Laying sod is a much faster way to make your lawn beautiful than seeding it, although it is significantly more expensive than grass seed. If there is a large area of bare yard to cover, then you need to calculate the actual number of pieces to purchase. Normally, you would begin by finding out the average size of a piece of sod. However, there is no industry standard. Sod farms each cut their product differently.
Sod varies in thickness from 1 to 3 inches. Measure the distance (height) from the bare dirt to the sidewalk or street. This measurement is the thickness of sod that you need to buy. For example, if your bare yard is 2 inches lower than the sidewalk, then purchase sod that is 2 inches thick. The grass should be level with the sidewalk.
The length of cut sod varies by company. For example, the All About Lawns website mentions that the average piece of sod is from 5 to 9 feet long. However, Fulton Grass cuts their sod at 24 inches in length, Huber Ranch Sod Nursery cuts an 81-inch length and Medina Farms cuts at 60 inches long. Your local nursery may have a specific size that it sells, or it may vary throughout the seasons as they purchase from different suppliers.
Although the width of sod is not a uniform size, there is much less discrepancy than with the length. Fulton Grass and Huber Ranch Sod Nursery sell sod that is 16 inches wide. Medina Farms cuts its sod at 24 inches in width.
If you are undertaking a large landscaping project in your yard, you will need many pieces of sod. You can buy cut sod pieces by the pallet. The number of pieces will vary according to their size. For example, Fulton Grass advertises 171 pieces of sod (16 by 24 inches) on one pallet.
When you are calculating how much sod to buy, allow at least 10 percent extra for waste. Increase this percentage up to 20 percent if you have to cut sod to go around many circular areas, such as fountains, statues and trees. Patten Seed Company provides an easy-to-use calculator (see Resources).