Should You Lay Sod Or Plant Grass Seed At Your New Home?

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A thick, green lawn can enhance your property in a number of ways. Not only can it improve your home’s curb appeal, adding to its resale value, but it can also create a soft surface where children and pets can play. It is ideal for holding outdoor get-togethers with friends and loved ones, as well, since it provides a soft place to sit and a beautiful backdrop for your gatherings.

Homes that have recently been constructed typically don’t have well-established lawns. As a result, you may need to plant your own lawn after you move in. One of the primary questions that you may have is whether you should lay sod or plant grass seed at your new home.

There really is no right or wrong answer. Instead, it depends on your unique situation. To decide which way to go with your lawn, you should evaluate the pros and cons of grass seed versus sod. The following section outlines some of the key differences between these two options.

Cost

Cost is often one of the primary concerns that homeowners have when deciding which type of lawn to install. If you are on a budget, grass seed is the best option since it is significantly less expensive than sod. Depending on the type of seed you buy and whether you decide to install it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, it typically costs anywhere between one cent and twenty cents per square foot.

Sod, on the other hand, can cost a dollar or more per square foot, depending on the type of grass that you choose and whether or not you have it professionally installed.

Using the high estimate for each, a 1,000 square foot lawn would cost $200 if you used grass seed and $1000 if you used sod. Of course, those are only rough estimates. The cost can vary quite a bit depending on the current condition of your yard, the amount of soil preparation that is required, the type of grass that you choose, and whether you handle the installation yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. From a cost standpoint, however, grass seed is the clear winner.

Ease Of Planting

Whether you choose grass seed or sod, the soil needs to be prepared before planting. This can be a labor-intensive process in both situations. The ground itself needs to be level. All previous grass and weeds need to be removed. Additionally, a thick layer of topsoil should be added to the surface so that the grass has plenty of nutrients available to grow a strong root system.

The primary differences in the ease of installation occur after the soil is prepared. With grass seed, the planting process is extremely easy. In fact, it is so easy that just about anyone can do it, regardless of whether you have previous experience. All that you have to do is sprinkle grass seed evenly over the surface, following the directions on the bag.

Sod, on the other hand, is a lot more complicated to install. Most experts recommend having sod professionally installed by Discover Ziehler West Chester, simply because there are a lot of things that can go wrong if it is done incorrectly. Improper installation can result in poorly developed roots, gaps between the seams, and dry, dead grass. Professional installation can significantly add to the cost of the lawn, making this a much more expensive option.

Maintenance

Both grass seed and sod take a lot of maintenance during the early stages.  With grass seed, you need to water your new lawn daily during the initial phase after planting. Ideally, you should water lightly a couple of times each day rather than doing one heavy watering. Otherwise, you run the risk of washing away the grass seed. Additionally, you may need to slowly wean the grass off of its frequent watering schedule to avoid having the young grass die.

Sod also requires a significant amount of maintenance in the early stages. It needs to be watered every day for the first couple of weeks after it is installed. This will help the root system get established. Additionally, it requires regular aeration to encourage the roots to grow deep down into the ground rather than growing laterally.

Final Results

When it comes to the amount of time that it takes for your lawn to get established, there is no comparison between grass seed and sod. With sod, you have a beautiful green lawn the minute that it is laid. With grass seed, on the other hand, you have to wait a couple of years before it establishes itself well enough to look like a thick, lush lawn.

As a general rule of thumb, sod is less likely to develop problems with weeds, as well. Because the lawn is already thick and doesn’t have any gaps or bare spots, it is much harder for weed seeds to germinate. With a newly seeded lawn, on the other hand, the grass seed has to compete with weed seeds. In many cases, this can result in a weedy lawn that requires the use of herbicides.

Keep in mind, however, that grass that is grown from seed tends to have a deeper, more well-established root system. That can help it stay healthier when weather conditions are hot and dry. It also tends to turn green earlier in the spring, largely because the heat from the sun can more easily penetrate down to the soil.

Deciding whether to lay sod or plant grass seed at your new home is not an easy choice. Both options have a lot of pros and cons. Grass seed is inexpensive and easy to plant. However, it takes a lot longer than sod to grow and it is also more likely to develop problems with weeds.

Sod, on the other hand, is significantly more expensive. If it is installed incorrectly or if you fail to care for it properly, it is also more likely to die, meaning that all of the money you invested in it was wasted. At the same time, however, it also allows you to have a beautiful lawn in a single day without having to wait for it to become established. It is also less likely to experience problems with weeds than a lawn that is grown from seed.