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Laying Sod Against the Clock
By Our Lake Life on Oct 16, 2012
In the midst of our deck building project we had an unexpected but welcomed surprise in the form of some free sod. How did we happen upon free sod? Well it pays to have a relative in the construction business who was working at a job hat ordered too much. They were about to throw out almost 2 pallets full of perfectly good sod and we snagged it for free, all for just knowing someone in the right place at the right time.
Scoring the free sod was a blessing for our wallets in the long run. However, in the short term it left us scrambling to get the remaining white stones removed and a truckload of top soil brought in to frantically finish prepping. On an particularly hot and steamy Saturday morning a large truckload of topsoil arrived and we were ready to get prepping.
Sod needs to be laid as soon as possible after it’s cut. Ideally you would lay it the same day, so once we were left with the sod we knew time was ticking to get the stuff down in place and start watering. To prolong the lifespan of the sod until we were able to lay it all out we unrolled a number of pieces in the shade and continued to water it to prevent it from drying out, turning yellow and ultimately dying on us.
The guys (and Nikolas too) work hard to move stone as quickly as possible, which unfortunately still left us with a terribly rocky base. To remedy the unfriendly soil conditions we lay down around 6 inches of top soil over the entire area to be grassed and raked it out by hand so it was a smooth and even foundation.
The old stones had a reflective quality in person that blinded you, throwing a force field of heat back at you. That combined with a severe lack of shade made it feel like you were sitting on a sheet of tinfoil rather than a refreshing retreat near the lake. By just removing the stone and adding topsoil the area already looked a million times better than before despite it’s still unfinished state. Throughout the day work continued. Trimming out a few odd and ends and creating a nice edge for the sod through the walkways and gates so that everything would look nice, clean and ultimately finished. Once all the prep work was complete the sod was ready to be laid out. We were hoping and praying that it would survive despite the longer than ideal time it hand been waiting.
Although quite heavy, sod is relatively easy to lay down once all the prep work is done. You simply set it down, roll it out and stagger where the ends meet so that it’s laid out in a brick pattern. When it comes to a corner we’d lay it up to the edge and cut it around the object. Probably not how the professionals would do it but we’ve found that a long serrated bread knife works wonders for cutting through the grass and roots.
Overall most of it survived and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Over time some of the spots unfortunately did yellow on us due to the time it spent hanging out waiting to be set down. We remedied that by adding in some top soil and grass seed. By next spring you won’t even be able to tell which was sod and which was patched by us.
In the end we love the new found lushness of the space. So much better than the barrenness of the white rocks before.
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