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How to Install Sod

14 Tips to Install Sod Like a Pro 

Posted by Jack Warpinski on 30th Sep 2012

Create a plan

Its best to take a minute or two and create a mental plan on how you are going to install the sod. Some things to consider:

  • It's best to start in an area that is further away and work towards you; this prevents you from walking repeatedly on fresh sod that you just laid.
  • Start on a straight edge such as a fence row, sidewalk, house, or driveway. This will ensure less cutting and make the job look nicer once complete
  • If you have a steep hill, its best to lay sod across the slope as opposed to up and down. Laying the seams up and down the slope could lead to soil erosion if heavy rain is experienced in the first two weeks
  • Consider the location of sprinklers/ hoses. If the weather is hot and dry, you will need to set up sprinklers as soon as you finish an area so that it gets water. Don't wait for hours until the last pallet is installed to begin thinking about water!

Lay the sod

Finally! With the prep work complete its time to see Real Grass, Real Fast. Follow these tips to install like a pro:

  • Sod can be easily cut using almost any knife, though a utility knife or linoleum knife is best.
  • Stagger the sod in a brickwork patter (see right). This makes it much harder to see the seams for the first two weeks and makes the installation look more professional.
  • Push the seams together tightly, but do not allow them to overlap.
  • Once a roll is unrolled, just slide it into place on the soil... It is much easier than lifting!

Do I have to use a roller on sod?

No you can walk on the sod to ensure a good soil to soil contact. A roller also ensures good soil to soil contact between the sod and your soil. Air pockets are bad for new sod because they allow the sod to dry out much more quickly.

  • Use a walk behind roller or walk on sod after you install each piece
  • Go over the area twice (use different directions)
  • Do not roll or walk on the new sod excessively as it will cause compaction problems.


Watering is perhaps the most important part of the sod installation. Since sod needs time to develop its root system, watering must be frequent for the first two weeks

  • Water new sod within one hour of installing. For larger jobs, this means that you will have to set up a sprinkler in a finished area while you continue to lay sod elsewhere.
  • For the first two weeks after the 1st watering, the goal is to never allow the soil under the sod to dry out. In summer, this means watering up to 1.5" inches daily. In winter, you may only have to water once every week.
  • It is hard to over-water new sod, but if you have puddles forming you should cut back as this is too much water.