How We Planted Our Own Sod, Frugally

When my husband and I bought our house in 2012 we weren’t thrilled with the all dirt and rock backyard. After all we have 3 kids and 3 dogs, so playing back there was pretty difficult.

Last fall in 2014 we decided to plant 800 sq feet of sod. This was roughly 1/4 of our total yard space. Seeing how we live here in the desert planting a ton would have not exactly been in our best interest, so we decided on a space big enough to make everyone including the dogs happy.

Hiring a landscaping company to do the manual labor was out. I decided a couple shovels and a wheel barrel was the best option, frugally of course.

Home Depot 2 shovels and wheel barrel = $ 49.97 (wheel barrel) +$5.98 (shovel digging) + $9.97 (flat head shovel) =$65.92 for supplies.

Next we needed to know how to actually plant sod.  (insert YIKES face) I took to pinterest and did my extensive research. My husband spent most of the time standing back shaking his head at me wishing I’d change my frugal mind and hire a crew, I didn’t back down on this one.

Yard before anything at all was done


As you can see the yard was BARE just some rocks, dirt, and random weeds. I spent a ton of time in the spring playing kill the weeds and rip them from the earth let me tell you how much fun that wasn’t! Fulfilling yes, fun not so much. sheesh.

yard 2
More before

Next we removed rocks from the yard and put them on the side of the house in a lovely pile along the fence. At some point we’re going to list them free on craigslist, but somehow that idea always ends up last on a long list in life.

yard 4
Moving the rock

My husband making his blog debut! As you can see in the FAR back corner is my DIY firepit check it out. DIY Firepit fun!

yard 3

yard 5

Let me tell you this took two dedicated weekends of shear work our tails off in the heat power. Phew! Sure a landscaping crew would have this puppy done in one maybe two days with planting sod, but don’t you love the satisfaction of doing it yourself? I most certainly do!


We had to measure the space, order the sod, and wait for delivery. Sod is HEAVY. Moving that stuff was a pain in the butt holy crow. We could only put 3-4 rolls in the wheel barrel at one time or it would have broken, I kid you not. We had to move TWO pallets of these suckers in the backyard into the shade to keep from drying out.

The sod  was pretty reasonable in price also. Cost a total of $345 for 800 square feet.

When you’re putting sod down you have to make sure the ground is wet to give the roots something to start moving to. As you lay down the pieces make sure you’re having them butt up to one another perfectly, yes perfectly. Now sod is not cut with perfect straight lines. You have to help the sod out a bit. We used two utility knives to cut through the sod and help the lines straighten out. See the husband below is demonstrating how to line up sod. Hard worker he is!

yard 9

Make sure again the ground is wet, not damp, not flooded, but good and wet. One tip I read which helped with maturing the sod is to make sure you’re watering it enough to grow, but not so much the roots aren’t searching for water. After you’ve laid the sod down trimmed the edges stand back and admire your work. Or in our case see below. We allowed the kids and dogs to run a muck for roughly 15 minutes before shutting that down, the sod needed to mature and rest.

yard 7 yard 8

Between dogs and kids you can see how happy everyone is to have grass. All along the patio are the trimmings from making sure everything fit perfectly.

After about two weeks try to pull gently up on the corner of your sod and see if the roots are attached, if so you’re doing good. Don’t be in a rush to mow the lawn, let the grass grow for about 4-6 weeks before mowing. If you mow the sod too soon you’re going to end up having burnt looking grass in a few days. Don’t forget to water your sod also!

IMG_2026[1] ceremony

Now there are darker and lighter spots in the lawn, but you can see just how nice the sod grew together in just a few short months.

Frugally this is a good way to have a lawn. Sure you can plant seed, which is difficult, time-consuming, and chances are if you’re like us you’re going to end up going with sod because the seeding didn’t workout just like you hoped, not kidding. We started off by seeding and it FAILED big time. I wanted sod to start, husband wanted seeds, we tried both hehehe.

I would love to hear about your yard makeover stories!




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Hello Frugal Followers! I am a mom, writer, wife, horse lover, and frugal deal finding, DIY making fool. Follow me to see fun DIY projects for your home, projects to do with your kiddos, and so much more!

Happy Frugal Living!

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