BarnHouse Backyard | Installing + Maintaining a Sod Lawn


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 SPY ABODE | Master Bedroom Bedding Refresh

Home DIY

♦Hi ispydiy_spoonflower6
Another bedroom refresh!!! This time I am over at my Airbnb, in the Master bedroom giving this room a much need upgrade in the bedding department. Thing were looking a little sad, so when Spoonflower reached out about their new bedding I was super excited to give it a try!! A little bit about Spoonflower for those that have not heard about them: you can shop from over 750,000 designs from independent artist in the Spoonflower Marketplace or upload your own pattern, and have it printed on fabric and wallpaper, and now sheets, pillows, duvets and more! Bonus: everything is printed and sewn in the USA 🙂  Now onto my pattern picks… 

The team at Spoonflower challenged me to mix patterns, and think outside of traditional stripes. Which was super fun, but I will admit, that I changed my mind about 100 times before coming up with this final combination, ha! Once I started putting the room together, I started getting really excited seeing the different pattens play off each other.

The key was picking a color palette and then playing with larger and small prints using those colors. I wanted to keep the rug in the room, so pulled out the pink, orange, gray and cream for my color palette.  Then, I searched for patterns with those colors. Mixing pillows with a darker background and lighter pillows to create a little depth and break up the smaller patterns.

I wanted all the patterns to have an organic feel, and was a little nervous bringing in the stripe sheets, but it really tied all the colors together, and ended up being a great compliment to the more natural patterns!  ispydiy_spoonflower

ispydiy_spoonflower4      ispydiy_spoonflower10

I just love how it turned out and think it’s such a fun idea to be able to customize your space! Next up, I want to design some curtains for this room! Check out the links to my product picks below, and have fun picking out your own combinations on Spoonflower! 

King Sheets – EARTHEN WOVEN STRIPE SIENNA PINK By holli_zollinger
King Duvet – ATLANTIS FLEET (Mustard) By nouveau_bohemian
Lumbar Pillow – EARTHEN PALM by holli_zollinger
Throw Pillow – Night Forest (burnt umber) by nouveau_bohemian
Minky Throw – LINEN SOLID blushy by ivieclothco




BEFORE & AFTER | DIY Gold Chevron Wall & Small Room Makeover


ISPYDIY_chevronroommakeover4You all know how much I love a room makeover! So when ALDI reached out and asked if I wanted to partner up to transform a space with decor from their store, my first response, “I didn’t know ALDI had home decor!” Then they told me about the ALDI Finds section and its seasonal items, including decor and organization products that I could use to turn my blank room into a budget-friendly haven! I accepted the challenge and was excited to transform the one undecorated room in my house into a super sweet room that would be perfect for a guest, a teen or could inspire a dorm room or bedroom in a first apartment. And the timing was perfect because my little sister is visiting from Europe for a couple weeks and it’s the perfect guest room for her 🙂

I started with a blank slate!

I knew I wanted to create another DIY painted wall, so I came up with the idea of painting it this light pinky beige and drawing on a pattern with a gold sharpie paint pen! Head over to my IGTV for a video tutorial of how I created it. I takes a *little* more measurement then my last freehand design, but I give some tips in the video that speeds up the process (this wall took about 2 hours to draw on the pattern)

after copy
Then it was time to decorate! First I started by picking my items, sticking with neutrals, mostly grays and tans, with a couple pops of pale pink. Before putting everything in the room, I stopped by the ALDI Finds section, with $50 in my pocket to spend, for just a couple more items to round out the room. I scored some of my favorite items in the room: the wood clock, “Out of Office” hat, gold scissors and desk set, plus the flowers and some succulents! I got home and gave myself an hour to decorate the space and I JUST LOVE how it came together!! It’s so fun how the wall and clock patterns play off each other, and how inviting and cozy the soft colors and textures feel in the room. And can you believe almost EVERYTHING in this room is from ALDI (the bed, comforter, lamp and books are the only things I already had). The rug! The bedding! The “marble” side table! The ottoman! The macramé wall decorations! Even the details like the coffee cup, letter board, diffuser, and candle!  All ALDI and all under $185 , which is amazing if you are looking to do a room makeover on a budget!

ISPYDIY_chevronroommakeover1ISPYDIY_chevronroommakeover3  ISPYDIY_chevronroommakeoverISPYDIY_chevronroommakeover2List of items with prices below!

– Huntington Home 5’ x 7’ Berber Area Rug – Tan $19.99
– Huntington Home Full/Queen Royal Plush Blanket – Coral $9.99
– Huntington Home Full Sheet Set – Grey $7.99
– Huntington Home Faux Fur Pillow – Grey $7.99
– Welby Ultrasonic Diffuser $14.99
– Welby Essential Oil Assortment $4.99
– Huntington Home Wall Tapestry in Macrame $9.99
– Huntington Home Felt Letter Board – Black and Natural $4.99
– Huntington Home Bolster Pillow – White $9.99
– Sohl Furniture Folding Tray Table – Marble with gold legs $9.99
– Sohl Furniture Foldable Storage Ottoman –   Pink $9.99
– Sohl Furniture 3 Tier Metal Rolling Cart –  Cashew $24.99


All these items will be in stores in the ALDI Finds section starting July 10, so run out, grab some pieces to give your room a makeover and send me a pic!!

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




  • » BAYVIEW BARNHOUSE | Mudroom Renovation Before & After with Home Depot and HGTV Magazine
  • Mudroom Renovation with Home Depot and HGTV Magazine
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  • » I SPY AIRBNB | Backyard Refresh!
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