Is sod right for your yard?
Sod is the quickest way to achieve lush green grass, but it's not always the best option for every yard. We often hear, “grass used to grow here,” and there's probably a good reason why it's now dead. Things change: trees grow, there may be more shade, or maybe your dog really loves to run around in that area.
Alternatives to sod: Sometimes a landscaping option is a better fit for shady or high-traffic areas. Expanding a bed or creating a seating area or pathway could be better long-term.
What about grass seed? In Central Texas, sod is almost certainly better than seed. In most cases, seed will simply waste your time and money. The one exception to this is winter ryegrass, but it is an “annual” grass (meaning it needs to be installed in the fall and will die next time it gets hot).
Is this the right time of year to install sod? We confidently install sod year-round and get great long-term results. Each time of year has different needs and initial appearances. Sod installed in the summer needs much more water to keep it healthy, but it typically looks great in this growing season. Sod in the winter needs less water, but it will be dormant and therefore a little gray for a while. Spring and fall are somewhere in the middle. Whenever we install sod, we give our customers detailed care and watering instructions. We also often pair sod installation with irrigation services to improve the likelihood of success.
Want to find out if sod is right for you? Contact us for a free fast estimate!
How to choose the right type of sod
What kind of grass do you need? Unless you are redoing an entire section, you probably want it to match your current yard. Then you need to consider different turf requirements.
For example, Amerishade or Palmetto St. Augustine need less sun than Raleigh St. Augustine. They are all a variety of St. Augustine, but they have been grown with different solutions in mind. Some other common Central Texas sod options include Bermuda and Zoysia (each of them has several different varieties).
How to install sod
1. Prepare the area for sod
Some people or companies will not properly prepare the area before laying the sod. This is a huge mistake. You may be able to save some money in the short run, but it isn’t worth it. Many of the problems that occur in a yard (uneven, improper nutrients, excessive weeds, etc.) occur because people skip or skimp on this step.
First, you will want to remove the old turf. We use a sod cutter, but it can be done with a flat shovel. Next, you should level the area. You want to avoid holes and divots. Think about micro drainage. A low spot in the yard may catch water when it rains and be a hot spot for disease.
It's super important to put down GREAT soil. You want to choose soil rich in nutrients that will help feed the lawn for years to come. This is another step that many companies and individuals skip. You won't see the negative results right away, but they will certainly show up months or years later. We spread about one yard of top-quality “landscape soil mix” to the area before installing the sod. Visit our topdressing page for more information on soil types.
2. Purchase your sod
Where should I get the sod? If you are a DIYer then you are somewhat limited on where you can get the sod. In the spring, Home Depot will sell certain types of turf “by the piece”, but they don’t carry it year-round. We have several vendors that we use to source turf including Daniel Stone and King Ranch Turf Grass.
A pallet of sod will cover about 450 square feet, but remember that there is usually waste, and some portion of the turf will almost always need to be disregarded. So even if you have an area that is exactly 900 square feet, you still want more than just two pallets. Plan to get an extra half pallet. (Most vendors will only sell in full and half pallet quantities.)
3. Lay the Sod
When you lay the sod, make sure to place it like bricks (one seam in the middle of the piece directly next to it). And ensure your seams are tight. After several hours in the sun, it's easy to let those seams get sloppy. Stay diligent!
We recommend a “friendly” game of touch football.
How much does sod cost?
Generally, sod costs around $4.50 per square foot installed. This will all depend on the specifics of the project (location, sod type, how nice you are, etc). Contact us to get a free estimate today!