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Sod installation seems like a simple project. Just order your materials, lay them down, and you're done. Unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple, and an error at any point in the process can lead to expensive fixes and repairs. Before you tackle a sod laying project yourself, it is a good idea to consider hiring a professional.
DIY Sod Installation
If you plan to install the sod yourself, there are some steps you must take first. After all, sod can't just be dropped on the dirt for an instant lawn. You must prepare the ground for the sod. First, remove any weeds or existing grass from the area where you plan to lay the sod. You also need to till the area and take out anything that might contribute to an uneven lawn.
Test the pH balance of the soil. Sod is definitely a quicker way to a beautiful lawn than growing it from the seed, but you still have to care for and maintain it. If the pH balance of the soil is off, your grass is more likely to become brown or patchy. If your pH balance needs to be corrected, add top soil, then wait a week and add fertilizers. Once the pH balance is where it needs to be, it is recommended that you till the area one more time. Try to complete the preparation before your sod has even been delivered, as it makes the overall process from start to finish go more smoothly and quickly.
Now that you have finished the preparation, you are ready to lay your sod. First, water the soil where you plan to lay the sod. It is recommended that you do this the day before your sod arrives and to water it every few hours until six inches of ground has been thoroughly soaked.
After you have watered the area, lay the sod in even, straight lines so that all of the edges fit together tightly. It is best to use larger pieces of sod as opposed to smaller pieces, because smaller pieces do not take root as well. If you find yourself navigating around curves, use a sharp knife to cut the sod as closely as possible.
With the sod laid, all that is left to do is press it with a lawn roller (you can rent these, so there's no need to spend the money on an outright purchase) and water the sod.
If this seems like a lot of work to you, then you may prefer to hire a professional landscaper.
Advantages to Hiring a Sod Installation Pro
There are several advantages to hiring a professional to install your sod, the most obvious of which is their experience. Hiring a reputable installer to lay your sod for you guarantees that someone with plenty of experience does the job. A professional knows how to deal with complex installations and the proper way to prepare the area before laying. He or she also has access to tools and equipment that you most likely do not, and laying sod requires a plethora of tools.
Another advantage to hiring a professional installer is that they set your lawn up to thrive. They also offer tips on what you can do to help it prosper. Since your installer has plenty of experience, he or she puts your lawn on the path to success and ensures it lives a long, healthy life. Realistically, the best way to have a gorgeous lawn is to get someone with experience to lay it for you.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Professional Sod Installer?
There are multiple factors that affect the cost to hire a professional sod installer, such as the complexity of the install and the size of the yard. What follows is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay when hiring someone to install your sod.
- Sod installation has an average cost between $0.90 and $2 per square foot, which includes labor and materials.
- For those that charge by the hour, costs average between $45 and $75 per hour for sod installation.
- If the area you are laying sod is on a steep slope, you may have to reslope it, which costs between $1,000 and $3,000.
- If an irrigation system is being added (a great way to maintain your new lawn) expect to pay between $1,800 and $3,400.
Always receive a quote before deciding on a particular installer. Any quote that you receive should include equipment and labor, as well as initial watering costs and fertilization.