Answer: You can put fertilizer on top of the topsoil and then mix it in. Once you've done that, level the area with a slight slope away from buildings so the lawn area will drain well. Then measure the area and take the measurements to your local Home Depot store (or nursery) and they will figure out how much sod you will need.
Water the soil the day before you get the sod. The soil should be flat and moderately moist. This improves the ability of the sod to survive and knit in faster. Lay the sod strips on the prepared soil tightly together, edge to edge, with staggered joints like bricks in a wall. Fill cracks with soil if necessary. Immediately soak the newly laid sod thoroughly.
As soon as it is dry enough to walk on, lightly roll or tamp the sod to give a good contact with the soil beneath. This is necessary to remove any air pockets that will interfere with proper rooting.
Correct watering after installing the sod is critical to its survival. The idea is to keep the soil under the sod moist as well as the soil that comes with each sod piece. This does not mean constantly wet and soggy. Usually 1 inch of water every 2 to 3 days applied in the early part of the day will be sufficient to keep the soil moist. Measure 1 inch of water by placing several straight sided coffee cans in the sprinkler output pattern. Check on the moisture conditions from time to time by lifting the corners of the sod pieces. If the sod/soil seems excessively wet by the second day then delay watering until the third day. Water only as frequently as necessary to keep the soil/sod moist, not soggy and wet. It is most important that you do not over-water and avoid saturating the sod/soil since this will prevent the sod from re-rooting and cause the roots to rot.
After the sod has knitted (rooted) to the soil (from 1-3 weeks) it is important to change the watering schedule. Watering should be done thoroughly to soak the root zone (top 4-5 inches of soil) but infrequently. Providing 1 inch of supplemental irrigation every 4-7 days (depending on soil, temperatures and rainfall) should be adequate for most lawns. There is no need for daily watering of a sod lawn.
Best wishes with your new sod!
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