Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) basic steps to having a beautiful lawn.
Step One: Measuring and Ordering
Measure the area of your planned lawn. Include these measurements on a sketch of the lawn area, with the length, width, and any unusual features. Schedule your order for delivery of turf after preparatory work is completed and you are ready to install. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial to a strong beginning for your lawn. The site should be 100% ready when the sod is delivered.
Step Three: Turf Installation
Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 20 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive!
In hot weather, protect unlaid turf by placing stacks in shade, covering with moist burlap sacking, and/or sprinkling.
Begin installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture.
To avoid causing indentations or air pockets avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the turf while it is being installed or just after watering.
After installing the turf, roll the entire area to improve turf/soil contact and remove air pockets.
Step Two: Soil Preparation
For best result, rototill or spade the area to a depth of 10 to 15 cm. (4 to 6 in.). Eliminate drainage problems by having soil slope away from foundations, etc.
Have your soil tested. You can have this done through your State Extension Service. You will see a listing of State Extension Services at the end of this section. Then rake in fertilizer, lime, peat, compost, etc. as needed to a depth of 7 to 10 cm. (3 to 4 in.). Rake and smooth the soil removing rocks, roots, and large clods. Roll the area lightly with a lawn roller 1/3 full of water. This will firm the soil surface and reveal low areas that need more soil. Keep the grade 2 to 3 cm. (1 in.) below sidewalks or driveway.
Water the prepared area to settle soil and provide a moist base for turf. Moistening to a depth of 15 cm. (6 in.) is recommended for most soils. However, consult with your local garden center regarding your specific soil needs.
Step Four: Watering
Water 2-3 times per day for the first 5-7 days in hot or dry weather. We recommend watering 2-3 times per day the first week and every day to every other day the next two weeks. Your watering schedule should be adjusted according to the weather. How much water your lawn needs is directly affected by the weather, what type of soil you have and the amount of sun exposure.
Weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods. Water areas near buildings more often where reflected heat dries the turf.
During first three weeks avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with soil and insures that the turf will remain smooth.
Your new sod lawn increases your property value significantly. With proper care, it will remain a great asset, providing beauty, a clean playing surface, and an improved environment.
Weed and chemical applications are generally not needed on a new sod installation. Another of the benefits of turfgrass sod is that weeds and disease are not an issue.
Consult with your local Extension Service Agent or garden center regarding fertilizer and maintenance requirements for your area.
To Contact Soil Testing Services, look for your State Extension Service:
New Hampshire: http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/AGPDTS/SoilTest.htm