Sod, Seed, or Hydroseed: Which is the Best Lawn For You?

As a homeowner, you are probably always looking for ways to make your property look its best. Maintaining a lush, green lawn is one of the ways to do this, but what’s the best way to go about it?

No one wants a patchy, bald lawn. There are three main ways to plant new grass: you can lay down sod, spread grass seed, or spray hydroseed. All of them have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it can be tough to decide which is the best option for you. In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these methods in depth and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Sod?

Sod is basically the same as grass. Sod is a piece of lawn that has been taken from a bigger section of land, such as a field or pasture. It’s frequently available in square or rectangular cuts, and it may be used to grow an instant lawn on any non-grassy soil.

You’ll find that newly bought sod comes with 2 inches of soil attached. Due to this, the grass roots will grow more easily within the ground. To keep it from collapsing, the grass and dirt are kept together by either the grass roots or a netting that surrounds the roll.

Grass Rolls vs. Grass Plugs

Sod can be offered in grass rolls, which are the most common type of sod. These rolls are usually 2-3 feet wide and come in lengths of 10, 15, or even 20 feet. They’re also approximately 4 inches thick, with half being dirt and the other half being grass blades. Anyone with a little bit of gardening skills may be able to install sod, but hiring a professional to do it for you is far easier and cleaner overall.

A grass plug, on the other hand, is a piece of sod placed in a tray, which can be any size. The majority are about 1.5 to 3 inches square, and they’re planted 9 to 12 inches apart in the soil over time. They spread out and fill in empty spaces over time.

Grass plugs are a fantastic way to restore small portions of damaged grass, whether caused by insects, disease, children, dogs, or other factors. If you want to rejuvenate your yard and repair holes and rips in it, pick up some grass plugs at your local garden store.

What is Grass Seed?

Grass seed is simply what the name implies: a collection of seeds that, when dispersed and planted in the earth, will develop into grass. It typically comes in a large package containing many tiny seeds that appear to be little grains. They are approximately 1cm long or less.

What is Hydroseeding?

Hydroseeding is a technique of preparing soil with a slurry of seed and mulch. It’s also known as hydraulic mulching, hydro-mulching, or hydraseeding.

The grass seeds may be mixed with a water-based solution that includes mulch, fertilizer, lime, or other components to aid in germination and growth. The hydroseeding slurry is kept in a big tank – generally truck-mounted or trailer-mounted – before being sprayed over the prepared ground.

As a substitute of dry seed broadcast or sprayed by a spreader, hydroseeding is a popular erosion control technique on construction sites. It’s also an excellent way to sow seeds on a slope or other difficult-to-seed location.

Any grass type or ground cover that may be sewn by seed can be hydroseeded. This includes both sunny or shady lawn grass seeds, athletic field mixtures, pasture mixtures, native grasses, wildflowers, roadside mixes, and erosion control blends.

How Does It Work?

In a hydroseed mixture, the mulch helps the grass seed within it to germinate and grow. Mulch promotes faster germination, protects seeds from extreme temperatures, and prevents erosion by absorbing moisture more quickly and keeping seedlings comfortable.

How hydroseed looks is largely determined by the mulch that’s mixed into it. It’s generally composed of wood or paper, and it’s sometimes dyed to ensure that all of the material is utilized effectively. Because this hydroseed is generally green in hue, so you can easily see where you sprayed it and it will blend in with the grass as it grows.

Unlike with hay or straw that might be used when seeding, no weed seeds are included in hydroseed mulch. The solution in a hydroseed spray includes water, grass seed, fertilizer, mulch, and other additives.

Water serves as a carrier for the seed and is an important component in the seed’s development since it aids in the formation and germination of the plant. Fertilizer is frequently used as a stimulant for root development. Other components that may be used in hydroseed include tacky substances, which aid in the maintenance of a firm grip on sloped land during storms, as well as seal moisture into the soil.

Sod vs. Seed vs. Hydroseed Comparison

Now that we’ve discussed what sod, grass seed, and hydroseeding are and how they’re produced, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you!


The difference in terms of cost between sod, grass seed, and hydroseed is potentially the biggest reason homeowners would get one over the other.

Firstly, sod is by far the most expensive. Sod can range from 2-5 times more expensive than grass seed and hydroseed. This is because you’re getting grass that someone else has cultivated and prepped for you. You’d expect to pay more for a restaurant meal than the same items from the grocery store that you have to prepare at home. Another distinction is that sod is generally handled by a specialist, who must be paid for their time and expertise.

On the other hand, grass seed is often simpler to install yourself. Depending on how much effort you put into the project and the sort of grass seed you buy, you may spend up to a couple hundred dollars to plant new grass seed for a small to medium-sized lawn.

Hydroseed is somewhere between the two. It is not as cheap as DIY grass seed, but also not nearly as expensive as laying sod. The typical cost of hydroseeding in the United States is between $0.21 and $0.26 per square foot. Using these figures, a yard covering 6,000 to 10,000 square feet would cost anything from $1,500 to $2,600.

