Which Is Better: Grass Seed vs. Sod

Laying Sod

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your new home or trying to spruce up your existing property, a lush, green yard is a great way to make your property stand out for all the right reasons.

However, if your lawn is looking a little under-the-weather, it can detract from your home’s overall appearance. If you’re considering sprucing up or redoing your lawn, there are two ways to do it: sodding or seeding. And if grass replacement is new to you, there are a number of factors to consider before you choose an option. If you’re wondering, What is sodding? And, what is seeding? What are the drawbacks and benefits of each? One thing is certain: you came to the right place! We’ll explore the many pros and cons of both sodding and seeding so that you can make an informed decision about which is right for you.

Let’s dive right into how to choose between grass seed vs. sod for your lawn

Table of Contents:

Pros and Cons of Grass Seed

Landscaper seeding lawn

When considering grass seed vs. sod, weigh the pros and cons of both in light of your particular needs and circumstances. Let’s start with grass seed.

Pros of Grass Seed:

  • It costs much less than sod.
  • There are many seed varieties to choose from.
  • You can get the right mix for your lawn type and yard (shady or lots of sun).
  • Once established, grass seed has a better chance of survival than sod.
  • It's an easier DIY project than laying sod down yourself.

Cons of Grass Seed:

  • It takes much longer to see the results with grass seed than it does with sod. Sod is already grown and just needs to be laid.
  • Regular maintenance is required, including regular watering, which can be an issue in drier climates.
  • Erosion can be a concern when the ground is exposed to the elements. Water and wind may sweep the seed away if not careful.

The Pros and Cons of Sod

Grass sod roll

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of lawn sodding.

Sod Pros:

  • Depending on the size of the area you intend to cover, sod can be installed very quickly and is usually easier to establish. Once the sod is laid, you can walk, run, or play on your newly installed lawn within two to three weeks.
  • Sod can be planted just about any time of the year as long as the ground is not frozen.
  • Most varieties of sod are hardy and will quickly take root and flourish when properly installed and maintained.
  • Sod helps prevent erosion on slopes and new construction sites.
  • It improves drainage and can help prevent flooding

Sod Cons:

  • Sod is much more expensive than grass seed and may be cost-prohibitive for larger areas.
  • Laying sod over a large area takes time and considerable effort, which can result in sore muscles and back pain.
  • Proper preparation of the soil (including leveling the ground) is required to ensure success, which is why sod should be installed by a professional for best results.
  • There are more varieties of grass seed to choose from as opposed to sod. Not all the sod will take root, which may require removal and replacement to maintain cohesiveness throughout the property.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Grass Seed or Sod

Sprinkler watering soil with grass seeds

Sod vs. seed: Which do you choose?

Consider the following factors when choosing sod vs. seed:

  • The size of the area you want to cover: Laying sod over a large area will cost more.
  • How quickly do you want results? Seed takes longer to establish.
  • What’s your budget and available time? Seeding is inexpensive and less labour-intensive.

Steps to Establishing a Lawn with Grass Seed

Grass seeds on residential lawn

  • Clear the area you want to seed by removing weeds, old grass, and plants.
  • Test the soil pH. (Add amendments if necessary.)
  • Prepare the soil. (Add compost or fertilizer, and break up the soil.)
  • Choose the best grass seed for where you live. (If you’re unsure, feel free to ask your local The Grounds Guys®.)
  • Spread the seed!
  • Water often, especially during the first two weeks.

Steps to Installing Sod for a New Lawn

Rake prepping soil for sodding lawn

  • Test the soil.
  • Select the right type of sod for your area.
  • Measure the area before you lay down the sod.
  • Remove old grass.
  • Prep the soil.
  • Level the area.
  • Lay the sod.
  • Water the sod every day for the first four weeks.

Comparing Costs: Grass Seed vs. Sod

Hose watering freshly laid sod on lawn

Grass seeding is typically the most economical option. When broken down by average cost per square foot, it looks like this:

  • Sod installation: about $1.20 to $2.85 per square foot
  • Grass seed: between $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot
  • Once again, if you intend to cover a large area and have a limited budget, seeding is a more economical option. This also holds true if you have limited time to invest in the project. Laying sod (especially if you take a DIY approach, will take considerably more of your time).

Which Option Is Best for Your Situation?

Residential front yard with healthy grass

Deciding on grass seed vs. sod typically involves the factors we discussed: time, budget, resources, level of expertise, and what works best for your area.

Sod and seed are ideal for different applications. Lawn sodding is perfect for quick transformations and is suitable for property owners who have a larger or unlimited budget. Grass seed is usually better for reviving an existing lawn and is a great option for DIYers who have a limited or smaller budget.

Ultimately, the choice to seed or sod is yours. However, we do recommend that you connect with a lawn care professional before embarking on this type of lawn or landscape project.

Consult with a Lawn Professional

There is no doubt that a beautiful green lawn will significantly improve the appearance of your home. But, regardless of which option you choose, maintaining a lush, green, and healthy lawn still requires time and effort. The experienced professionals at The Grounds Guys will help you make the right choice for your home or business and provide lawn care and landscape services to keep it looking good throughout the year. The Grounds Guys are committed to excellence and stand behind all our work with the Neighbourly Done Right Promise™, which guarantees the quality of our work.

To learn more or to get started, find The Grounds Guys nearest you and contact us today to request a free estimate.