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How to lay Sod

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Spring is here and landscaping projects are starting. One of the bigger projects we see people take on each year is laying sod in their yard. Time Equipment Rental and sales has the tools you need to complete this project and we have step-by-step instructions below on how to get you started and on your way to a lush new yard.

Test your Soil

Before spending a lot of money on sod, spend a little bit to test your soil. Laying sod is an investment and you want to make sure you’re giving it the best environment to flourish. Do-it-yourself kits can be purchased at most lawn and garden centers to give you readings on pH and most nutrients. Many county extensions will also take a soil sample and send it to a lab for more accurate and thorough testing for a small fee. Your results will give you all the information you need as well as recommendations on how to correct any deficiencies.

Prepare your soil

You’ll want to loosen the top 6 inches of soil with tiller and mix in a couple inches of compost. If your soil appears to contain a lot of clay you might also consider adding some sand to improve drainage. Till this all together and then use a spreader lay down any fertilizer.

Level your planting surface

Use a gardening rake to smooth out high spots and fill in low spots. You’ll want your finished surface to be about 1 inch below any paved surfaces you have such as a driveway, sidewalk, patio etc. Once you have a level surface lightly water your whole area, just enough to dampen the soil, otherwise you’re going to find yourself in a muddy mess in a couple hours!

Lay the first row

The first row should be laid across the longest straight edge of your yard. Unroll the first roll of sod along this straight line. Take care to keep off the sod as you roll it and rake out any footprints as you go. Once your first roll is down, smooth out any wrinkles and pat down the sod so it’s flat against the soil below it. Any air pockets could keep your sod from taking hold in your yard.

Finish laying sod

Now that you have your first straight row down you can start laying the next pieces. Make sure to butt sections of sod together without overlapping them. This will make seams less noticeable and help keep the edges from drying out and dying. Use a sod cutter to holes for sprinkler heads and trim along planting beds and paved areas as needed.


This is the make or break step of a successful sod lawn. Water the soil every day, preferably early in the morning. If you water during the heat of the day you will lose a lot of your moisture to evaporation. Try to keep foot traffic off the fresh sod for at least a week. After the first week you can start watering every other day and then twice a week by the third week. After that you can water it like any other lawn.

Mow the lawn

Once the grass reaches 3 inches you can mow it for the first time, but be careful not to cut it too short. Your new lawn is still fragile, so we recommend using a walk-behind mower for the first couple of trims rather than a heavier riding mower.

Fertilize. Again.

After about 2-4 weeks you can spread another layer of fertilizer. A good chunk of the first batch you laid down will likely have washed away with the heavy watering schedule. 

Head to Time Equipment for:

Sod Cutter



Laying sod takes time, so it may seem like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but soon it will all pay off and you’ll have the lush green yard you’ve always dreamed of. Head to Time Equipment Rental and Sales for the tools you need to get the job done right. For more information contact us or visit Time Equipment today at 311 N. Campbell in Rapid City.

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