Installing Sod - 4 Steps to a Beautiful Lawn

You have a choice when you elect to sod your lawn. You can either hire a sodding contractor or you can sod it yourself.  

Hiring a professional contractor is more economical than you might think, especially if you are sodding a larger area. Most contractors own the necessary equipment to grade larger areas and install the sod correctly. Contact us directly for recommendations regarding quality contractors in your area.

If you’re ready to dig in and tackle the job yourself, read the following basic steps to ensure efficient and successful installation.

Step 1 - Soil Preparation

For best results, rototill or spade the area to a depth of 4” to 6”, achieving this depth improves the water absorption of your lawn, decreases rain runoff into sewer systems, and improves access to nutrients for plant life. Rake and smooth the soil, removing rocks, roots and large clods.

Eliminate potential drainage problems by sloping the soil away from foundations. When you are finished the grade should be approximately 1” below sidewalks and driveways.

For longterm care, have your lawn area soil tested (Blue Grass can help with this) and amend with recommended rates, or apply 13-13-13 fertilizer at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet immediately before or after the time of sodding.

Step 2 - Ordering

Sod is measured by the “square.” One square is 100 square feet. To determine how many squares you need, measure the length and the width of the area you wish to sod; multiply the length by the width, then divide by 100. For example,

  • 20 ft. (length) x 10 ft. (width) = 200 square feet
  • 200 square feet / 100 = 2 Squares of sod

Call us at 319-842-2165 to schedule your pick-up or delivery of sod when soil preparation is completed and you are ready to install. Our sod can be ordered in either "flats" (40" x 20" pieces) for smaller jobs or for larger areas (such as fields or full yards) you can order "big rolls" which are 40" wide by 90' long (each roll cover 3 square = 300 sq/ft).  

Please call ahead (24 hour notice for pick-up or 5-7 business days for delivery) so we can have your sod cut fresh and ready to go.  

Step 3 - Installation

Install your sod within 24 hours of delivery (the sooner the better). Prompt installation and watering is critical, as the sod will be stressed from harvest. It is best to begin watering within 15 minutes of installing the first piece of sod. 

Begin installing sod along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk.  Cinch and push edges and ends of pieces against each other tightly, without stretching the piece or roll. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the seams in each row in a brick-like fashion. Use a knife to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edge because they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place sod across the slope to minimize erosion. Stake the sod with sod staples if the slope is steep.

You can see a short demonstration of laying big rolls with our Brouwer Big Roll Installer on our Other Products & Services page.

To avoid causing indentations or air pockets refrain from excessive walking or kneeling on sod while it is being installed or just after watering. After installing the turf, roll the entire area to improve sod/soil contact and remove air pockets.

Step 4 - Watering 

Your new lawn requires watering within the first 15 minutes of installation. See Establishing New Sod for much more information on watering newly installed turf.