Pros and Cons of Sod vs Seed

Which is the better choice when planting a new lawn – sod or seed? It can be a tough decision for some and a more obvious one for others. We’ve done both recently. We laid sod around our pool area because we wanted that space to be finished so we could enjoy it this summer. And we sewed grass seed on our side yard where we had to build up our yard to bring the pool in. Since this part of the yard was far from the pool, we were willing to wait for the grass to come up. To figure out what’s best for your situation, you need to look at the pros and cons of sod vs. seed. 

Sod: The Pros

From an instant lawn to quick erosion control there are many reasons to lay sod instead of plant seed. Here are some reasons why. 

  • You get an “instant” lawn. Get the look of a finished lawn as soon as you lay the sod down. The lawn will need to be established before you can use it but you have the look of a nice, full lawn immediately. 
  • Sod establishes itself quickly. In just 2-3 weeks you can expect sod to start taking root in the ground. Once your sod takes root you can start treating it like a regular yard.
  • Easy to control erosion. If you have erosion issues laying down sod on areas like slopes can solve these immediately. 
  • You can do it yourself. You’ll need a few tools but laying sod can be done yourself. 
  • There aren’t any weeds to worry about. Sod is just grown with grass seed, so there are no weeds to worry about. 

Sod: The Cons

So sod sounds pretty good! Are there any disadvantages? Here are a few. 

  • It can be expensive. Depending on your area and the time of year, sod its self can get expensive. Since it is labor-intensive you’re going to be paying more if you’re not doing it yourself. 
  • It’s labor-intensive. Laying down sod is just a one-day project but it’s a full day where you’re going to be working up a sweat. 
  • You’re limited in species. You’ll get whatever sod is available and you won’t have an unlimited choice of species. 
  • Has to be done in one day. Since you’re dealing with real grass that already has roots, you need to get those laid down and watered by the end of the day. 

Seed: The Pros

There are many reasons to choose seed over sod from price to selection. Here’s why you should consider planting seed.

  • Seed is cheap. The cost of grass seed is much lower than the price of sod. The labor for planting seed is much less than for laying sod. 
  • It’s an easy DIY project. Laying down grass seed is an easy project that even the beginner can handle. There’s nothing tricky about it and it’s not labor-intensive
  • You’ll have lots of choices. You can get grass seed in just about every variety you can dream up. You’ll have lots of choices on which grass works better for your area and yard. 

Seed: The Cons

There are some reasons why you should reconsider planting seed. Here are some disadvantages. 

  • Grass takes a while to grow. Grass seed takes a while to establish roots and then grow high enough to resemble a lawn. You’re going to have to wait a good amount of time before you can treat it as a normal lawn.
  • You have to protect the area. The area you’ve laid the grass seed down needs to be protected while the roots are established. 
  • Seed can get washed away. It’s difficult to plant seed on slopes without it washing away every time you water. 
  • The grass has to compete with weeds. Weeds are going to naturally want to grow in that area and it will be competing with your grass for resources. 
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