To sod or to seed is a question that has been asked for many years. There are several factors that must be considered when making this decision for your home; initial budget, size and shape of the lawn, your timeline, and the effort you are willing to put into the job.
Time & Aesthetics
Seed may be initially much less expensive, but it is labor intensive. It often requires knowledge of the seed and soil, including the soil preparation, and has little guarantee of your desired result. It often takes 6 to 12 months for seed to grow into an established lawn and up to 2 years for a newly seeded lawn to grow and fill in to a beautiful, thick lawn. Seeds can blow away in the wind, dry out or be washed away, not to mention just fail to germinate. Weeds also mix well with new seed so weed prevention and maintenance are required.
Sod looks great immediately after it is installed. It requires less soil preparation and will mitigate significantly more potential soil erosion than waiting for seed to germinate. You will often have an established, healthy lawn in about 2 weeks after the sod is installed. Young grass shoots and blades are very delicate and require proper care to mature. Sod is harvested as mature grass that has strong, healthy roots that just need to grow into your existing soil. Lawns with significant slopes are prone to soil erosion and very difficult to seed and properly water.
According to several real estate sources, a well landscaped lawn can add significant value to your home. Sod can add anywhere from an additional 50% over cost to as much as five times the cost depending on the current lawn condition.
If you are selling your home, your front landscaping is the first thing that is seen. For a lawn that needs considerable attention, sod will provide an instant upgrade to your curb appeal and has proven to gain a return upon sale.
Initially, Sod and professional sod installation can get expensive, especially if you have a large lawn that needs to be covered. Although sod costs up to about $1.00 – $1.50 per square foot more than seed. You must also consider the cost of the soil preparation, post seed care, special fertilizers, and the time before you have the lawn you desire if you choose to seed your lawn.
The benefits of professionally installed Sod far outweigh that of seed. The cost of seeding is much less from the start. However, once you consider the additional fertilizer and maintenance required, cost over the next 12 to 24 months is negligible. An instant, lush lawn that requires much less effort is its own reward.