Sod Vs. Grass Seed: Which Is Better For Your Lawn?

Anyone who has maintained a lawn knows that keeping your lawn looking good takes time and effort. When it comes time to replanting new grass to get your lawn back to looking full, green, and healthy, there are a few options you can go with, including laying down sod or spreading grass seed.

There is a lot of debate among homeowners about what is the best way to get a lush, green lawn: sod or grass seed? Both have their pros and cons, so it can be difficult to decide which is the best option for your particular situation.

In this blog post, we will compare and contrast sod and grass seed so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. By the end, you should know exactly which option is the best fit for your needs. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Sod?

Sod is basically just another term for grass. More specifically, sod is a section of turf that has been cut and removed from a larger piece of land, such as a field or pasture. It is usually sold in square or rectangular sections, and it can be laid down on top of any bare soil to create an instant lawn.

Sod comes with about 2 inches of soil attached to it, so that the roots of the grass are not severed and can more easily grow in the new soil. The grass and the soil are held together either by the grass roots themselves or a netting is placed around the roll to ensure it doesn’t fall apart.

Grass Rolls

Sod predominantly comes sold as grass rolls. These rolls are typically 2-3 feet wide and come in lengths of 10, 15, or 20 feet. They are also about 4 inches thick, with half of that being soil and the other half being the blades of grass. Sod can be installed by anyone with a little bit of DIY knowledge, but using a professional sod installer leads to a much cleaner and faster process.

Grass Plugs

A grass plug is a piece of sod planted in a tray that can be any size; however, the majority are about 1.5-to-3 inches long/wide. You plant them about 9 to 12 inches apart in the soil, and they will spread and fill in over time. They provide a solid ground cover of your preferred grass type.

Grass plugs are a fantastic way to mend little patches of damaged grass, whether that damage is caused by insects, disease, children, pets, or anything else.

What is Grass Seed?

Grass seed is essentially what the name suggests. It is a bunch of seeds that, when spread and planted in soil, will grow into grass. It often comes in a large bag, and the seeds are small and look like little grains. They are about 1 cm or less in size.

What is Hydroseeding?

Hydroseeding (also known as hydraulic mulching or hydro-mulching) is a planting technique that mixes a slurry of seed and mulch to prepare the soil. First you need to till your soil that you will be hydroseeding, and then the seeds are sprayed onto the soil using a high pressure hose.

The seeds are usually combined with a water-based spray that includes mulch, fertilizer, lime, or other factors that help the seeds germinate and grow. The hydroseeding slurry is carried in a large tank – typically truck-mounted or trailer-mounted – and sprayed over prepared ground.

Hydroseeding is commonly utilized on construction sites as an erosion control technique instead of the conventional method of broadcast or sowing dry seed. It is also an excellent way to plant seeds on a steep slope or other difficult to seed terrains.

Sod Vs. Seed Comparison

We now know what sod and grass seed are, how they’re made and how you can add the to your lawn. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both, so you can make an informed decision as to which one is best for you!

Benefits of Sod

There are multiple benefits that sod provides. In terms of timing, it is fast to install and it can be installed many different times of the year. It is also easy to maintain and does not need protection for multiple weeks while it grows. Lastly, it can be used to cover difficult or uneven terrain that seeds won’t be as effective on.

Benefits of Grass Seed

There are a variety of reasons to seed your lawn. Seeding your grass is less expensive, offers more choice in terms of grass type, is simpler to install, and has the ability to produce a healthier lawn.


In terms of cost, the difference between sod and grass seed is staggering. Sod can be anywhere from 2-5 times more expensive than grass seed.

This is because you’re essentially paying for grass that someone else has grown and prepared for you. You would expect to pay more for a meal at a restaurant than those same ingredients from the grocery store that you then have to make yourself at home.

The other difference is that sod is usually installed by a professional, who you have to pay for their service as well. Both the cost of the material and the cost of installing it is dramatically higher if you are going for sod. While it is possible to DIY lay your own sod, you should nonetheless take into account the money you might have to pay for a gardener to install it.

Grass seed, on the other hand, is typically easier to install yourself. For a small to medium sized lawn, you might pay up to a couple hundred dollars to plant new grass seed, depending on how much work you put in yourself and the type of grass seed you buy.

With sod, that number could be anywhere between $2,500 and $7,000, depending on the size of your yard. If cost is an important factor in your lawn growing decisions, then grass seed is almost a no-brainer.


That being said, while the cost of sod might be a lot higher, it is also much, much more convenient to install than it is to spread grass seed. For one thing, you can install sod in a single day. This is ideal if you lead a busy life, or if you want to get your lawn installed in a fast manner.

You don’t have to wait for the right climate and weather conditions, and you also won’t have to wait for 6 weeks to see if the grass seed you spread out is too thick or not thick enough.

Secondly, you can install sod at almost any time of year. As long as you have viable soil, you can lay sod over it. Grass seed, on the other hand, can be planted only about one month out of the year. That timing also depends on whether you have warm-season grass or cool-season grass.

The best time to plant grass seed is typically in the fall for cool-season grass and the late spring for warm-season grass, so if you miss that small window of viability, you might have to wait another year before you’ll be able to plant your grass seed again. Sod doesn’t have that problem – aside from the dead of winter, it can basically be installed at any time.

Care and Maintenance

Sod is also much simpler to care for and maintain than grass seed. Firstly, when you spread grass seed, you have to protect it for at least six weeks. You have to keep birds and squirrels and other animals from digging it up or eating it, you and your family have to stay off that section of your lawn for as long as it is growing, and you have to water it every day for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Grass seed also expires, so you might be looking to buy another bag if you want to reseed again next year. Additionally, you typically need to fertilize when spreading grass seed, so that it is able to get the nutrients it needs to germinate and grow.

Once sod is installed, it is ready to go. There is no transitional period that you have to be on your guard all day every day to make sure it grows properly and healthy.

That is not to say sod is immediately ready to be treated as a normal lawn would be. It does take about 2 to 3 weeks for the roots to be fully integrated into the soil and for normal foot traffic to resume. However, it gives the appearance of a fully finished lawn immediately upon installation.


When you seed your lawn, you have the opportunity to choose the type of grass you want. This is not an option when installing sod, as it is pre-selected for you and you are limited to what is available. Grass seeds are typically sold as specific species of grass, such as Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Bluegrass, or St. Augustine Grass, among others.

There is a much larger selection of grass seed, both of cool-season and warm-season grasses, at your local home and garden store than a local sod farm will have in their stock.

On the other hand, you have more options of where to place your sod than you do with grass seed. Sod is able to be placed on sloped areas, or uneven or hard to manage terrain. It also helps to immediately ease any erosion problems that might exist in your lawn.

In Summary

So, what’s the final verdict? Sod or grass seed – which is better for your lawn? The answer is … it depends. Both sod and grass seed have their benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll need to weigh your options and decide what will work best for your lawn.

Your decision will also depend on your budget, how much time you want to spend on maintenance and care, the quality of your soil, and other factors.

Ultimately, the choice is yours! No matter which route you choose, we hope this article has helped give you a better understanding of both sod and grass seed so that you can make an informed decision.

If you have any further questions, you can either consult a local professional about your best course of action, or drop us a message below!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.