Handyman Wednesday: How to Lay Sod

Hi everyone! If this is your first time here, my name is Kevin and I’m the husband around here.  I’ve created a little series inside our regular posts called “Handyman Wednesday” that shows you how to do handyman things that I’ve encountered that week.  Today, that encounter is laying sod.

Here’s the disclaimer: laying sod will make you sore.  Very sore.  Very VERY sore.  Remember to stretch!

Step 1: Get Sod Delivered.  Don’t pick it up unless it’s a small quantity.  Have a semi and fork truck put it exactly where you want and you’ll save your back a lot of pain.  Cost: $70

Sod Semi Truck

Sod Semi Truck

Most sod companies in Dallas cut the sod the night before from a warmer area then have it over-nighted into the city and delivered at 10AM the next day.  This way the sod is fresh and more likely to survive.

Pallets of Sod Delivered

Pallets of Sod Delivered

Three pallets is a lot of sod.  Don’t fool yourself.  It took Jess and I about 5 man-hours of labor per pallet!

Step 2: Put sod in wheelbarrow.  Don’t stack more than 7 or 8 high. I put 14 on an early wheelbarrow and tipped it over!

No more than 7 or 8 peices!

No more than 7 or 8 peices!

Step 3: Find your favorite corner for each partition of yard.  You want to start laying sod in a corner to minimize the amount of cuts you need to make.  We chose the corner of the sidewalk and the corner by the garage.

First pieces of sod put down

First pieces of sod put down

Step 4: Lay the sod in a brick pattern.  This means the joints of rows should never line up.  See the picture for a better description.

Lay the second row in a "brick" pattern

Lay the second row in a “brick” pattern

Step 5:  Make sure all seams are as tight as possible! It’s ok to step on the seams to insure the pieces lay flat on the ground.  Then, continue to build out the pattern.

Sod in the back

Sod time lapse 1

Sod time lapse 2

Sod time lapse 3

Ok, everything I’ve shown so far has got me through 1 pallet of 3.  A pallet of sod should be 50 square yards (450 square feet).  I think ours were closer to 60 sq yds.

Dum, Dum, Dum...Another one bites the dust!

Dum, Dum, Dum…Another one bites the dust!

Now, you’ll need a break.  Drink some water.  stretch again.  Get ready for Pallet 2!

Final Step: Cut the sod to fill in the holes.  You’ll have a lot of gaps from laying the brick pattern down, going around curved surfaces, and needing to cut around sprinkler heads (hopefully).  We just used a regular shovel for this task.  The lines don’t come out perfect, but they’re pretty close.  The pro’s use a machete.  If you have a machete I’m a little worried about you, but you finally have a use for it!  (You could probably also use one of those ninja swords your husband got at a street fair 15 years ago but refuses to throw away… it’s possible!)

sprinkler head in sod



Hopefully, you’re done!  If you have an entire pallet left like us, take it to your front yard or sell it to coworkers (we did both).  The dirt showing in the pictures above are future flower beds (Jess is excited about these).  That will be another post in a month or so once warm weather hits Dallas (It’s ONLY 60 degrees today…brrr).

Here are some pictures of the final product.  You must remember to WATER THOROUGHLY for the first 2 weeks.  The first couple days, over-water.  I mean it.  A sprinkler for 30 minutes isn’t too much water.  After that, you can cut it back to about 15 minutes, twice a day (morning and evening).

Little House Big Heart Grass

Little House Big Heart Sod Flagstone Landing

Little House Big Heart Sod

Have you ever laid sod?  Have you ever killed sod?  Do the lines in the yard bug you from the sod?  Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic wins lottery”?  Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips?


9 thoughts on “Handyman Wednesday: How to Lay Sod

    • The instant gratification was great! Sod is much more expensive than seed though.

      If we could have seeded this variety of grass we probably would have. Unfortunately, this type of grass (St. Augustine) cannot be grown from seed even though it’s really the only grass that can take the heat and drought down here.

  1. Love the yard, seriously. My parents have a tiny yard but it’s always in terrible shape so I’ve never really enjoyed it. When we looked at floorplans of our apartment we initially thought we’d have a yard instead of a tiled patio but when they told us it was tiled, we were fine with it because we have terrible black thumbs/thought it would be less work… now I’m jealous!!

    • Thanks, Ainhoa!

      I grew up on a small farm in Indiana, so having greenspace was a top priority when we were looking for homes. It’s taken us two years, but we’re so glad to finally have a functional space!

  2. SO SO SO excited for you!! We tried to seed our front yard last year and were met with a resounding womp-womp. It was patchier than a 16-year old trying to pass off his peach fuzz as facial hair. If/when we need to put grass in a yard again, it’s definitely going to be sod first, then seed in areas that show distress.

  3. Pingback: Operation Finish the Deck | Little House. Big Heart.

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