BarnHouse Backyard | Installing + Maintaining a Sod Lawn

DIY PROJECT, Home DIY, The Barnhouse

We have been documenting our DIY backyard renovation on Instagram (check out the highlight here!), and one thing we keep getting questions about is the sod: What is the DIY process? What’s the cost? How do you maintain it? Was it worth it? I am going to cover all that today! Plus, I partnered with BLACK+DECKER to show you the Outdoor Powered Equipment we are using to maintain the yard and keep it lookin’ great all Summer!
First up! Why did you pick to sod instead of seed?
I weighed the pro’s and con’s, and even though the sod cost more, me and the hub plus the pups would be able to enjoy the yard much sooner with sod. It was still snowing here in Wisconsin at the end of April, so we got a late start on the backyard, getting an “insta-backyard” with sod was totally worth the extra cost because we only have a couple months of good weather here!

What is the process?
We really had to start from the beginning because the yard was in such bad condition, there was a ton of gravel, glass, and trash mixed in with the dirt, so we rented a Bobcat and dumpster to skim off the top 4-5 inches of dirt and get rid of it.ispydiy_backyard_sod11
Hopefully, you can skip that part and just lay topsoil because it added another $1,000 to the process 🙁  While we had the Bobcat, my hub leveled out the backyard, and then graded it so water would drain towards the driveway. 

After the bad dirt was cleared we had 12 linear ft of topsoil delivered, and spread on the yard 3 inches thick.
Once all the topsoil is down, spread fertilizer on it, and then roll the dirt with a Lawn Roller (pictured above).

Next, the sod was delivered! They suggested laying it within 24 hours of receiving it, which was no problem because it only took us about 2 hours to lay 1000 square feet.

When laying the sod, stagger the seams (photo above) and make sure seems fit tightly together, so it can grow together and not leave gaps.
After all the sod is down, roll it once more.
The most important part: Water! Make sure to water 3 times a day for 15 min. We did this everyday for 1.5 months, and will keep it up on super hot days. And stay off the grass! We tried super hard to stay off for a full month…but made it about 3 weeks before letting the dogs play on it, but waited a month before heavily using it.

What’s the cost for 1000 square foot lawn?
We bought 2 pallets of BlueGrass sod from Home Depot, each pallet was 500 square ft, and the total was $1000, which included the delivery.
The Lawn Roller rental =  $20.
Premium TopSoil = $690 for 12 linear yards (two dump trucks full were delivered)
Fertilizer = $20 for a bag that covers 5,000 sq ft
= $1,730

How do you maintain a sod yard?
Wait to mow the yard for one month after you lay the sod, so it has time to root itself into the topsoil. I have been using my BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Lithium 3-in-1 Cordless Mower non-stop at the Airbnbs, so was excited to start using it on our lawn! I set it to the highest blade setting: 7 so I would not shock the grass and gave the lawn it’s first cut after a month of growing. After the first cut, I will drop the blade down to 4. 

Sidenote: If you are not using a battery powered lawn mower, I suggest getting this one ASAP! I’ve had gas and electric, and both are a pain compared to this battery powered one. It’s super light, so I can transport it from house to house easily, and in my experience a yard this size only takes one charge on the 40v battery (I always keep a second charged battery in the storage compartment on the mower for larger lawns).

After mowing, I use BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger, which easily toggles from edger to trimmer,  so I can use the edger between the patio and grass, and the trimmer along the fence. The rolling guide makes it SUPER easy, plus you just press a button to feed the string.

I planted Dappled Willows along the back fence and even though they are not *quite* big enough to trim now, they are supposed to grow 10ft tall, and get crazy if you do not trim them back every year, so I’m excited to tame them with the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium POWERCOMMAND Powercut Hedge Trimmer!

Last, the best part, sweeping all that grass off the patio!! It’s so satisfying clearing it off with BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Cordless Sweeper! Once that step is done it’s time to step back and look at your glorious lawn!!

Links to the  BLACK+DECKER Outdoor Powered Equipment I used and check out my IGTV to see how I used them all: 

LSTE525 – BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger

 LHT321 – BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium POWERCOMMAND Powercut Hedge Trimmer

 LSW221 – BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Sweeper with Power Boost

CM2043C – BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Lithium 3-in-1 Cordless Mower, 20″

Was it worth it?!? YES!!! Our yard was a little bigger than the 1000 Square ft of sod, so we seeded the rest, and after 1 month, the seeded grass is super sparse and not comfortable to walk on. The sod is glorious! Soft, comfortable to walk on with bare feet and wonderful to lay on. And I have never seen the pups so happy to have a place to sunbathe and play catch on!ispydiy_backyard_sod9
Let me know if you have any additional Sod questions in the comments!! Stay tuned for a fence and paver post! 

This post was made in partnership with BLACK+DECKER. Thank you for supporting my amazing sponsors! 

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.
 *Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 40 volts. Nominal voltage is 36.




  1. Kathleen says:

    What is your patio made of? Is it multi-colored wood panels?

    1. Jenni says:

      They are pavers!

  2. says:

    These are all awesome tips! Also, I’m obsessed with the stone on your patio!


  3. Emma says:

    Looks beautiful! We lay sod on our property in May and would do it all over again!

    Question though, how do you keep your pups from peeing on the lawn? Or do you use anything in their diets to lessen the chance of the urine burning the grass.

    1. Jenni says:

      Thank you! We water multiple times a day (ideally right after we let the pups out) so we can spray those spots because we were seeing some burnt spots

  4. Merle Meyer says:

    A Husqvarna robotic mower would keep the lawn perfectly mowed, with NO effort on your part.

  5. Stephen says:

    Your lawn looks great,what kind of seed my lawn looked good then it looked worse everyday help

  6. friv says:

    Your garden is great. I’d love to do things like this in my own house, thanks for giving me some great ideas.

Comments are closed.


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