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Seed vs. Sod: What's Best for Your Lawn?


Jun 10, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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As a homeowner, you're no doubt aware that a lush, well-groomed lawn is a great way to make a first impression on visitors. It's also a nice thing for you to look at yourself.

If your grass is mostly dying and needs work, you have two choices when it comes to replacing it: Plant new seed or put down sod, which is grass that's already been planted. We'll walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each option so you know what to do to improve your curb appeal.

Sod

The upside of sod is that when you plant it, you get an instant lawn -- you don't need to wait for grass to grow in as you would when you plant seed. And while you can't just stomp on your new sod immediately, usually all it takes is a couple of weeks to let it root and set, at which point your lawn is yours to enjoy.

Sod can generally be put in at any point when the weather is warm, though you'll want to steer clear of extremely high heat. And sod is also said to be less susceptible to weeds than regular grass.

On the other hand, sod is a lot more expensive than seed. While grass seed costs about $20 per 1,000 square feet of lawn space, sod costs about $350 per 1,000 square feet. That's a big difference, especially with a larger lawn. Also, sod needs to be installed properly to ensure that it roots, so while you can do it yourself, you may need to hire a landscaper, thereby adding to your bill.

Seed

One major benefit of planting grass seed over sod is the savings involved. You don't need to pay a premium for that seed, and you don't need fancy tools or extensive landscaping experience to plant it. With grass seed, you also get different choices. You can choose grass that's likely to thrive based on the specific soil, sunlight exposure, and climate common to your lawn.

On the other hand, you'll need to be careful about when you plant grass seed to give it the greatest chance of being able to thrive. Early spring or early fall is generally your ideal window, though that will also depend on where you live. But the key is to generally strike that balance of it being warm, but not too warm.

Grass seed can also take a while to germinate, and as such, you may find that once you plant it, you won't begin seeing results on your lawn for a good three months. You'll also need to stay off your lawn during that time. In fact, some landscaping professionals will tell you that you'll need to stay off your lawn for an entire growing season if you want your newly planted grass to thrive.

Furthermore, you may need to water your newly-seeded lawn more often than you would with a newly-installed layer of sod. The result? Higher water bills and more time on your part.

Finally, seed is said to be more susceptible to weeds than sod. That's something to consider if you're not keen on heavy lawn maintenance.

What's the right choice for you?

Many homeowners choose sod for their landscaping projects because they want the benefit of instant grass without a ton of work. If you have the money in your budget for sod, it's an option worth considering, especially if you're hoping for quick results. But if you enjoy gardening and outdoor work and don't mind spending more time tending to your lawn, then you may find seed works just as well.

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