Correct Order of Installing New Lawn/Sod

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by agallant, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. agallant

    agallant LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1


    I am a first time homebuyer and tring to figure out the correct order to preparing my new front yard.

    Step 1, I have removed all of the old shrubs, bushes, irrigation, etc

    Now, here comes the hard part. Do I now come in and do the rototilling along with ammendments?

    Then do the trenching?

    I am confused on whether trenching or rototilling comes first. It would seem to rototill first would make trenching easier but now you have added more soil to trench through? Right?

    Also, how do the trenching lines not "fill-in" with soil when the soil is so loose and not compacted?

    Any help would be appreciated!


    VWBOBD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    I would definitly till first, id get it loose to at least 10 inches, amend as needed, then id use a puller to pull pipe if possible, if not available id trench .
    after plumbing your system, fill your trench 1/2 way and then fill them with water, let stand a day or two then fill 1/2 way and water again, after a day or so id top them off with soil. This sounds crazy but i gaurentee if you do this you will have no settleing problems down the road.
  3. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    Till first, you dont want to till into your irrigation lines. Till to 6 inches and amend then till in amend.

    Not sure how large of a yard you have but if you plan on using more than 250 linear feet of pipe rent a self propelled trencher and lay your pipe.
  4. KauffmanL&L

    KauffmanL&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    after installing your irrigation system if you're going to install your own sod and have the time to spend with installation use a lil pattern i use..Run sod along your sidewalks and driveway parallel and then run your sod parallel with your street. Also if you use small rolls (hand rolls) make sure to weave it together. Dont layout 2 rolls the same length. If you put down on roll and lay your next roll down and it rolls out the same (which it should) cut 3-6in. off and lay it after your first your yard is establish it will look increadible. I install sod and hyrodseed and when i was taught laying sod that's how i was taught and my yards have turned out great.. if you need anymore advice or if i lost you,which i can do, just let me know! Good luck
  5. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    another good idea is , while installing your irrigation lines only stub them up and mark with a flag. you will want to put your sod down first so you dont chance breaking any heads off .then put the heads on .
  6. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    I believe that most of the areas in Vallejo are heavy clay soils. If this is the case for your yard, you do not want to till to 8" depth or you will never get that yard flat again. What you should do is take a soil sample to your local garden center and have them analyze it for you. If they recommend an ammendment, they will most likely recommend that you till it to a depth of 3 inches. Follow their directions because they know your area's requirements best. There is no absolute right order to tilling and trenching, but I find that the best order for us is to rough grade, trench and backfill, till in ammendments, finish grade and then set sprinkler heads to grade (remember that sod will add 1/2"-3/4" above the soil). Do not forget to jet the trenches and compact them as was mentioned in a previous response. If you till in your ammendments prior to trenching, you will be mixing the soil from the trench with the ammended soil and in all of the areas around the trenches you will have less ammendment near the turf's roots (probably not a big deal, but that is not what you are spending the money for).
    If getting the lawn really flat is important to you (and I think it should be), you may consider some sand in your ammendment, as well as watering the ground heavily after grading and allowing to dry. Then you will need to re-grade the area. The more compacted and flat you get the subgrade prior to laying the sod, the flatter the lawn will be. Many people believe that the sod needs to be layed on tilled soil in order to take root, this is simply not true. The last step is to call Delta Bluegrass and get their Bolero Plus sod, check it out it is gorgeous.
    I'm sure that others may have a different approach that may work well also, but I can tell you that it works for us and we put down a lot of sod for some very demanding customers. The bottom line is you need to get the grade right because the sod will only turn out as good as the prep you do.

    Good luck!

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