The Complete Gardener's Guide ,
Well Maintained Lawn and Flower Borders

Materials Needed

  • spade or fork
  • rake
  • hoe
  • all-purpose granular fertilizer
  • served topsoil mixed with horticultural sand
  • wooden plank
  • broom
  • garden hose
  • edger

Step 1: Prepare Soil

Remove Weeds and Prepare Soil for Sod

Two months before the turf arrives, weed the site thoroughly. Dig 4 inches of organic matter into the soil, and dig plenty of grit into heavy clay to increase drainage.

Step 2: Tread Over the Plot

Tread Over Length of Plot with Heels Down

Level the area with a rake, then keep your weight on your heels and tread over the length of your plot. Repeat at a right angle across the width.

Step 3: Apply Fertilizer

Rake Over Area to Level Soil Before Adding Sod

Rake the ground level to remove any depressions. Leave for five weeks for the soil to settle, then hoe to remove weeds. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer.

Step 4: Unroll the Turf

Roll Out Turf and Tamp Down with Rake

Carefully unroll the turf, laying whole pieces down and working out from an edge. Stand on a plank to distribute your weight, and tamp down with a rake.

Step 5: Lay Turf in Rows

Lay Turf in Rows and Stagger Joints

Continue to lay the turf in rows, and stagger the joints like a wall of bricks. This produces a much stronger structure. Use an old knife for cutting if necessary.

Step 6: Create a Tight Seam

Create Tight Seam Butting Pieces of Sod Together

Butt pieces together so they almost overlap, and press the crease down firmly with your thumbs.

Step 7: Lay Small Pieces in the Middle

Firm in Pieces of Sod with Rake Head

Don’t use small pieces of turf at the edge of the lawn; they will dry out and shrink—instead lay them in the middle of the site. Firm in well with a rake.

Step 8: Shape the Lawn's Edges

Shape Curved Lawn Edges with Help of Garden Hose

Use a garden hose or rope to mark out the curves, and then cut around your template with an edger or sharp spade.

Step 9: Blend the Turf

Use Stiff Brush to Blend Turf Together with Sand

To help adjacent pieces of turf to grow together and root firmly, brush in a blend of sieved topsoil and horticultural sand using a stiff broom.

Step 10: Water the Lawn Frequently

New Sod Should Be Well Watered During Summer

Keep the lawn well watered all summer. This is especially important during dry spells when there is a risk of shrinkage. If cracks do appear, brush in some soil.

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