Fresh Sod: 7 Easy Steps for Installation!

Laying down your farm fresh sod is only half the battle. Steps 1 & 2 should be completed before the sod arrives, as sod should be laid down as soon as possible after delivery for best results. Once you’ve prepared the area you are ready to lay down your sod! We have provided a detailed guide below on the proper way to prepare the area to be sodded as well as laying down and taking care of the sod.

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Step 1: Bare the AreaFresh Sod 7 Easy Steps OrderSodNow Grass Rolls

Your sod should be laid on bare soil. This can be achieved through 3 ways:

i, Rototill, rake the debris, level surfaces and lay sod.

ii, Rent a small sod harvester and remove the old turf to make way for the new sod.

iii, Set your mower very close to the ground. Mow and rake off debris and put down a thin, good quality topsoil before sodding. Don’t forget to sharpen your mower after this step!

Step 2: Grade SurfacesFresh Sod Rolls Grass OrderSodNow

Carefully level all surfaces that are to be sodded. Soil surfaces should be 1 inch below walkways, patios and driveways to accommodate sod thickness. A light rolling will show soil depressions or surface irregularities. These can then be leveled.

Step 3: Fertilize the Area

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Fertilizer will be used by sod over the next few days as it is watered. We suggest using turf starter fertilizer for best results. It can be applied either on the soil surface or on top of the sod after it is down. Apply fertilizer evenly and at the recommended rate. Rake in lightly. We recommend using a high phosphorous fertilizer to promote initial root growth! (Phosphorous is the middle number in the fertilizer code i.e. [10-25-10] 25 is the percentage of phosphorous)

Step 4: Lay Your Fresh Sod

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Begin laying sod as soon as possible upon delivery, especially during the summer months to avoid damage from heating. Sod that will remain stacked on a pallet for an extended period of time must be unstacked to allow air circulation. Do not water the fresh sod while it is rolled up.

Lay the first strip of sod along a straight line using string for a guide. Butt joints tightly – do not overlap edges. When laying the second strip, stagger the joints, similar to laying bricks. Use a sharp knife to cut sod to fit curves and edges.

 Step 5: Water, Water, Water

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Do not wait until the entire area is sodded before watering. As soon as a ‘sprinkler size’ area is laid, begin watering it and then go on to the next section. On hot days do not leave laid sod for more than an hour without water. On cooler days do not leave it for more than 2 hours.

Step 6: Roll Fresh Sod

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Roll your new lawn to even out the turf joints and to ensure good contact between the turf roots and soil. This also is effective in eliminating air pockets.

Step 7: Keep MoistFresh Sod OrderSodNow Grass Rolls

Keep your new sod well watered for at least 2-3 weeks. This will assist the turf edges to knit and the roots to establish.

Sod Tip: Mow your Lawn

Fresh Sod OrderSodNow Grass RollsFor best results, mow your fresh sod 7 days after installation on a 45º to the direction it was laid. Once your sod established, mow your lawn twice a week in peak seasons (May-June) and once a week for the rest of the year. We recommend mowing Kentucky Bluegrass Sod 2 ¼” tall, but no lower than 1 ½” and no taller than 3”. Always make sure your mower blades are sharp. This is key to a healthy lawn as it will help to prevent disease, and improve the aesthetic appearance!

16 Responses

  1. Mark Jansen says:

    I am looking for roughly 1000 square feet of sod for my backyard. How soon can I have this delivered to Guelph and also is Kentucky Bluegrass o=able to survive in shady areas?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Mark! Thank you for your inquiry! As far as pricing and expected delivery dates are concerned, our online ordering portal at will provide you with those details. Just input your postal code and follow the steps! Kentucky Bluegrass will survive in the shade, so long as it gets at least 3 hours of sunlight per day and proper watering. Be careful under trees though, because trees can outcompete freshly laid sod for nutrients making it difficult to establish. The combination of this nutrient competition and steady shade is deadly for sod. So keep in mind the 3 hours per day, and be weary of laying sod under trees! 🙂

  2. Joy Butler says:

    I appreciate you helping me learn more about installing fresh sod easily. It really helped when you said that we should not water the fresh sod while it is rolled up. As far as I remembered, my dad did that, so I will inform him about this so he would know it next time.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Anytime Joy! We try to provide plenty of tips and tricks for sod installation. Definitely let your dad know that watering sod while it’s rolled up can be detrimental. 🙂

  3. Balk says:

    Mowing after only 1 week sounds sketchy to me. Personally I’d wait 2 weeks, just so tou don’t accidentally turn your sod into mulch.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Balk,

      It can sound scary, but simply raise your mower to the top setting, and walk carefully. It’s also heavily dependent on conditions! If you get heavy rains on the day you planned to mow, it’s a good idea to let it dry out a bit before you mow. Mowing early can greatly improve the sod’s ability to establish.

      All the best,


  4. Garth Smith says:

    Hey Cameron,

    I have an area in my backyard that is 1/3 in a good sun area bu 2/3 under trees and has a slope. I want to sod the whole area. Is this practical or do I have no chance for the sod to survive under the canopy of trees?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Garth!

      Thanks for your comment! That is a difficult scenario to establish sod in… Most lawn grasses need 4-6 hours per day of direct sunlight to thrive. Is there any way that you can have your trees pruned back prior to trying to install sod? This will help immensely with establishment. If you have some very shady areas, could you build a garden bed there instead to fill in with a shade tolerant plant like hostas? Like I said, establishing sod in the shade is very difficult so try to plan accordingly 🙂

      I hope everything works out Garth!

      All the best,


  5. Kyle Bechtold says:

    What is the recommended height the ground should be before sod placement to keep it level if patching your lawn to existing grass?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Kyle!

      Typically there is about an inch of soil on a roll of sod, but this varies slightly depending on harvest conditions. Take at least an inch of topsoil off along with the existing grass you are replacing. You can use that same soil (as long as it is not contaminated) to level out the area if you have any depressions.

      All the best,


  6. Proper site preparation makes it easier for new grass roots to penetrate. Excellent explanation, it’s simple & focus

  7. Greg says:

    How long before I can use my yard ( lots of people walking but no hard wear and tear)?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Greg,

      At the very least, wait two weeks from the date on installation. Pay close attention to your lawn during establishment though. Consistently check a corner of your new sod, and try to gently lift it from the underlying soil slightly. If it has taken root and can’t be easily lifted, it should be prepared for some light traffic. Please bear in mind that your new lawn can be fragile for at least the first month. Try to ask your guests to be gentle while they walk if there is going to be a lot of traffic.

      All the best and enjoy your new lawn,


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