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Planting a Lawn vs Sodding a Lawn

Updated on May 28, 2010

I write this article on planting a lawn compared to sodding a lawn from experience. 2 years ago, I watched my former landlord hire a gardening company to come round and create a brand new yard from scratch. I also watched the same company do the yard next door, so I feel pretty knowledgeable in the matter (though I'm certainly no expert). And while I've never lived in a house where sod was lain down, I have seen it done in other places so this is meant to give you an idea of which is best for your situation and needs. If you read no further than this, let me be clear that if you've got dogs or children, you will not really be able to use a newly planted garden properly for at least a year without killing areas of your new grass off.

Pros of Laying Sod

It's gorgeous!

Sod looks fabulous from the get go! You don't have to wait out the growing stages or mind the watering or anything else. You just lay it down, let it set and voila!

It's faster!

You don't have to wait a year to run around on your newly sodded garden, and you don't have to keep the dogs off the grass in the meantime, either.

You can do it yourself

You may want a professional to do it but you can certainly sod your own yard if you want to.

Pros of Planting a Lawn

It's cheaper.

It's usually cheaper to lay grass seed than it is to buy sod, and in my former landlord's case it was certainly cheaper to hire the company to seed the lawn than to lay sod. It wasn't cheap, by any means, but it could be if you do it yourself. In his case, he paid someone to come and kill the old grass, dig up the ground and level it all out, and then plant the seeds.

Personal achievement

If you're a DIY type of person, planting your own grass could be a fulfilling experience.

(That's all I got, sorry.)

Cons of Laying Sod

Could be expensive

Could be. Maybe not. Maybe you'll think the price is worth it, regardless.

(That's all I got.)

Cons of Planting a Lawn

It takes EONS to grow in.

I don't mean to say that grass takes a long time to grow. It doesn't. You'll have a nice fuzz going within a few weeks and it'll look decent from an aerial view within a couple of months (though walking in the grass itself it'll still look like baby grass that hasn't filled in yet). But it does take eons -- a year at least -- before it's sturdy enough to run around on or let the dogs have at it like the would an older, already established garden.

It might NOT grow in.

Your new grass might not take in some areas. Or, it might take and then have the birds pull it up to make nests and other things. Or, you might have a dog run across it and kill an area to the point seeds can't grow there. Believe me, I've seen it.


You will probably use chemicals to kill your old grass off whether you lay sod or new seed, but in the case of new seed you will also have new weeds, and this often means more chemicals to your new grass. I am not a fan of chemicals ever, so this is a con for me.

Water, water, water

You have got to water your grass quite a bit to help it along. If you live in Texas you're going to have to water it more than, say, the Everglades, but you get the point. It could be expensive and time-consuming.

Image: Suat Eman /


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