Backyard Sod Installation: Day 1

Originally, we had ordered sod from Central Sod Farms. But on Monday, we got a call letting us know that our particular type of sod wasn’t really available. The quality, apparently, was not good enough (and ripping).

We were wanting Black Beauty Tall Fescue sod, which is does well in shade, and is a little more drought-resistant versus Kentucky Bluegrass. After some scrambling, we ended up finding another seller through H&E Sod – able to delivery to us within the week, on short notice!

We ended up changing vendors. And though we ended up paying a little more ($0.50 per roll, versus $0.35), we felt it was worth it.

It was tricky figuring out the delivery schedule, as most sod farms do their cutting early (4AM or so) in the morning. And then it depends on delivery routes, as to whether you will get your sod that morning, or later in the day.

With both vendors, I could tell them my preferred times… but I always got a “we’ll let you know, later on in the week” when they could deliver. Since we were juggling 2 days of work clearing the backyard, this got a little tricky.

But luckily, we were able to land a 7AM delivery on Saturday… which ensure that the sod would not be in the way of the landscapers. And would arrive early enough, for us to get a full day’s worth of work in.

I counted on the delivery being late, because who shows up at exactly 7AM? This guy was right on the nose.

Watching this forklift spin around (it has one back wheel, that lets it make some impressively small/tight turns) – I was in awe of the skill needed to move thins thing around.

Unfortunately, the forklift was bigger than a bobcat… and couldn’t make it down the driveway. So he left all four palettes of our sod near the front. We kind of knew this might happen, so it just means more transport and moving around for us.

In back, getting some hose ready for the water. And some extension cords to get a chainsaw out to those roots.

That is… a lot of sod. All day long, I had a craving for Ho-Ho’s.

I posted a few photos online, and my favorite comment I got was from James, who said “Kneel before sod!”

Lining up some tools, getting ready to get to work.

Liz, spreading around some fertilizer.

Liz, putting down the first piece!

One and done! Er… wait, we have a few more.

The early pieces were super water logged, and super heavy. I packed up several rolls into a wheelbarrow, and carted them over to Liz, and set them down. Then, she adjusted them as needed, and eased the seams.

Moving the pieces ended up being a big strain for her, and we eventually settled on a system where I was helping to set down each piece, and helped position it… whlie Liz ensured it fit well with the adjoining pieces.

From here on out, I kept my phone out of my pockets and on the back porch. I’d stop for some water, and would snap a photo every 45 minutes or so.

I ended up getting absolutely filthy (as one does, when hugging multiple rolls of grass and mud). So keeping my phone away from my person kept it clean (and safe).

Our neighbor Andrew, who was kind enough to also go in on the backyard work and the sod with us. I offered the wheelbarrow to him, but he started hauling each piece back here, one by one, by himself. He was a machine, and I feel like he got more put down faster than we did!

Another few rows down. While I was getting more sod, Liz used the hose to wet down some trouble areas, and tried to rake the space clean.

And a little more. That dark patch is where we found a super large stone, buried in the yard… and had to dig that sucker out (and fill it back up).

At this point, we broke out the sprinkler and started to leave the water running. We had heard sod needs a great deal of water the first day, and that you should start watering sod an hour after you lay it down.

Technically, the ground should be squishy when you step – and as we progressed, we moved the sprinkler along with us.

I do have to say – by this time, Liz and I had gotten into a pretty good rhythm, and were able to move at a decent clip. It wasn’t lightning speed, but it was markedly faster than our first rows at the start. It wasn’t fast, but it was constant – and felt really nice.

First palette down!

More rows – we finally got to a point where we were meeting up with Andrew’s yard.

Moving the sprinkler around…

Liz, pulling the sprinkler over to Andrew’s yard.

A view of Andrew’s backyard. Most of this was done by him, but his son showed up towards the end and helped out.

Here’s where we had to stop for the day. I was excited we got this far, and a little bummed that we couldn’t keep working.

But we had dinner plans with Liz’s family for Father’s Day, and had to drive over to Indiana. So we had to call things a little early (around 1:30 PM).

The original plan had us taking Friday off from work, and spending the whole day putting the sod down. But the weather worked against us, and pushed everything back a day – so Saturday was our only option.

When we stopped for the day, we had to go back to the palettes in front and separate one of the full ones… effectively cutting it in half, allowing the sod to “breathe” a little more. I could feel some of the inner pieces were actually quite warm, and so our hope was that we could cool things off a little bit, if we took off a few layers.

Liz and I spent about 30 minutes relocating several pieces, and got a small pile near the backyard for when we start again tomorrow.

There’s some rain right now, as I’m typing this… which I’m hoping isn’t going to be too problematic for the sod. But there’s really nothing we can do about it now, at this point.

Tomorrow, the weather looks good – and with an early start, we should be able to knock out the remaining space in pretty short order. It’s really shaping up, but it’s really going to be something else once the last piece is put down. Can’t wait.

Clearing the Wilderness: Backyard Transformation, Day 2
Clearing the Wilderness: Backyard Transformation, Day 1
Yardwork, and the Slow Realization That It’s Going to Take a Really, Really Long Time
Backyard Tree Removal: Before and After Photos

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