New Sod Installation

Should You Install Your New Lawn Using Seed Or Sod?

Should You Install Your New Lawn Using Seed Or Sod?

Maintaining a lush, green lawn is probably important to you, whether you are a new homeowner or have had your property for a significant length of time.  You may have noticed that certain sections of your grass are not as healthy looking as others or that brown patches have appeared in some places.  You may also be planning to add grass to a new property or want to renovate your existing lawn to improve its appearance.

Regardless of the project you have in mind, you may quickly find yourself confused as to whether you should use grass seed or ready-to-go sod for your new lawn. Fortunately, the tips outlined below will help you make the best choice for your property:

The Difference Between Seed and Sod

Before you can make a decision or understand the pros and cons of the two options, you must familiarize yourself with the difference between sod and seed. Sod is mature turf that has been professionally maintained. It is then transplanted to the area of your choice.  This type of project is typically completed by a landscaping contractor, particularly if you are renovating a large area of your lawn. The first week, sod must be watered rather heavily, so it is important to remember this if sod is what you ultimately choose.

The other option is to plant seed. As its name implies, this simply means you are growing grass from seed, which you can easily plant yourself if your property has been properly graded. If you want to plant seed in an expansive area, however, you may wish to consider hiring a professional as opposed to completing the task as a DIY project, it’s a lot more work then most people think.


Cost is obviously a major factor when you are deciding between seed or sod. The most expensive option is sod, as it has been maintained and cared for by someone else for a specific length of time, and usually requires professional installation. If money is no object, and you just want a nice lawn as quickly as possible then sod is a very good choice.

Grass seed is an appealing option with regard to cost, as the price of even the highest quality seed mix is still much less than the price of any type of sod. Therefore, if your project is budget driven, and you don’t need a new lawn quickly, seed may be the best choice.

Time Frame

Another major factor in the decision-making process is the amount of effort and the length of time associated with growing and maintaining a lawn. As you might already suspect, sod is certainly the best option if you want a beautiful lawn in a very short length of time. This is because sod is virtually an “instant lawn,” and allows you to go from plain dirt to lush grass in a day or so depending on the size of the area.  For example, if you are planning an outdoor party or event where it is critical to have a nice property in a very short length of time, sod is a great choice.

The time of year sod is planted is also an aspect to which thought must be given. This is because the speed of rooting varies with each season, and rooting is crucial to the sod’s health and longevity. Spring and fall are ideal times to lay sod, although if water is available it can be installed at any time. Nevertheless, even with adequate water, it may not root as well during extreme temperatures as it would during autumn or spring.

Obviously, growing a lush, dense lawn takes a bit longer if you use seed, as the latter must have time to grow. If you have ample time to take care of the lawn and can wait until the optimum growing season, which is early fall, seed is worth considering. However, growing your own grass requires a significant amount of time and attention, as well as continuous watering, and you must keep people and pets off the growing grass. If time is not much of a factor, seed is not a bad choice.


Weeds are always an issue with any lawn, but sod is virtually a weed free option.  It has been professionally cultivated to be weed-free.  If you don’t like the look of weeds growing throughout your lawn then sod has a leg up in this department.  This isn’t to say that sod will never get weeds, it eventually will without a proper care program in place but when you initially lay the sod down, it will be weed free.  Grass seed is a little more unpredictable with regards to weeds growing.


If you are planning to place new grass in an erosion-prone or sloped area, sod is the best choice, as these are areas where seed might have to struggle to survive. However, there is more variety with seed, as only certain kinds of grass are grown on sod farms. Therefore, if you must tailor your yard or property to a particular environment, seeding with a specific type of grass might be your best option if you want a particular variety of grass that isn’t available from local sod farms.


Some lawn care experts are of the opinion that sod creates the best lawn, while others believe that seed is the optimum way to establish a dense, green lawn, even though it is the slower option.

Not surprisingly, a strong root system at the beginning of your project increases your chances of having a healthier lawn as time goes on, and seed may edge out sod in this regard. This is because sod is transplanted, and therefore must take root again in a new environment, when installed properly, it’s a not an issue.  If the sod is installed poorly or without proper care then you likely won’t be happy with the outcome. Nevertheless, seeding has its frustrations as well. For example, re-seeding may be necessary if germination does not occur in certain spots or the seed is washed away by rain, eaten by birds, or other elements.

A Word About Soil

Finally, it is important to understand that soil is a vital component of a thriving lawn, whether you choose seed or sod. This is because a strong root system is essential to the development of a healthy, robust lawn. For this reason, investing in a high quality soil and devoting some time and effort to soil preparation almost always increases your odds of success.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with each option, and your decision is ultimately a matter of personal preference and budget. Fortunately, however, whether you use grass seed or sod for your new lawn, if you dedicate the appropriate amount of time and effort to the task, a lush, beautiful landscape can be yours.

Ready To Install A New Lawn On Your Moline, IL Property?

Topscape Landscaping is a landscaping contractor serving Moline, IL.  We specialize in final grading of your property and then installing a new lawn using seed or sod.  We can properly grade your property, install drainage, install irrigation if needed, and then we can install your new lawn.

If you’d like to schedule an estimate for your new lawn please call (309) 749-7696 or fill out the contact form to arrange your estimate.

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