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Use Sod to Keep Your Lawn on the Level

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

Most people don't consider using sod for lawn repair because sod has a reputation for being expensive. This is true if you're laying down a new lawn, but not necessarily because the cost of the sod itself is exorbitant. Sod generally costs two to four times more than seed to cover the same size area, but for a 2500 square foot lawn, you're only talking about a difference of a few hundred dollars.

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Having the sod installed, on the other hand, may cost as much as a dollar per square foot, and that assumes you already have an irrigation system. If you're using sod for relatively small repair jobs, though, the sod might cost less than a small bag of grass seed would cost you. Before going to the sod dealer, it's also worth walking your entire lawn to see if there are any other spots that could benefit from a sod fix.

Trim, Dig, and Cover

Using sod and soil to fill in a depression in your yard is mostly just a matter of filling in the hole and throwing the sod on top. You also should get rid of the existing grass first. Ideally, you would spray it a week ahead with grass killer (check the label to make sure you can seed within a few days of spraying), but you can skip this step if you're in a hurry. Use a trimmer to cut the grass down to the soil.

Next, use a shovel to break up the soil. Remove as much root matter as you can, then add fresh top soil over the top to completely fill in the depression. You want the sod to be sitting slightly above the surrounding grass, because it will settle over time. Lightly tamp down the soil, add a starter fertilizer, and then lay the sod over the top. Some of the new grass in the sod may die almost immediately. This is normal. Water your new grass thoroughly every morning for at least two weeks. If it seems to be drying out, you can lightly water in the afternoon (at least two hours before sundown). If it seems too wet, skip a day.

With just a little work and a little sod, the depression in your yard should be gone in no time.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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