Okay, so I plan on laying sod this weekend or next week in my backyard, so I have been reading up on the subject on sod farms' own websites and other sources, but every single site is so very different in what they say that I don't know how much (or how little) I need to do, so I am asking the FOOniverse for advice, of which I am well aware may or may not help me one bit.
Here is my situation: The backyard was half gravel (small yard; it was really a 33% gravel, 66% dirt, 1% worms the size of small snakes mixture), so I removed the gravel and the plastic under it. So, the area is currently down to the flat, smooth, compacted dirt, about 6 inches below where I want the surface to be. I need to raise the surface a bit since the previous owner laid a sidewalk right on top of the existing lawn, so there is a small cliff when stepping off the sidewalk to the lawn.
This is how I plan to prepare the area and lay the sod, based on the conflicting information I have been reading about these past few days:
--I am going to haul in black dirt, and lay it down about 4-6 inches thick in most areas. For the areas that don't need that much dirt, I am going to turn over the soil that is there with a shovel.
--I will level the area using string line as a guide, but making sure the grade slopes away from the house (6+ inches for 10 feet)
--I won't pack the dirt down, but I will walk on it as I go, intentionally.
--Add peat moss to the top of the dirt, and rake it in a bit.
--Add starter fertilizer, without raking it in. (24-24-?? something?)
--Water the area well the night before sod delivery so it can be moist but drain overnight.
--Lay the sod, watering as I go, staggering seams like bricks.
--Walk on the sod intentionally as I go, but don't stomp on it, pack it, or roll it.
--Keep watering as much as I can, daily, about an hour for each spot, for three weeks, etc...
--Start mowing it after 10 days, keep 2"+ high
--Let the 30 pound two year old run on it all he wants right away(?)
--I do not want to put fertilizer on top of the sod because I have a two year old...
--I know this isn't the best time of year to lay sod, but the area (20x30) square feet is in the shade 100% of the day, with a little bit of sunlight that shines through individual leaves on the trees, nothing more.
--I was told that because of my scenario/yard/shade/etc that it will actually be cheaper and much less work for me to lay sod than to seed the entire area.
Any thoughts, advice, etc? Am I putting way too much thought into this like usual? Can I really just put down dirt, grade away from the house, put down sod, water, and skip the other 20 steps in between?