Finally, after 15 years in our house and six major roto-tilling grass re-do’s, my soul mate finally took the plunge and went for Zoysia. No more northernly, broad-bladed, water-sucking Fescue for us, no sir.
When it was all said and done, our Zoysia sod project was relatively simple–but extremely labor-intensive. We saved nearly $1,000 by prepping the soil and laying the sod ourselves, and we certainly have a tremendous sense of satisfaction. But I’m not going to lie to you: we were whipped when we were done.
Step 1: Use a good roto-tiller to break up the soil. You need to go down at least six inches to get a really churn. (The mister did this in two installments; the first till was one Saturday, the second was the following Saturday.)
Step 2: Rake the soil to get rid of any stones or debris (pieces of bark or underlying construction leftovers, like we found), and to make the ground level.
Step 3: Spread a layer of fertilizer over the soil, then wet it down lightly so it stays in place. You don’t want a muddy bog.
Step 4: Lay the sod. This works best as a three-person gig. One person should unroll the sod; one person should stitch together the pieces (as each new piece of sod is laid, lift the edges so they fall together in a touching seam, not lapped on top of one another); and one person should have a tamper and water hose. (It took us about eight hours total, over the course of the third weekend.)
HINT: Keep the soil very wet while you work, and walk the edge seams to help seal them. Don’t water ahead of the sod, though, because a muddy bog is hard to work in, and unruly footprints mess up your even ground.