Before installing the sod and enjoying your new lawn, you have to take care of some important factors. Aside choosing the appropriate grass, you have to prepare your soil. Typically, preparing the lawn is the most laborious task in this process and is essential. There's no time for preparation work once your sod is on location. It has to be put down immediately or it will heat up and rot. These are some important steps to be made in the soil preparation:
- Get rid of any existing weeds and grasses and use an herbicide that doesn’t leave a toxic residue.
- Water the ground to loosen up the soil.
- Make the area ready for cultivation, clearing it of rocks and other types of useless debris like pebbles or sticks. Even small objects can be noticeable as bumps if left under new sod grass. All you need are a couple of shovels (regular and flat), a wheel barrow (for collecting rocks), and a sturdy rake.
- Test the soil to determine its pH and to check the exact requirements for lime and fertilizer.
- In case the soil needs it so as to change its composition and texture, apply some organic amendments and topsoil. These amendments should be spread evenly over the area and incorporated into the top 4-8 in (102-203 mm) of soil by disking, harrowing, or other means. If topsoil is applied, follow specifications associated with best management practices.
- Spread the fertilizer and till the area for the second time. This is usually done a week after the first tilling to allow for decomposition. Also, you can install in this period the sprinkler systems, the sidewalks and other patio surfaces.
- Start obtaining the finish grade by raking and dragging the lawn area smooth prior to planting. Make sure all larger pebbles, rocks, sticks and other debris are removed from the lawn and fill or level low spots in order to avoid the accumulation of standing water. Rake or harrow the site to achieve a smooth and level final grade
- Now you are ready to install your sod!