One of the most advantageous features of using sod to establish your lawn is how quickly you’ll have a beautiful lawn. After all, sod gives you instant grass and an impressively green property the moment it is installed. But most homeowners aren’t sure where to buy sod.
In this article I’ll tell you everything you need to know before you buy sod, go over where to buy sod that is high quality, and give you my top tips to save money on your grass sod order.
Let’s get started!
Before You Buy Sod
There are a few important things to cover before I tell you where to buy sod, and they involve both site preparation and sod selection.
Choosing the Best Sod for Your Lot
If you already have grass on your property, you will need to make sure that you get sod with the same species of grass. At the very least, buy sod that will blend well with your existing grasses.
If you’re unsure what species of grass you already have, find out what species grow in your region and how much sun your grass generally gets. Once you’ve found those specifications, you’ll find it easier to narrow down the options and understand what kind of grass you have, and what kind of sod you ought to buy.
Some sod providers offer a service in which you can bring in a small piece of your lawn for one of their sales associates to look at. They can examine the grass and tell you what the species is. After that, they can guide you in the process of ordering sod that will match your lawn.
Preparing for Sod Delivery
When sod is ordered, it is shipped directly to your home from a sod farm. A drop-off time will be arranged, so that you can make sure that you have everything prepped for installation.
You want to install your sod within a day of arrival. This is important, as sod needs to be installed right away for best results (it should sit no more than two days on the pallet).
If there is any delay in installation, make sure that the sod is stored in a shed or garage with lots of shade. Keep it moist.
If there is any grass at all already on your lawn, you must cut this grass using the lowest setting on your lawn mower. Once that is done, get rid of any large rocks and till the soil to a depth of about six inches.
This is the time when you’ll add any soil amendments into the soil. I suggest investing in a good starter fertilizer like Bio-tone (Amazon link) which will help your new lawn’s roots grow deep. The mycorrhizae in this product work wonders for helping new plants establish themselves. I use it every time I put a new plant in the ground and can’t recommend it strongly enough.
Use a rake on the tilled soil and work your Bio-tone and other amendments into the soil. This is essential for you to smooth it and do any necessary grading for proper drainage.
When is the Best Time to Buy and Lay Sod?
The most effective time to lay down sod is in the early spring or early fall. This will give your sod the best chance to establish itself before the heat of summer. And remember to water your new lawn.
Where to Buy Sod: Your Options
If you’ve decided that you want to buy and lay sod on your property, you’ll want to know all of your options.
Is it best to buy sod online? At a box store? A local nursery? Direct from a sod farm?
Let’s get into it and answer all of your questions here.
You can buy sod through most large garden centers and box stores near you. They usually will not have sod in-stock. And if they have a pallet that has been baking in the sun for a week, take a hard pass on that. But they have relationships to local farms and can arrange delivery for you.
Wherever you buy your sod, arrange for it to be delivered to your door. And make sure you know exactly when it will arrive!
If you don’t have any grass currently on your property (new construction), you’ll have more freedom in choosing a species of grass. However, you will need to make sure you choose a species that is compatible with the climate of your region.
Consider the following before you purchase sod:
- How much sun (and shade) does my property get?
- Am I in a cool climate, or a warm climate?
- Does the property have an irrigation system?
- How much foot traffic will my lawn get?
- Is my soil heavy clay, sandy, or somewhere in between?
Some grasses grow better in shade, others in sun, and some do well in both.
Similarly, some grasses look wonderful, but can’t hold up to heavy traffic from kids or from your four-legged companion.
And if you have heavy clay soil in your yard you’ll want grass that is more disease resistant and thrives in wet soil. Sandy lots will want drought-tolerant grasses with deep roots.
Understanding where your lawn is, what your soil is like, and how your yard will be used, will help you buy the best turf for your property.
Two Ways You Can Save Money on Sod Purchases
The two primary methods of saving money on sod are:
Install the Sod Yourself
Installing sod is labor intensive. While you may want to hire it out, you can save a lot of money and cut the cost of your installation significantly if you do the installation yourself.
Do some research on what is involved in this process. Carefully consider whether laying sod is something you’d like to do.
This video from This Old House walks you through the steps to prepare your yard for a DIY sod installation:
Pick the Sod Up Yourself
If you have access to a vehicle (or vehicles) large enough to transport sod to your home, you can cut the delivery fee and save some cash. This is another option you can look into.
In most cases you’ll find the convenience of having the sod delivered is worth the price. But if you have the right vehicle, save a few bucks by skipping delivery.
Buying sod direct online will often save you some money. You’ll want to find a sod farm that’s in your area and which can cut, load, and deliver sod quickly. This ensures that it’s fresh and high quality.
At the very least, you should compare the price of sod from direct-to-consumer websites to the price you’re quoted locally.
I recommend getting your online quotes before you go to the garden center. If the local price is higher, tell them the online quote … they might match it!
Good Luck with Your New Sod Lawn
Now that you know how and where to buy sod, you can lay a beautiful new lawn in a weekend.
Just remember to water your new lawn!
For best results I recommend following Roger Cook’s watering recommendations:
- 3x daily the first week
- 2x daily the second week
- 1x daily the third week
And then resume a normal lawn watering schedule after that.
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