Should You Sod or Seed Your Lawn?
When it comes to deciding between seeding or sodding your lawn, you should consider several factors. Everything from time spent to the overarching cost will help you determine which method is best for restoring your green space to its former glory. Of course, no two lawns (or two homeowners, for that matter) are the same, so the decision to sod or seed may also come down to what works best for you (take aesthetics into account, too!). Ahead, how to make the choice, according to am expert.
Sodding involves laying already-green grass down in patches, like living tile. You can purchase sod in a myriad of varieties that "will allow for an instant, virtually weed-free lawn," explains Joe Raboine, the director of residential hardscapes at Belgard. Unlike starting your grass from seed, you won't have to wait for sprouts to appear. Unfortunately, you'll pay a premium for the instant gratification: "Sod is much more expensive, as it needs to be grown off-site, cut, trucked, and installed either by hand or with large mechanically installed rolls," he explains.
Growing your grass from seed is exactly as it sounds: The process requires spreading your preferred variety of seed over a prepared surface. "For many homeowners on larger lots, seed is the preferred choice simply because it's less expensive," Raboine notes. Of course, starting from seed is more work; you need to ensure that the grass germinates and that hungry birds (or torrential downpours) don't remove your seeds before they have had a chance to root.
Deciding Between the Two
Seed works well on larger lots and properties, explains Raboine, adding that it can also be an optimal option if weather conditions remain good. "It's typically best to plant seed when the temperature is more moderate (in spring and fall), so that it doesn't require as much water, and so that the new grass doesn't dry out," he says. While the same holds true for sod, if you are planning to lay your new lawn down in a cooler climate, you can actually do so all the way up until the point when the ground freezes.
Know Before You Grow
Whatever your decision, Raboine says to thoroughly prepare the area before you begin sodding or seeding. "First, be sure that the lawn is properly sloped to allow for water runoff away from any structures," he says. "Second, there should be at least a few inches of topsoil. Anything less will stress the new lawn." Lastly, he notes the importance of selecting the right variety of grass for your space: "There are types that do well in sun, partial shade, and shade; prefer cooler temps (like Kentucky bluegrass); or like it hot (Bermuda)." He suggests conducting some research on what is commonly grown in your area before making a final choice.