spring and early autumn are best—cold temperatures combined with occasional rain help sod quickly root.

How much time do I need for Sod Installation?

Count on one weekend to fix the soil for sod and another to lay the turf. Make sure to schedule appropriately, as the sod should be arranged on the same day of delivery. The preparation begins a few weeks before you expect to put the new sod.

What is the Cost of Sod Installation?

Sod cost per roll varies between 3$ to 8$. One Roll covers 8 – 10 square feet. It can cost more if you start making mistakes and don’t prepare well before the sod installation.

So how to prepare the soil for sod so that you don’t waste money and time? The first 8 steps will be all about the preparation of the ground before laying the sod.

1. Sod Prep Work: Test, Measure, and Buy. 

Testing. So the first part is testing your soil. Soil can be tested year-round, but it’s best done in the spring or fall. For collecting a suitable sample, uses the following technique for the most accurate result dig at least 5 holes, 6 inches deep by 2 inches wide, in various spots in your yard. What do you do with the soil test results? The basic answer is if you want to increase acidity (lower pH), you will need to use sulfur. If you want to reduce acidity (increase pH), you get lime.

Measuring. Got soil results back and bought fertilizer based on those results? Great! Now before you jump into the car and run to buy the dream sod for your yard, determine the specific sod that would look best for your yard. How thick is sod? Sod thickness could be anywhere between 1 to 3 inches. The question is actually: what thickness do you need for the specific area. To determine what you need, take the following advice. You want the lawn to be level with the sidewalk. Measure the height from the bare dirt to the pavement. This measurement is the thickness of the sod that you should get. For example, if your bare yard is 2 inches lower than the sidewalk, then purchase sod that is 2 inches thick.

Buying.  How to make sure you buy enough sod? Between 10-20% of sod will go to waste. Allow at least 10 percent spare for waste. Increase this percentage up to 20 percent if you have circular objects, such as fountains, statues, and trees. Now that we have an initial understanding of what you shouldn’t forget before the hard work.

2. Start Digging, Kill Existing Weeds, Clear Debris

It’s time to start the hard work.

Do you want to ask how to lay sod over an existing lawn? That would be a bad idea. First of all, you won’t be able to fertilize the soil properly for the sod. Secondly, the sod will not get direct contact with the soil. It won’t survive. And finally, your lawn will simply rot. And please don’t try searching again how to lay sod over an existing lawn. As you will only waste time and resources, and the result will punish you.

If your old lawn just has a small, leftover, scrape it off. A flat shovel will do the trick. If you are dealing with a large area, then sod cutters are the most effective tools for the task. Don’t’ worry; You don’t need to invest in it; they are available for rent for do-it-yourselfers or from professional landscapers.

Kill existing weed and clear debris.

sod cutter for installation

Other usual questions that we can at this stage:

Can you lay sod on clay soil? Yes. Are you preparing clay soil for sod? Then add 2 inches of sand to clay-like soil to improve drainage.

Are you laying sod over weeds? Stop. There is no quick fix here. All weeds should be removed before laying new sod. Any existing imperfections can affect the ability of your new sod to thrive! So there is no way around step 2. Just do the digging and clear all the debris. Do it right, and your lawn will thank you later.

3. Compress the Ground

Once the soil is cleared from debris and weed, lightly compact it by walking over the entire area.

4. Add Topsoil 

Choosing high-quality topsoil is crucial for the sod to survive and thrive. Buy sandy loam or loamy topsoil that does not contain herbicides, rocks, or weed seeds. The topsoil should be tested for pH and nutrient levels. Advanced tip: You can mix high-quality topsoil with organic compost. It will create even more nutrient-rich conditions for new sod.

5. Till the Soil

You have added topsoil. Now you need to till the surface. The first questions that we usually get is about the equipment and the most used tool –  rototill. Do I need to rototill before placing sod? Short answer. Yes.

What is the purpose of a rototiller? A rototiller is a gas or electric-powered lawn tool that uses blades called tines to churn and break soil. Rototillers can be pushed, pulled, or driven. The most common form is the push rototiller. It is similar in size to a lawnmower.

Get the rototiller and begin to loosen the soil up to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

rototiller for sod installation Houston

6. Rake

There is no way around the 6th step too. Use the garden rake again. This time lightly drag it through the soil to create a fine till. Visually examine the entire lawn area once you’re done. Make sure that all the surface is at the same level.

7. Water the Prepared Surface

Water the surfaces 24 to 48 hours before installation. Your goal is to have moist, not soggy, soil.

8. Apply Fertilizer

You are almost there. Yes, apply it after you dug and raked the soil. Depending on your soil test results, you may have to add lime to increase the acidity level of your soil. Then you can rake the soil with fertilizer so that it mixes.

9. Lay the Sod

How to lay sod patch? Think upfront and make your life more comfortable. Start with choosing the best place to start unrolling the sod. It will minimize the amount you might have to carry. For instance, if you will be sodding your entire lawn, begin in the back and work to the front.

How to lay sod squares? Tightly bring into line the edges of the sod together. Be patient with this process. Do not overlap or leave gaps. But we all know that specific objects make this work take much longer.

For example, how to lay sod around sprinklers? 

Sod installation when you have sprinklers could be a hard task. While laying the sod, mark the places. You could use small flags. After you are done, cut out with a knife the sod so that sprinkler could pop out.

Laying sod next to concrete is another challenge. You don’t want to have sod higher than their neighboring surfaces. To achieve that, simpluy leave soil 2 inches below any cement, flagstone, walks and driveways. It will allow for the viscosity of the sod roll.

Houston sod installation next to concrete

10. Tamper the Edges of Sod

How do you tamp down sod? There are too many mistakes made too often by beginners at this stage. Hold the rake vertically. Then firmly push down on all linking edges of sod. Never use a roller for this, and don’t be tempted to stretch sod by tugging it. If you are concerned about any gaps, simply fill them with a little topsoil and tamp down.

11. Water Thoroughly

We can’t overemphasize how imperative it is to water new sod. Actually, watering during the first 48 hours is critical to the success of your sod. You went through all top 10 steps just enjoy and water it properly.

Now remember to take care of the sod.

Congratulations! You have laid sod on your own. Now the next 3-4 weeks will be critical.  Make sure you add them to your daily calendar. Otherwise, all the hard work that you put in will be lost.

There are 3 essential elements to make sure the complete care after the sod installation:

  1. You will need to limit the foot traffic on the new soil for about four weeks after installation.
  2. Water the new sod responsibly.

How much water does new sod require? In the beginning, You will have to water new sod twice per day for 20 minutes. After 2 weeks, please stop watering for 1-2 days. It will let your soil dry out a little bit.

On week 3 You may now start watering your lawn once a day for 15-20 minutes approximately.

On week 4 You may now start watering your lawn every other day or less approximately depending on the weather.

  1. Allow your lawn about three to four weeks’ growth, then feed it again with fertilizer.

As you see you can get a beautiful lawn in almost no time.

If you need help,  We are happy to help our friends and neighbors in the Houston area to professionally install sod at the most competitive prices in the area.

The best time to lay sod fluctuates slightly. Only with an expert help, you can find the best day to install new sod in your yard.

Contact the Sod Installation Experts at Silversand Services

Silversand can provide you with a free quote and advice on sod varieties for your lawn. Contact us online to set up an appointment and discuss your lawn’s unique needs.

Our Houston commercial landscaping customers trust us to create and maintain attractive, healthy properties.