When most people put in a new lawn, they start with sod. Not only is it faster than seeding, but it's also satisfying to suddenly see grass on a lot that was bare only a few hours earlier. Types of sod and the time you should lay it may vary from region to region so check with a Certified Nursery Consultant at The Home Depot to get the right type for your yard.
Sod should be installed on moist soil. If the ground is dry, water until it's moist but not wet.
Carrying sod from a central location to where it's needed is a lot of work. Sod is delivered on pallets, so when it arrives, have the sod company place the pallets around the yard, separated by the approximate amount of ground each pallet will cover. Begin laying as soon as it arrives.
Lay sod so the rows are perpendicular to the slope of the yard. Start against a straight edge, such as a driveway or sidewalk. This keeps the first row straight and makes it easier to lay subsequent rows tightly against each other.
Unroll the first piece of sod, keeping it tight against the straight edge as you go.
Unroll the second piece slightly and butt the end tightly against the end of the first without stretching either piece. Sod pieces will shrink as they dry out, leaving gaps between the strips of sod that weeds will fill. Continue laying rolls of sod in this manner until you finish the first row.
The seams between the end of one strip and the beginning of the next should be offset from row to row like brickwork. Do this by starting the second row with a partial strip — either with a piece left over from the end of the first or from a roll of sod you have cut in half.
Finish the second row then lay the remaining rows. If you have laid plywood to avoid stepping on the freshly installed sod, sod this area first so you don't displace the pieces as you work.
Use the roller to compress sod lightly and help the roots make contact with the soil. Begin watering the sod within 30 minutes of installation to further encourage rooting and to keep the sod from drying out.
Use a utility knife to trim sod to fit around trees, garden beds and other obstacles. Fitting small pieces around impediments generally doesn't work — the pieces dry out and die.
Keep the sod moist, watering up to three times daily, if necessary. Apply enough water to moisten but not soak the area. Make sure to water the lawn in the afternoon so that it dries before nightfall. Leaving grass wet overnight encourages disease.
Let the grass grow for 1 to 2 weeks to allow the roots to grow into the soil. After two weeks, stop watering for a day or two so the soil can firm up, then mow the grass to its recommended height, taking off no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. Over time decrease watering to encourage deeper root growth. Fertilize after six weeks. Although you'll mow the lawn after its second week, the lawn still isn't ready for heavy use at this point. Keep children and pets off it until after its second mowing.