The relaxing feeling of cool, soft grass under your bare feet is a summer pleasure. Why settle for a hard, unforgiving concrete patio? You can get the benefits of both sod and a paved surface together.
Create the Layout
When it comes to the basic patio design, think about how you want to use the space. If you need a level area for a grill or heavy outdoor furniture, it's best to install a solid area of pavers. For example, create a border two or three pavers deep for the grill and cooking area, but leave the center of the patio grassy for relaxing and walking.
Another option is to checkerboard the patio, by alternating squares of pavers and sod. Alternate each row to create the checkerboard, or line up the rows neatly for a different look. When it comes to the design mixture of the paving stones and the sod, pick something that you find visually appealing that will also work with how you plan to use the space.
The old grass requires removal before you can begin installing the patio. Begin by digging up the old sod, roots and all, and removing any rocks or debris from the area. Level the ground and tamp it down to create a firm base.
Once the ground is prepared, you must transfer your layout to the site. You can use stakes and twine, which works well if you are creating a checkerboard or grid. As an alternative, use line marker's paint to draw out the paver and sod design directly on top of the dirt.
Build the Patio
The pavers should be installed first.
Begin by pouring a 2 inch layer of paving sand into the marked areas for the pavers. Level the sand with a flat board.
Place a small trowel's worth of mortar on top of the sand for each paving stone. The mortar will temporarily anchor the paver so it won't shift as the sod establishes.
Set the paver in place and tamp it down firmly. Ensure it sits level, adjusting it as necessary before the mortar hardens.
Once the pavers are in place, you can perform the sod installation with the following procedure.
Fill the sod areas with a 2 inch layer of compost or topsoil.
Level the topsoil and water it thoroughly.
Cut the sod to fit the space. If you are laying multiple strips of sod, offset the joints in each row. The sod shouldn't overlap neighboring strips or the pavers.
Roll over the sod with a lawn roller once it's laid, or tamp down small areas with a flat board. This ensures the sod is in full contact with the soil beneath, which will it help it root.
Sod takes two to four weeks to establish. Although you can walk on it during this period, avoid mowing it until the roots have anchored into the soil beneath. Water the sod once daily, providing ½ to 1 inch of water until it roots, and then reduce watering to once or twice a week. Established sod only needs 1 to 2 inches of water weekly. You can mow right over the pavers within the patio as long as your blade is set high enough so that it doesn't hit the paving stones.
You can even use irregular shaped paving stones, such as flagstones, to create the patio. These will require careful sod cutting to ensure the sod fits closely around the irregular shapes. You can even alternate sod with other groundcover plants, such as creeping thyme. Get creative with the design to make a unique patio.