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Measure the area of your planned lawn. Grab a pencil and a sheet of paper. Start by measuring the length of the lawn area and write this figure down. Then measure the width of the lawn area and write this figure down. Multiply these two figures and you will have the total square footage of the lawn area. If you have multiple areas repeat the instructions above for each area and then add the square footage of each area together to determine total square feet.
If your lawn area is 100' long by 50' wide your equation would look like this: 100' x 50' = 5,000 square feet.
Measuring a Circular Lawn Area:
Multiply the length of the radius by itself. (The radius of a circle is the point from the center of the circle to the outside edge of the circle.) After multiplying the radius of a circle by itself then multiply this figure by 3.14. If the length of the radius of a circular area is 10 feet the equation to determine total square footage of the circle would look like this:
10' x 10' = 100'... then 100' x 3.14 = 314 total sq ft
NOTE: Make sure and schedule your order for delivery of the turf after preparatory work is completed and you are ready to install. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial to a strong beginning for your lawn.
Begin by spraying any and all existing weeds and grasses in the area to be sodded with a broad spectrum weed killer such as Hi Yield Killzall or Glyphosel. Allow minimum of 10-14 days for good kill.
Before adding amendments to the soil, fix any existing grade problems. Although grading often requires help from a landscaping contractor with heavy equipment, minor problems can be fixed by the ambitious do-it-yourselfer. Small versions of earth-moving equipment are often available for rent.
If you have an underground sprinkler system, be sure to flag the sprinkler heads so you won't damage them during preparation and installation.
If you're installing sod near your house, the first rule of grading is that the ground should slope away from your house in all directions so that it drops at least 2 or 3 inches for every ten feet. Sometimes this is not possible to achieve, so just make sure that the grade slopes away from your house.
The finished grade should also end up about one inch (1") below the level of existing fixtures, such as permanent walks, driveways and patios. This allows for the 1 inch or so of soil that will be on the bottom of your sod squares or rolls. If you will be adding an inch of amendments, the grade should be about two inches lower than your fixtures. Basically, your goal is to have the finished grade - after the sod has been planted and amendments added - even with the level of your fixtures.
When grading first focus on any problem areas; low and high spots. Make adjustments by scraping away high areas and filling in low areas. If you need to add topsoil, buy a screened topsoil that's free of debris, such as roots or stones.
After grading problems have been fixed, soil ammendments can be applied. If your soil is heavy clay, or poor quality, ammend with an inch layer of screened topsoil, sand and/or organic mixture/compost. For best results, rototill the ammendments in to a depth of 3 to 6 inches and then rake to smooth. When raking to smooth, rocks smaller than a quarter can be left but be sure to remove any large rocks, roots or other debris. Make sure that your finish grade is about an inch below the level of existing surfaces such as drives and walkways.
Before installing your sod, It's helpful to roll the prepared soil to provide a firmer base on which to work and to foster adequate soil structure. Rollers are available at your local tool and equipment rental store. Fill a lawn roller about 1/3 full of water for this job, and roll the soil until your footprints are no deeper than 1/2 inch.
Before installing sod you will want to broadcast fertilizer and pelletized lime (Centipede and St. Augustine do not require lime). The right way to proceed is to add recommended fertilizer according to the results of a soil test. To have your soil tested, send your samples to the local Cooperative Extension Service. If you choose not to do a soil test, our recommendations would be to apply a good lawn starter fertilizer at the rate recommended on the bag, and 50-100 pounds of pelletized lime per 1,000 square feet of lawn area.
Now that you have finished grading the lawn area it's time to order the sod. Sod can be ordered in squares, and sometimes rolls, and typically comes 500 square feet to the pallet. When ordering, make sure to ask how many square feet will come to the pallet. Knowing this may help to determine where pallets will be placed for ease of installation.
TIP: Before the sod is delivered you can mark out 500 square foot sections (20 feet x 25 feet) on the ground and put a stake in the ground where you want each pallet placed.
Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Depending on how hot the weather is, begin watering your newly sodded lawn within 30 minutes to an hour after starting installation. Turf is a living plant that requires good ground contact and moisture to survive!
Begin by installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. If your lawn is all curves just pick a point to start a straight line with the sod. This first line is important, as it will help you establish the entire lawn correctly. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion as shown in the diagram to right.
Use a sharp knife, machete, hatchet, or weed eater with a blade to trim around sprinkler heads, sidewalks, driveway edges, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turf pieces across the slope, instead of up or down the slope.
After installing the turf, roll the entire area with a sod roller to reduce air pockets.
Try to install all of the sod on the day it is delivered. If not, remove the sod from the pallet and place it in a shady spot, if possible. Then water it lightly, and use it the next day.
To keep turf moist, water once daily, or more often if necessary until it is firmly rooted and knitted together. Once the sod has knit, it should be watered enough over the first few months to maintain a healthy growing condition. After established, weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods.
With proper care, your new lawn will remain a great asset, providing beauty, a clean playing surface, and an improved environment.
Approximately 7 to 10 days from time of installation (if the sod has rooted firmly) mow with a sharp mower. Generally, remove no more than 1/3 of the grass height during a mowing. Keep your mower blade sharp.