Thursday, November 18, 2010

Laying Sod

Michele leveling the dirt
I haven't told the story yet of us laying sod in the back yard.  So now, while resting up from my tee pee binding project, I have time to fiddle with the pics and blog about our new lawn.

On October 5 when the weather cooled a bit, John and I brought in 6 tons of fill dirt to raise the level of yard just off our patio steps, and replace the outdoor carpet I had used there for years to keep down the dust. Tree roots were growing all across the area and we were tripping over them at alarming rates.  We couldn't afford to cut the roots and risk killing the tree, so we just filled over them, then laid St Augustine sod over that.  This gave us a chance to raise and level the area, too, after nearly 30 years of it being sloped and uneven.  All good.  Backbreaking labor, though. 

Naylors, our local plant nursery/hardware store, sells fill dirt (a sand/clay mix they call "sandy loam") for $13 a scoop.  1 scoop fits in the back of John's truck and weighs about 1 ton.  We got 7 of those.  Trip to store, drive home, shovel it out.  Another trip to store, I spread the dirt while John goes for another load, then another, then another.  That took 1 day.  We tamped it down and let that settle a week while we recovered.  The next weekend, John picks up 1/2 pallet of St Augustine grass sod, we arrange the rectangles in tight alignment, then he goes for the other 1/2 pallet, same thing.  More hard labor, all in one day.

 Our first 1/2 pallet of sod, in John's trusty Toyota
Can I tell you how sore we were for 2 weeks?????????  Then it's water, water, water.  Every day for 30 minutes, for at least 2 weeks, then every other day for a month.

Costs including tax:
Fill dirt:  $13 x 7 = $99
1 pallet Sod:  $176

TOTAL:  $275.00

Not bad at all.  If we had hired the work professionally done, it would have been more like $750, so we, in effect, made $475 doing the labor ourselves.  Not a bad income but I would NOT want to lay sod for a living, no matter how well it paid!  If I ever do it again, I plan on having a big party, buying all the food, and have each guest lay just a few dozen pieces.  But maybe my friends are too smart to fall for that one.  A few would do all the work, the others would cheer and jeer.

6 weeks later, looks like we have a lawn!
6 weeks later, today, my birthday, the grass seems to be thriving.  Some of the blades are turning brown, but we hope that is because of the cooler weather, and when we water it, most of the brown turns green again.  Surprisingly, it is doing best under the patio cover with the filtered UV light.  It gets enough light, then.  But we must hand water because it never rains under there.  No problem as I have to hose off the steps every few weeks from the debris brought in from the dogs.

Lucky Lucy rolling in "her" grass
One thing I notice about sod, though.  When you first get it, the soil is very moist.  As the squares dry out they shrink a bit so no matter how closely you push and shove and wiggle to wedge the pieces tightly together, little cracks begin to form between them.  I need to take some more fill dirt and pour it into the cracks.  Meanwhile, Lucky thinks we laid all that sod for her.  I mean it, she acts like we gifted her with a plush carpet of grass to roll around in.  In this photo, you can just make out some of the rectangles and the spaces between them that I need to fill in.  They can  be felt underfoot better than seen.

Despite that, I'm feeling somewhat victorious about our sod project today, which is, in effect, like another birthday present. All is well in my world today.

Upwards and onward!

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