Laying 1 pallet of sod, which covers 500–700 square feet, requires 1–2 hours of work for a single person. This includes unloading sod from the pallet, placing it, and cutting it around flowerbeds, walkways, and trees. It does not, however, include all the preparation that must be performed before laying sod.
Yard sizes in the United States vary from 5,000 square feet to over 15,000 square feet. This means installing sod in a yard is a big job. Even a fast worker laying 500 square feet of sod per hour would have to work 10 nonstop hours to sod a 5,000 square-foot yard. When laying sod, plan on having additional help or laying sod over multiple days.
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How to Prepare Your Lawn for Sod
You can’t install sod on top of an existing lawn. It’s important to get rid of existing grass and weeds to fully prepare your yard before laying sod. Here are the important steps to prep for new sod.
- Spray a weed killer to kill weeds down to the root.
- Use a sod cutter to remove all existing grass.
- Till and level soil, adding/removing dirt as necessary. New sod should be 1 inch below the level of any paved surfaces, to facilitate water runoff.
- Repeat weed killer spray to kill any new weeds.
Preparing your lawn for sod can take several days of work and must be completed before you are ready to have new sod delivered.
Plan Before you Sod
Before you arrange for a sod delivery to your home, it’s important to know key facts about sod, so you can plan for the best installation experience.
- Sod can survive on a pallet for a maximum of 12 hours.
- It takes one person 1–1.5 hours to install 500 square feet of sod.
- Any sod ordered to your property should be installed the same day. This will allow you to begin watering the sod to ensure it survives.
Because palletized sod can dry out in 12 hours or less, it’s important to lay it quickly after delivery. If you order more sod than you can lay in a single day, it’s extremely likely any sod left on the pallet overnight will dry out and die. In order to prevent this, follow these tips for ordering sod:
- Calculate the square footage of the area to be sodded before ordering.
- Plan to order a 5% overage of sod, to account for cutting sod pieces to fit (If you are sodding a 5,000 square-foot yard, you will need 5,250 square feet of sod).
- Plan for each member of your work crew to lay 3,000–4,000 square feet of sod in an 8-hour workday.
- If the area that needs to be sodded exceeds what you can sod in a single day, plan to order sod in stages and sod over the course of multiple days.
While professionals may be able to lay upwards of 5,000 square feet of sod per day, less experienced individuals will work more slowly. Remember, the desired result is a great lawn with no cracks or messy edges. Work carefully and slowly, and make sure to use the correct tools for cutting sod.
How Long Does it Take to Lay Sod by Square Footage?
It takes one person 1–1.5 hours to lay 500 square feet of sod on fully prepared, level ground. This includes time for cutting sod to fit in specific areas, as well as properly aligning sod. Keep in mind that laying sod is only part of the job. New sod should also be rolled to get proper root contact with soil and watered to prevent drying and shrinkage.
- 500 Square Ft. of Sod: 1–1.5 hours
- 1000 Square Ft. of Sod: 2–3 hours
- 2000 Square Ft. of Sod: 4–6 hours
- 10,000 Square Ft. of Sod: 20–30 hours (requires several workers to lay in one day)
How Long Does it Take to Lay a Pallet of Sod?
The amount of sod on a single pallet differs depending on the company providing the sod. However, the square footage of sod on one pallet typically falls in a range between 500 and 700 square feet.
- 500 square-foot pallet: 1–1.5 hours
- 700 square foot pallet: 1.5–2 hours
Check with your sod provider to confirm how many square feet of sod are packed onto each of their pallets. Doing so will help you calculate the work required for each pallet.
How Much Sod Can One Person Lay in a Day?
Lawncare specialists with high-end tools and a wealth of experience can lay more than 5,000 square feet of sod in one workday. If you’re new to laying sod, don’t expect to compete with the pros. Laying sod is heavy, tiring work, and you’ll need to take breaks for water and rest.
On average, one person can lay 3,000–4,000 square feet of sod per day. Plan with these numbers in mind when ordering sod. Also, remember that new sod requires specialized rolling and watering, so it’s not as simple as laying the sod and walking away. It’s usually best to plan conservatively and leave time for essential new sod care.
Time it Takes to Lay Down Sod
On average, laying 500 square feet of sod on prepared soil requires 1–1.5 hours of work. Because sod is delivered on pallets holding 500–700 square feet of sod, prepare to spend 1–2 hours of work for each pallet of sod.
Be sure to fully prepare your yard before ordering sod, as sod should all be laid the same day it is delivered. Calculate how much sod you need and how many square feet you can lay with the members of your team. When working in large areas, it may be necessary to lay sod in stages, over multiple days.