For best results, rototill or spade the area to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Eliminate drainage problems by having soil slope away from foundations, etc. If possible, perform a soil test in your lawn area with the assistance of a qualified service in your area. If needed, amend soil as necessary. Rake and smooth the soil removing rocks, roots, and large debris. Roll the area lightly with a lawn roller. This will firm the soil surface and barrel uneven areas that need leveling. Keep the final grade at 1 inch below sidewalks or driveway. Water the prepared area to settle soil and provide a moist base for turf. Moistening to a depth of 4-6 inches is recommended for most soils. Apply a light application of granular fertilizer to the soil prior to sod installation. Preferably use a starter fertilizer like a 16-16-16 or similar.
Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive. In hot weather, protect unlaid turf by placing stacks in shade, covering with moist burlap sacks, and/or irrigating lightly. Begin installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Push the edges and ends of the sod against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlap. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion. Use a large, sharp knife to trim corners and overlapped areas. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. To prevent indentations on new turf, avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the sod while it is being installed. After installing the sod, roll the entire area to improve turf/soil contact. Give your new lawn at least 1 inch of water within 1/2 hour of installation. Water daily, or more often, keeping turf moist until it is firmly rooted (about 2 weeks). Then less frequent and deeper watering should begin. Weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods. Water areas near buildings more often where reflected heat dries the turf.
During the first three weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil, and insures that the turf will remain smooth.