Step 1: Prepare the Lawn
Your lawn area should be already tilled. The final finish level should have been made and the level of the grade should be approximately one inch below sidewalks, sprinkler heads, etc. (Below the level desired for the final grass lawn). Also, the soil should be moist. This is best accomplished by watering a day or two before installation. You want the soil to be moist but firm. Before starting to lay your sod, take a rake (or drag for larger areas) and rake the top soil with a final leveling action. This does two things. First, it levels out any small unevenness missed by your final grade in the preparation steps. Secondly, it creates loose soil particles that your new roots can more firmly compress into when you lay your sod.
Step 2: Begin Laying Sod
It is time to actually lay your sod on the newly prepared lawn area. Generally, it is best to start laying sod along a straight line such as a sidewalk, driveway or even the side of a flowerbed along your house. As you lay out each piece in a row, firmly push the end together so the spaces between the pieces of sod are minimized. You can lay two or three rows at a time (with rectangular sod), but keep each row staggered so that the joints are at different locations than the adjoining row. Use a cheap carpet knife to cut your odd shaped sod pieces. That way the sod can be made to fit around curves, sprinklers, plants and other lawn obstacles.
Step 3: Roll the Sod
After you have completed laying your sod lawn, you should roll your sod with a lawn roller. The roller causes the roots of the sod to make firm contact with the new soil under the sod. This allows for faster "knitting" of your roots into its new soil home.
Step 4: Water the Lawn
Water the lawn area you have planted as on a regular basis - usually daily for newly sodded lawns unless rain is occurring. After the first week, start stretching out the time between watering so that the roots will grow downward toward the soil moisture. All that is left is to wait and mow your new sod lawn for the first time in about three weeks.