The price of hydroseed varies based on the size, type, and location of the intended lawn. Grasses and dirt preparation, materials, and installation fees are all common factors that contribute to this cost. Pricing may vary from site to site; as a result, obtaining an estimate from a service provider for your unique project is always beneficial.

For sod, depending on the size of your lawn, a backyard may cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000.

If cost is a concern in your grass-growing choices, then sod is most likely not the choice for you; hydroseed and grass seed are far more affordable options.


While this is true, while the expense of sod may be much greater, it is also far more convenient to put down than grass seed or hydroseed. For one thing, sod can be installed in a single day. This is fantastic if you have a hectic schedule or want your lawn to grow fast.

You don’t have to wait for the ideal weather and climate conditions, and you won’t need to wait six weeks to see if your grass seed or hydroseed has fully taken root and is thick enough or not.

Second, you may sow sod at any time of year. You may lay sod on top of viable soil as long as you have enough of it. Grass seed, on the other hand, requires a specific planting date that varies depending on whether you’re growing warm-season or cool-season grass, and the same is true for hydroseed.

The ideal time to sow grass seed is generally in the fall for cool-season grasses and the late spring for warm-season grasses, so if you miss that window of viability, you’ll have to wait another year before planting your grass seed again. Sod doesn’t have this issue; aside from during the dead of winter, it may be laid at any moment.


Again, as with the timing section above, sod is the easiest of the three with regards to preparation, although much of the same initial prep work has to be done to your lawn before installing any of these grass types.

For example, it is necessary to remove any and all obstacles and large items from your lawn first. Then, for all three growing methods, you’ll need to till the soil; this will help to aerate it and mix the nutrients that are down below with the topsoil, so your grass can use them.

For sod, you then want to eliminate any remains of grass you have on your lawn. For this, you can use a non-selective herbicide and spray it over the entire section you want to remove. You can also use a sod cutter to remove full strips of grass.

For grass seed and hydroseed it is less important to fully remove all of the previous grass from your lawn, but you have other tasks to accomplish. For example, you should check the pH level of your soil before planting grass seed of any kind, to ensure that your soil is healthy enough to grow your seed.

You can also use a soil conditioner at this time. This is another tool that can enhance the fertility of the soil and help make it simpler for new grass seeds to take root.


Hydroseed, of the three options, is the easiest to install. All you do is spray the mixture that you have prepared over your lawn soil until is it thoroughly coated.

Grass seed is the next easiest option when it comes to installation. You can either throw grass seeds out by hand or use a rotary or drop spreader to apply them, just like you would fertilizer. To seed a new lawn, use 50 grams of grass seed per square meter, while to overseed an old one, you should aim for 35 grams per square meter.

After the grass has been uniformly and thoroughly distributed throughout your lawn, you should either use a roller or a rake to firmly implant the seed into the earth.

Sod is the trickiest of these three grass options to install. In theory it is fairly straightforward, as you simply lay the sod down side by side in rows until your whole lawn is covered. However, it is quite complicated to get it perfectly straight and to get it set up in such a way that it takes root correctly and grows uniformly.

For this reason, we usually recommend hiring a professional to install sod for you.


However, once it’s installed, sod is far simpler to maintain than grass seed and hydroseed. For example, you need to keep grass seed and hydroseed safe for at least six weeks while it germinates. You must prevent birds, squirrels, and other animals from digging it up and eating it, as well as keep your family off of it, while the grass grows.

You must also water grass seed every day for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Hydroseed is even more time intensive; you have to fully water it at least three or four times every day for at least fifteen during the first six weeks.

Once you’ve put down the sod, it’s ready to go. There is no period of adjustment when you must be on guard all day every day to ensure that it develops properly and healthfully. You do need to water it as you would any lawn, and it’s not completely safe to walk on for the first two to three weeks, but it is essentially finished when it is installed.

Which is the Best For You?

So, which is the best lawn for you? It depends on what you’re looking for. Sod is the most expensive option and it’s also the most difficult to install by yourself, but it’s also the fastest and easiest way to get a perfect, green lawn. If you have the money to do so, lay down a sod lawn!

Grass seed and hydroseed, on the other hand, are much less expensive, and are both easier to install as well. However, they require much more time both before (prepping your soil) and after (maintaining your grass seed as it grows).

So, if you enjoy the time spent out in your garden and have some time to spare, go and plant grass seed!

Otherwise, if you want to use a newer, more water-intensive but simpler method of growing grass, try out hydroseeding!


In conclusion, it’s time for you to make a decision as to which is the best lawn for you – sod, seed, or hydroseed. The answer to that question depends on your needs and what you’re looking for.

Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it can be difficult to decide which route to take. In this blog post, we have explored each of these options in detail and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs. 

Whichever option you choose, remember that proper preparation and installation are paramount, and that any one of these options can be very easily done by yourself or take considerable effort if you have not prepared adequately.

We hope that this article has been helpful in your decision-making process and that you now feel more confident about which method to use to make your grass lawn look incredible!

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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.