Research the Best Grass for Your Site
One of the easiest ways to figure out what grass is best for your lawn is to drive around your neighborhood and note the lawns of houses with similar conditions to yours. Do they have lots of trees? Lots of sun? Do they have a landscaping crew who comes out very frequently?
St. Augustine, with its thick blades, is the most popular grass in the North Texas area: it takes our heat well and it grows in light to moderate shade.
Bermuda grass has thin blades and will survive almost any condition except deep shade.
Zoysia lawns are one of the rarer choices for Dallas. It has a deep dark green color and an extremely soft texture, but is slow growing and does not do well with a lot of foot traffic.
Grade Your Site and Fix Drainage Problems
Before you get started, assess whether your site has any noticeable dips or unevenness. Uneven grading can make mowing unpleasant and can be unsafe to walk on. If water collects in a particular spot, turf grass may rot or die. Soil should also be graded so water drains away from houses or other structures.
Use a rake to knock down any high spots and fill in low spots so the soil is level.
Make sure the soil is 1 inch below the grade of any paved surface, such as a walkway or driveway.
Break up any large dirt clods with a hoe.
Deep rototilling is not necessary unless the soil is heavily compacted.
This is not the time for guessing. Getting correct measurements ensures you won't end up running out of sod before your project is over, or having leftover sod that you cannot return.
Use a tape measure to obtain the length and width of each area to obtain the square footage. If you have curved areas to measure, just try to break it down into squares or rectangles as best you can. If you need a little geometry reminder, this video can help.
Prevent Weed Regrowth
In general, healthy new grass will crowd out weeds, but you probably don't want to lay new sod over weeds. If there aren't many weeds, you can pull them by hand. If you have a lot of weeds and plenty of time (several months), you might consider laying cardboard or black plastic over the area where you will be laying sod to "solarize" the existing weeds or grass. And if you have a lot of weeds and not much time, you may need to turn to a herbicide like Roundup. Be sure to follow the directions on the container, and wait at least the amount of time the manufacturer recommends. You certainly don't want a lingering herbicide to kill your brand-new sod.
Obtain a Variance for Heavy Watering
Be sure to obtain a variance from your municipality for watering outside of the schedule, if required. Unless a variance is requested and granted, watering new plantings outside of assigned days and times will be subject to citation.
Obtain a City of Dallas variance for watering outside the permitted days.
Obtain a City of Fort Worth variance for watering outside the permitted days.
Optional: Add Amendments
Our turf has been fertilized before harvest. You can, if you wish, add a thin layer of compost on top of the topsoil—between ¼” and ½”. Adding topsoil is not necessary unless there are low spots to be filled.